Brett Moffitt won the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship by scoring his sixth victory of the season on Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). Moffitt left no doubt about his ability and that of his No. 16 AISIN Group team with a dominant performance in the season finale. The 26-year old from Grimes, Iowa led three times for a race high 59 laps en-route to becoming the 17th different champion in the 24-year history of the NCWTS.
Moffitt started from fifth position on Friday night, his second-best starting position of the 2018 campaign. After slipping to seventh on lap two, Moffitt quickly redirected his Toyota Tundra to the front of the field and climbed to third by lap 15. He would finish Stage 1 in third and began to assert himself as the dominant force beginning on a lap 38 restart.
Staying true to character, Moffitt made a bold move to the bottom side of the speedway and was rewarded with the race lead on lap 40. He went on to comfortably lead the balance of Stage 2 until the caution flew on lap 60. Moffitt chose the outside lane on the lap 68 restart, but was forced to wrestle for the lead over the next 20-plus laps. As he stayed committed to the bottom of the track, Moffitt patiently worked over the race leader and reclaimed the top spot on lap 99. A cycle of green-flag pit stops immediately followed and allowed Moffitt to expand his lead over the final 29 circuits for his first win at HMS in his first-career NCWTS start.
Moffitt’s “walk-off” victory at HMS capped off an incredible season for the entire No. 16 AISIN Group team. Their six victories were tied for the most in the series and gave team owner Shige Hattori his first NASCAR championship. The season crown is also the first NASCAR title for Moffitt and crew chief Scott Zipadelli. Moffitt finished the season with four consecutive top-three finishes, including two straight victories. The team will officially celebrate their title at the NCWTS Awards Banquet on December 8 in Charlotte, N.C.
Afterwards, Moffitt had this to say:
“That was the longest 20-30 laps of my life. Man, I was just glad we could get to the white flag without a caution and clean sailing. We had a great Toyota Tundra all day. I just got to thank AISIN and Shige Hattori, TRD, everybody at TRD and how hard they worked for us this last month. They’ve given us everything possible to make these things fast. Tonight, we were able to win the race and win the championship.”
It’s been a winding road for sure for Moffitt and his team but in the end, the number 16 car made it to the ultimate stage.
“It’s unreal. We all know the story by now,” began Moffitt.”We didn’t know if we were going to race this whole year. I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity to compete for a championship, even after we got our first win. Everyone pulled together hard here.”
Of course, with any team there are various parts that make the overall goal successful and Moffitt was quick to give credit to all of those individuals behind the scenes who helped make this a championship winning season.
“I don’t think everyone understands, we have nine or 10 employees working seven days a week working till midnight more times than not. It’s a testament to them. I’m fortunate to drive the truck but it’s an honor to drive for them.”