Twenty-five-year-old Grimes native Brett Moffitt raced to victory Saturday in the Active Pest Control 200, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Moffitt, who has already been racing for more than 10 years, out-raced Noah Gragson after a late-race caution to win his second career NCWTS victory and first in more than a year. He drove a Toyota Tundra truck owned by Hattori Racing Enterprises. Moffitt re-started in third position, but moved quickly into the lead after the late race caution period to win.
He led the final two laps, the only time he was out front, although he raced among the leaders the entire race after starting the race in the fifth row. The victory came in overtime as a crash on the final lap in the race forced the final two-lap race to the checkers. His margin of victory was just over one second.
The win allowed Moffitt to move into fifth place in the Truck series point standings, 40 behind leader Johnny Sauter, who finished third Saturday.
Moffitt’s opportunity came at the last minute of the off-season after Ryan Truex left the Hattori team to move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Moffitt has been on the fringe of a full-time, permanent NASCAR ride. In 2017, he raced in the Monster Energy Cup Series, but was forced to drop out of that series when his car owner ceased operations early in the season. He spent several years as a development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, but that race team also went out of business.
He was the Rookie of the Year in the Sprint NASCAR Cup Series in 2015, but hasn’t had a full-time ride since then.
“It’s unbelievable to even be in a race car at this point, let alone in victory lane,” Moffitt said after Saturday’s win. “We had a really good truck. Kyle (Busch) spun his tires a couple of restarts before the last one and put us back. But right at the end, I just needed a good restart. And, hopefully, they’d get in a battle behind me and that’s just what happened. It’s pretty surreal.”
Moffitt’s only other win came at Michigan International in 2016, although he made only six starts that season. It was also the first win for team owner Shigeaki Hattori, who had not won in 43 truck starts entering the Saturday race at Atlanta.
Moffitt followed up his win in Atlanta with a third-place finish at Las Vegas on Friday, March 2. He finished behind second-place finisher, Johnny Sauter and winner, Kyle Busch.
About nine years ago, Moffitt became the youngest winner ever at the famed Knoxville Raceway during a Modified race. However, track officials there quickly scolded Moffitt for racing despite the track’s age limit.
He moved from Grimes to live permanently in North Carolina a few years ago to seek a ride in a NASCAR Series. This latest move to Hattori Racing gives Moffitt his best chance of NASCAR success since he made that move.