HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Brett Moffitt took the little team that could to the pinnacle of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday night with a dominant performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises, Moffitt wrote a Cinderella story during the Ford EcoBoost 200, leading a race-high 59 of 134 laps en route to the biggest victory of his career. He became the first Championship 4 driver in the Truck Series’ elimination era to win the title by winning the finale.
While the Iowa native’s victory might have seemed simple by the box score, it was anything but on the track. Moffitt had to survive a fierce duel for supremacy at the start of the final stage with title rival Noah Gragson, but once he took the top spot away on lap 99, Moffitt never looked back again.
After a final sequence of green-flag pit stops, Moffitt took the race lead for good with 29 laps to go, passing Jordan Anderson for the position and driving away to his first championship.
“That was the longest 29 laps of my life. I’m so glad we could get to the white flag there without a caution and have clean sailing,” said Moffitt of the final run. “We had a great Toyota Tundra all day. I just have to thank AISIN, Shige Hattori and everybody at TRD and how hard they worked for us this last month. They gave us everything possible to make these things fast.
“Tonight, we were able to win the race and the championship and that’s what it’s all about.”
Amid a season where sponsorship woes nearly saw the No. 16 team miss several races before “clutch partners” stepped up to the plate, Friday’s end result was a relief for Moffitt.
“This journey we’ve been on … it’s been a roller coaster, that’s for sure,” Moffitt noted. “I’m so thankful we were able to close this out tonight. What a ride, man. What a ride.”
Moffitt finished third in the opening stage before powering to victory in the second stage and setting himself up for a grand finish. However, when the green flag waved to kick off the second half of the 134-lap distance, it was Gragson who charged to the race lead off the bottom groove.
Moffitt fell into second at that point and readied himself for an all-out assault. That tug-of-war came 20 laps into the run, when he ran Gragson down from a second back and began a side-by-side duel for the lead, with Moffitt hounding the bottom and Gragson running up the track to keep his momentum up.
The 90th lap nearly saw Moffitt get clear of Gragson for the lead, but he couldn’t make the pass stick off turn four and had to reload for one more shot at glory.
Nine laps later, Moffitt made what became the winning move and rode home to history.
Moffitt becomes the first driver from the state of Iowa to win a NASCAR national series championship, while Hattori becomes the first owner of Japanese heritage to secure a title in the Truck Series.
Polesitter Grant Enfinger, who led from start to finish in the opening stage of Friday night’s race, finished two seconds adrift of Moffitt in second. Noah Gragson ended as the runner-up in the championship and crossed the line third in his final start with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Stewart Friesen and Sheldon Creed completed the top five in the race.
The GMS Racing duo of Justin Haley and Johnny Sauter were never a factor in the championship fight, each battling various handling maladies throughout the night. They came home eighth and 12th, respectively, at the end of the night.
For complete race results, advance to the next page.