HOMESTEAD, Fla – Brett Moffitt entered Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway as the likely favorite to win the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.
Moffitt, had won the title just last year and even won the race on the 1.5-mile track too. Also, he had six top 10 finishes in his last seven starts on the season too. With four trips to victory lane, most among season regulars, why not pick Moffitt?
Unfortunately, he just didn’t have enough in his No. 24 Chevrolet. He was fourth at the end of both stages, which was third best each time among the four Championship 4 drivers. His fifth place finish in the end landed him third best too.
Moffitt, just wasn’t quick enough. Pit stops were flawless, it’s just that his former truck with Austin Hill now driving it was that much better. Hill, led a race high 56 of 134 laps on Friday.
Matt Crafton had great speed in his No. 88 Ford and finished second. Christian Eckes was helped by a great pit call just prior to the end of the second stage and had a quick enough Truck to hold the leaders off on old tires to start the final stage. He’d finish third.
Ross Chastain was a little bit better than Moffitt in the end.
But, this is a season that Moffitt can hang his hat on proudly.
See, last year Moffitt didn’t know what 2019 held. While he won the championship for Hattori Racing Enterprises, he didn’t have a contract in place past 2018. While it was a true underdog role with HRE, the organization decided to go with Austin Hill, not Moffitt for 2019.
Luckily for Moffitt, GMS Racing cut ties with Johnny Sauter and brought the defending series champion over to them. This isn’t new territory for GMS either. This is their fourth straight Championship 4 appearance but first without Sauter.
This team budget wise is bigger than HRE and will bring Moffitt back for 2020. So, Moffitt can enjoy this weekend and join Crafton as back-to-back champions.
It’s truly a great story too. Moffitt, was on track to become the next big star in the series as he was fast tracked to a Cup ride in relief efforts for Brian Vickers with Michael Waltrip Racing. Unfortunately for Moffitt, it was just a reserve role and when Vickers came back, he was out of a ride. Then, MWR ran out of funding later and shut their doors.
It left Moffitt landing with Red Horse Racing a couple of years later but unfortunately, they ran out of money and had to shut their doors during the season. Moffitt, despite performing at a high level in everything that he’s raced in, was out of a ride yet again.
HRE was an up and coming team and signed Moffitt to replace Ryan Truex for 2018. Moffitt, won in just the second start for them and reached victory lane six times in 2018 alone.
The last two years, Moffitt has 10 wins, 26 top five finishes and 29 top 10’s in his last 46 starts.
The Iowa native admitted last month that he’s had offers to move up to NXS or Cup for 2020, but they weren’t competitive rides. He just wants to win race and compete for championships. While the money was good on the Cup level, he was miserable just being a field fuller. He’s happier when he can show his talent and for the second straight year, his talent will be spotlighted on a grand stage in Homestead.