The disappointment was evident as Grant Enfinger walked back to his hauler on Friday.
“I don’t know what else to do,” he told a well-wisher who gave him a hug.
Enfinger coaxed his one-car, part-time ARCA car about as far as he knew how to take it in Friday’s ARCA 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, but that first victory once again slipped away.
He had led the final 30 laps and took the white flag, one lap from victory, before getting freight-trained and ending up in sixth place.
“I was trying to stay in front of the 55,” he said of Steve Arpin, who had given Enfinger a huge push to keep him out front in the closing laps.
But on the backstretch two lines of cars got a head of steam and blew past him on either side.
“If it had been one line coming we might have made it,” Enfinger said. “I looked around and the 55 wasn’t there anymore.”
Arpin ended up wrecking on the last lap and finished 14th. Dakoda Armstrong, the polesitter, stormed to the front with a push from Patrick Sheltra and they finished 1-2. It was Armstrong’s first ARCA win.
Tim George Jr. finished third, followed by Craig Goess and Mikey Kile in fifth.
Enfinger figures he has good equipment with a Roush Yates engine under the hood of his No. 09 Ford. He just needs to catch a break.
“We’ve done this 75 percent of the time we’re at the track,” he said of running in the top 5. “We’ve done everythng but win.”
Enfinger is only running a partial schedule this season, as much as sponsorship financing will carry him. His next scheduled race isn’t until summer at Michigan.
But he’s still hoping that he made enough of a good impression on Friday to get noticed by a top-flight team in need of a driver.
“It’s absolutely a good day for us,” he said. “From where I was sitting I did everything I could.”