Brett Moffitt drove the No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway in thrilling fashion and gave HRE team owner Shige Hattori his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). It was the second victory in Moffitt’s 15-race NCWTS career and the first for Toyota in 2018. Moffitt took advantage of a restart in overtime to make a three-wide pass with two laps remaining to secure his first victory of the season.
Moffitt started from the 10th position in Saturday’s Active Pest Control 200 and immediately displayed the strength of his AISIN Group Toyota Tundra from the outset. The Grimes, Iowa native powered his way into the top five by lap 14 and finished Stage 1 in fourth position at lap 40. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE crew serviced Moffitt for four tires and air pressure changes to fine tune a loose condition under the caution period. Moffitt fired off from fourth position to begin Stage 2 on lap 48.
The performance from Stage 1 continued to Stage 2 as Moffitt became a serious contender while running inside the top three positions. Moffitt took advantage of a restart on lap 64 by pushing Kyle Busch to the race lead and grabbed the runner-up position in the process. The balance of Stage 2 ran under the green flag and saw Moffitt finish third at lap 80 despite a loose balance. Zipadelli once again brought Moffitt to pit road for four tires and air pressure adjustments under the ensuing caution.
Moffitt restarted on the ill-favored outside lane on the lap 87 restart and fell to eighth. Despite losing track position, Moffitt methodically picked off positions to re-enter the top five by lap 97. He advanced to third by lap 110 and was in a prime position to take advantage of an opportune caution on lap 126. Zipadelli made the call for four tires under the yellow flag that would set up an overtime restart. Quick pit work by the HRE pit crew returned Moffitt to the speedway in third and allowed him to restart in the inside lane. On the restart, Moffitt perfectly executed the initial launch to make a three-wide move for the lead entering Turn 1 on the bottom. Moffitt completed the winning pass in Turn 1 and set sail to capture his second-career NCWTS victory by 1.326 seconds. The victory vaulted Moffitt up 21 positions in the NCWTS drivers standings to fifth.
Brett Moffitt Quote:
“It was the 13 (truck) being on two tires, I didn’t know if he was going to spin them, or how good of a start he was going to get. I knew we would be able to launch harder. It seemed like our JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) motor built by Mark Cronquist was really good on restarts. I was able to push Kyle (Busch) to the lead on one. I tried to on another and he spun his tires and kind of got us back there in the pack a little bit. But, we had a really good Tundra and we were able to drive back by. On that final restart, I was trying to give him enough space to where if he did spin his tires, I could still get to the bottom. And luckily, once I got into (turn) one I could clear him and clear Johnny (Sauter). They stayed side-by-side and we were able to drive away.”
“I expected to be good. Shige has put all the right people in the right places. We don’t have the biggest shop and don’t have most trucks, but he’s made damn sure we have the right people with Scott and (General Manager Mike) Greci, and everyone down to the pit crew. They did a great job all night too. I knew we would be successful, I didn’t think it’d be this early.”
Shige Hattori Quote:
“It’s so emotional. Everybody, Scott, team manager (Mike Greci), and all members did a really good job. Brett, he did our first K&N (Pro Series East) win and then truck win. I am so happy.”
“We tried so hard to put the right deal together for Brett and to get him in victory lane with AISIN Group is so great. It’s a great accomplishment for our team. We knew everyone here is capable of winning, and it feels nice to finally get to victory lane.”