MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Even though he won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with Hattori Racing Enterprises, Brett Moffitt will not return to the organization next season.
The news comes less than a month after the team’s inspired championship drive in the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, an incredible cap on a year that saw sponsorship struggles nearly prevented the Hattori team from competing in all 23 races.
Team owner Shige Hattori released a statement on Wednesday thanking Moffitt for his efforts with the organization.
“We are extremely proud of what we achieved with Brett and winning the championship together. Our organization’s relationship with him dates back to 2012 and we’re thankful for what he has meant to our team and the effort he put forth,” said Hattori. “This past season was full of adversity and we faced numerous challenges in getting to the racetrack each week. Our entire team is working hard to put the best possible program together for next year and we’re excited to compete in 2019.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating our championship on Saturday night with Brett at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series awards banquet and hope our results together benefit all of us in the future.”
According to Autoweek, Moffitt was notified last week that the team has reached an agreement with a funded driver for the 2019 season.
“We always wanted to stay together,” Moffitt told Autoweek. “The crew guys and I certainly wanted to stay together. I found out on Monday and I was at the shop on Tuesday to get my stuff. I met with Shige and he told me the direction.”
Moffitt won six times in 23 starts this year, including sweeping the final two races of the Truck Series season en route to the title, but noted his disappointment at the championship not giving him more of a chance to remain in the seat of the No. 16 Toyota.
“It was frustrating at times,” Moffitt noted. “It’s a little heartbreaking to perform like we did and have the kind of year we had, and not be able to go back and do it again.
“Everyone worked so hard this year and I just felt like we could have had an even better year if we could have remained together.”
Moffitt, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, now finds himself on the job hunt again. He pieced together a season between Michael Waltrip Racing and Front Row Motorsports to win Cup rookie honors three years ago, but never found a real home after MWR shut down until he landed with Red Horse Racing in 2017.
However, Red Horse team owner Tom DeLoach closed the doors after just five races that season, putting Moffitt back on the move before he teamed up with Hattori and crew chief Scott Zipadelli this season and taking the team to the pinnacle of the Truck Series.
Now, Moffitt returns to free agency with the goal of finding a long-term home.
“The goal is to get back in position (to win a championship somewhere),” he said.