Brett Moffitt experienced an eventful night at Gateway Motorsports Park which resulted in a 14th-place finish. Moffitt led once for a total of 18 laps and scored the sixth-most points of any driver in the field during his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at Madison, Illinois’ 1.25-mile speedway.
The driver of the No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra paced the second practice session on Friday evening and advanced to the final round of Saturday’s qualifying to earn the 11th starting position. Moffitt began the 160-lap event with a loose condition but quickly entered the top 10 on the opening stint. As warm weather carried into the evening, Moffitt dealt with a rising water temperature and a soft brake pedal during the first 23 laps. A caution on lap 24 allowed Moffitt to come to pit road for a chassis adjustment and remove grille tape to lower his brake and water temperatures. After restarting 12th on lap 28, Moffitt quickly moved to sixth by the conclusion on Stage 1 on lap 35.
Moffitt pitted for two tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment under the stage caution and once again restarted 12th on lap 42 as various pit strategies developed. As his balance shifted towards the tight side while the track cooled down, Moffitt steadily climbed into the top five by lap 58 and collected six points at Stage 2’s conclusion on lap 70. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli gave Moffitt two left side tires and fuel and returned him to the track in fourth position. Restarting on the outside on the ensuing restart immediately vaulted Moffitt to second and into contention on lap 76.
Opportunity came knocking for Moffitt on lap 82 when he took advantage of the inside line on a restart to take the race lead and drive away from the field for the next 18 laps. A caution on lap 99 with 62 laps to go brought the lead lap cars to pit road, including Moffitt’s No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota. A fuel can that did not properly engage held Moffitt in his box for an extended period of time and cost him 17 positions. However, Moffitt put on a show by rapidly slicing through the field to pick off 13 positions in 20 laps and into the top five. However, while racing for fifth on lap 133, contact with the No. 41 spun Moffitt into the Turn 1 wall. Quality repair work and a rock solid disposition set Moffitt up for a remarkable charge through the field.
With the rear of his Toyota Tundra crumpled from the incident, Moffitt restarted 19th on lap 138. In stunning fashion, he ran the fastest laps on the racetrack and had moved to seventh in seven laps. Moffitt worked his way to third for a green-white-checkered restart when contact from the No. 97 truck turned Moffitt around for the second time in turn 1 and relegated him from contention. He quickly regained control and hustled back to the checkered flag in 14th position. Through ten of 23 races, Moffitt continues to hold the third position in the NCWTS championship standings and is ranked second on the Playoff Grid.