BRASELTON, Ga. – Could this finally be the year for Brett Moffitt? Recent misfortune for Dylan Kwasniewski has certainly left the door wide open.
A title picture that looked like a foregone conclusion two races ago is now most certainly an uncertainty as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Road Atlanta to close out the 2013 campaign and crown a champion on Friday.
Moffitt has had a potential title in his sights more than once, but has been unable to seal the deal. After finishing third as a rookie in 2009 and as the championship runner-up a year later, Moffitt had his first real opportunity for a trophy in 2011. That bid ended with a cut tire while leading with four laps to go in the finale at Dover Int’l Speedway. Then, the ultimate heartbreak came in 2012, when he wrecked half a mile short of the race and championship trophies.
Moffitt, from Grimes, Iowa, won multiple races in each of those previous four seasons and came up short of the title, which is what makes this run even more surprising. He’s in the midst of a career-long 19-race winless drought, yet finds himself just five points behind Kwasniewski heading to Road Atlanta.
Kwasniewski, meanwhile, will have to stem the tide at the northeastern Georgia road course. The Las Vegas, Nev., native led Moffitt by 40 points following the 11th race of the campaign at Greenville Pickens Speedway on Sept. 2. In the two outings since, he wrecked out at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finished 24th, and was 29th last time out at Dover after experiencing electrical problems.
So it all comes down to Road Atlanta, which will present a new challenge for both, as the this will be the inaugural event for the K&N Pro Series East at the famed course. At first glance, Kwasniewski may appear to have an advantage on Moffitt that goes beyond the five point lead. He was dominant in the first road course race this year when he led 39 of 57 laps en route to victory at Virginia International Raceway, and has eight career road course starts to Moffitt’s four.
Moffitt finished third at VIR, however, and has better career average finish than Kwasniewski on road courses at 4.75 compared to 12.0. But Kwasniewski’s mark can be deceiving. Since posting finishes of 25th or worse in his first three career road races, he’s finished top five in the five since.
Regardless of what the numbers are going in, one thing is for sure, Moffitt needs to somehow gain six points on Kwasniewski at Road Atlanta, and it seeing it play out should be great theatre.