Moffitt wins first Truck race with bold last-lap pass
Brett Moffitt had never led a lap in the Camping World Truck Series before today.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old driver of the No. 11 truck led the only one that counted for his first NASCAR win in the Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
Although Moffitt’s Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters led the most laps (42) — and held off William Byron over nine of the final 10 circuits, Moffitt took the Nos. 17 and 9 trucks three-wide after taking the white flag and passed Peters coming out of Turn 2.
“I’m here to win,” Moffitt said when asked about passing his teammate Peters, who was searching for his first victory of the season. “I said it earlier, I’ll say it again. I’m not going to wreck him for it. I’m going to race him clean because he needs to get into the Chase. But this team needs to win — and they deserve to win.”
Peters, who finished second, took the high road and tried to rally his team following the defeat.
“We did everything we could have done, nothing to hang our head about,” said Peters, who remains firmly in the Chase Zone and third in the truck standings.
Daniel Hemric, Byron, and Cameron Haley rounded out the top-five finishers.
Big hits for some big names
For the first 30 laps, the race was clean and green. Then the caution clock came into play at the 20-minute mark. Hemric, who was mired in traffic, pitted just prior to the caution and inherited the lead. It was short-lived as Matt Crafton passed the No. 19 truck for the lead on the restart.
Enrique Contreras ignited the second caution when he wrecked in Turn 2. He finished 28th. Crafton had the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 50.
The fourth caution was triggered when John Hunter Nemechek cut a right rear tire and hit the wall on Lap 64. Custer led the field back to green on Lap 68. The field didn’t complete two laps before the No. 29 team told Tyler Reddick he had a tire rub. Moments later, Reddick, who had been running eighth, slid up into wall in Turn 3.
Custer retained the lead, but coming into Turn 4 on Lap 75, Christopher Bell attempted to pass the No. 00 on the inside. Bell spun and collected Spencer Gallagher, who was running sixth, in the process.
“Frustrated with myself,” Bell said. “We had a lot of racing to go.”
Custer and Timothy Peters were side-by-side on the Lap 83 restart. Peters passed Custer and as Brett Moffitt moved to the outside of the No. 00 truck. Custer became loose and plowed nose first into the Turn 2 wall.
“We didn’t have the raw speed of the guys up front but it drove pretty well and it was hard to keep those guys off of me,” Custer said. “The 11 (Moffitt) stopped pushing me — which it’s his right to do that. We were kind of losing the 17 there. He went to the outside and I started getting tight. Once he got on my door, I got loose and over-corrected it. I just hate it for my guys that brought a great truck.”
Peters held the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 91. Byron continued to challenge Peters and got to the inside with two to go. But as the drivers battled for the point, Moffitt took the trucks three-wide, moved to the outside and made the pass with a half of a lap before the green.
“Hold it wide open and go where they aren’t,” Moffitt said.
Moffitt’s first truck win came in just his fourth start. Although he had an engine failure at Kentucky, he finished third at Pocono and second at Bristol leading up to his first victory on Saturday.
“This has been huge,” Moffitt said. “At the beginning of the year, I had nothing on my schedule. Coming here, and these guys give us such great trucks week in and week out. We knew it was only a matter of time. Honestly during the race, I didn’t think it was going to be our day. It was just tough out there with the draft. But what an amazing finish. It couldn’t have worked out any better for us.”
Byron, the top-finishing rookie, retained a 36-point lead over Hemric.
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