It’s been six years since Augie Grill last turned laps at The Worlds Fastest Half-Mile, and while he wishes the GARC No. 112 had more speed, the results this weekend in the Winchester 400 are likely secondary.
His father, Frankie, passed on Sept. 27 but has been honored in the weeks since as a treasured member of the racing community.
For his son, racing this weekend far away from his Dolomite, Alabama home was just a way to just get away and change his scenery after an emotionally heavy past couple of weeks. The word around the team and garage is that Frankie really liked racing at Winchester too.
“I don’t know,” Grill said. “He liked racing anywhere we were good at. Sometimes, that was a bunch of these place, fortunately.
“He definitely enjoyed coming up here and we have some folks here from around here who have always helped us out and it’s been nice to hang out.”
Grill will start the race from 22nd and said he just needed to find more raw speed overnight on Saturday night.
“It feels good, balance wise, we just needed more speed,” Grill said after qualifying. “On the other hand, we might not need it tomorrow, if we can stay out of trouble.”
To Grill’s points, the Winchester 400 is not always won on speed. The race is the second longest at 200 miles, behind only the All-American 400 at Nashville, and is often won on attrition or tire strategy.
“Definitely rough to look at the qualifying times and be bottom half,” Grill said. “But, put two tires at a time on it a couple of times tomorrow and see how it shakes out.”
Grill even believes the car has some long run speed once the tires fall off, but there have been so few practice runs resembling a long run, that he just isn’t sure what that could look like across the field.
“I think our car is good as anyone’s once you settle in, but you just don’t see those long runs in practice anymore to compare,” Grill said. “I don’t know. The plan is to keep our nose clean tomorrow and we might have a fair shot at it.”