For Brett Moffitt, 20-year-old from Grimes, being labeled as a future star of NASCAR racing is not enough.
It’s not enough that he is the youngest driver (15) to win a NASCAR race at high-banked Bristol (Tenn.) Speedway, then to win back-to-back races at Dover, Del., known as "The Track Too Tough to Tame."
Nor is it enough that he has won three fastest qualifier awards in six races this season and is leading the points in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division.
It’s not enough that he has run among the leaders in virtually every race this year and finished third in a race at Iowa Speedway last Friday night.
No, that’s not nearly enough.
"We haven’t won any races yet this year," Moffitt said. "So, I guess you could say we’re having a good year for points, but other than that it hasn’t been a good year.
"I want to win. That’s why I get in the car, that’s why I’m doing this."
Ask Moffitt what he has for goals and what he wants for his future and he’ll tell you in a matter-of-fact way that makes you believe it’ll happen.
"I want to be the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. I want to be the best race car driver there ever was," he says with a look that tells you he’s shocked you’d even ask such a question.
Moffitt’s racing career took off seven summers ago when he began making a name for himself racing in the SportMod division at dirt tracks around Iowa. The then 13-year-old’s name began regularly popping up in race stories as he regularly beat drivers twice (or more) his age.
One of his biggest early career wins came when he won the SportMod feature during the annual "Harris Clash" at the famed Knoxville Raceway.
The youngster dominated the race and took his podium position in victory lane. Meanwhile, rumors of Moffitt’s age reached the scoring tower at Knoxville, prompting Hall of Fame Promoter Ralph "Cappi" Capitani to make a trip to the infield.
"How old are you?" Capitani asked Moffitt.
"Thirteen," came the replay.
"Well, you drove a great race — did a really good job out there — but don’t come back for a while," Capitani told Moffitt.
"You’re not old enough to race here."
Moffitt doesn’t find himself in that "too young" category any longer, but he’s hopeful a break will come soon that will take him from the K&N Pro Series to a higher level of competition in NASCAR.
A step in that direction came, hopefully, Friday afternoon at Iowa Speedway when NASCAR announced its 2013 "NASCAR Next" class, a group of young drivers the sanctioning body sees as future stars of the sport.
Moffitt was one of about 15 drivers so honored.
Moffitt is now in his fourth season racing in the K&N Pro Series. He’s in his second year as a driver for Hattori Racing Enterprises (Mooresville, N.C.) owned by Shigeaki Hattori of Japan.
While Moffitt races full time on the K&N East Series, he’s also a test driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, which fields three Sprint Cup teams (Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 55 car normally driven by Mark Martin and Waltrip).
He’s hoping that association will help get his foot in the door to take the next step. For now, though, Moffitt’s immediate goal is to win races.
"Right now we just need to find some more speed," Moffitt said. "Sure, we’re doing well points-wise, but winning is what it’s all about.
"We just need to find more speed."
To do that, he said, his team has been taking some "big swings" in car setup.
During practice at Iowa Speedway, Moffitt had a mid-pack car. He was frustrated.
Just before qualifying his team went to work on the suspension and made some drastic changes.
Unable to practice after those changes were made, Moffitt admitted that going out to qualify after such drastic set-up changes was "iffy."
"I’ll probably have to take it a little easy on the first lap to be sure I can turn," he said.
But, the youngster went out on his first lap and tied for fourth fastest in qualifying, earning him a fifth starting spot for the night’s race.
"We went in the right direction," he said after that run.
"I’d been doing a lot of hoping and praying."