So far in 2014, the little team that could can do no wrong.
Grant Enfinger, a Late Model graduate from Fairhope, Alabama, has swept the first two races of the 2014 ARCA Racing Series season in the Team BCR No. 90 car. The wins have come in dominant fashion, with Enfinger leading more than half of the 80 laps in the season-opener at Daytona last month and 185 of the 200 circuits in Saturday's race at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama.
Racing on admittedly a smaller budget than other ARCA teams, Enfinger and his Howard and Paula Bixman-owned No. 90 team have been the class of the field in the first two ARCA races of 2014. Enfinger leads the ARCA point standings by 50 markers over 10-time champion Frank Kimmel.
Still, even with the dominant start to the 2014 season, Enfinger admitted to Speed51.com that declaring his No. 90 team a shoe-in for the championship - or even to participate in the entire 2014 ARCA schedule - is premature.
"I'm approaching everything as race-to-race and we'll see what happens. Everyone is digging really deep. Howard and Paula Bixman are doing everything they can to make it happen, but calling it a full-season deal or going for a championship is a long way off right now."
It took Enfinger 45 starts to finally notch his first ARCA race victory, which came at his home track of Mobile last season. He went on to win again at Iowa Speedway later in 2013. Shaking off the winless streak at Mobile in 2013 started the momentum that now has Enfinger undefeated in 2014.
"We got the monkey off our back last year," added Enfinger. "We always had some adversity, but we managed to pull through. I think all that momentum started here last year. That helped us build to be better as a team. We knew we could do it before, we just didn't do it. Now we've actually proven ourselves. People know we're a threat now.
"I think our short track program is really strong. We learned some stuff last year that really works on the short tracks. At Daytona, we had a really strong car there too. We just have a lot of good people on this team. It starts with Howard Bixman and Paula Bixman. They let guys like (crew chief) Kelly Kovski come in and work with us. Mike Garvey was down here yesterday and helped us get it dialed in."
Saturday's dominance at Mobile was not a fluke for Enfinger. It was the second-straight year that he went to victory lane. Leading all but 15 of the race's 200 laps looks astounding on paper, but perhaps is even more impressive considering Enfinger was not impressed with his car's handling on practice and qualifying day for the ARCA Mobile 200.
"Yesterday in practice, I was talking to Mason Young, who is our main mechanic in the shop, and he was like, 'Man, we made a lot of changes.' We weren't that great to begin with. We changed something every time we came into the pits.
"We just didn't have any screw-ups in the race. Nobody forgot to do something. Once you work with people a lot, I think that's what you get. You get people quitting when you're off. We've got something special right now. Everybody is maximizing everything we can do right now. We can definitely be better, but everyone's working so well together."
Enfinger is in a different place as a driver, as well. He had a reputation as a fast, but sometimes treacherous, Late Model racer in his younger days. Now at 29, he's a smooth, championship-caliber driver in the ARCA ranks. Still, Enfinger remembers the feeling of heartbreak in his first 44 ARCA starts and wasn't about to let it happen this time around at Mobile.
Enfinger had to hold off another fast Late Model graduate, Kyle Benjamin, on a series of late restarts, including a green-white-checkered, but he wasn't going to be denied a second-straight hometown victory.
"I hated the restarts today," said Enfinger. "Me as a driver, I've screwed up on those in the past. It's hurt us and it cost me a chance to win some races early on in my career. I've worked on that. Everyone at Team BCR has given us really good equipment. Everyone gets tense and stressed out on the radio. You can hear it. But we were able to do exactly what we needed to do."