CWTS: Moffitt clinches title with Miami victory
Brett Moffitt clinched his first NASCAR Truck Series Championship, Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Iowa native had fought Noah Gragson all race long to clinch the title, but the race and the championship looked to have different contenders through Stage 1.
Pole-sitter Grant Enfinger led the entirety of a caution free Stage 1 ahead of Noah Gragson who was second for a majority of the 30-lap stint. Gragson ended up in second position with Championship 4 contender, Brett Moffitt in third. The other two Championship contenders, both from GMS Racing struggled throughout the entire race, with Haley ending Stage 1 in 6th and 2016 Champion, Johnny Sauter in 13th.
Stage 2 saw a battle between Noah Gragson, Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt battle for the lead, with Moffitt out on top. Moffitt cruised to victory in Stage 2, with Gragson in second. Once again, GMS contenders struggled in this stage, with Haley in 8th and Sauter in 10th.
In the final stage, it was Sheldon Creed mixing it up with the two Toyota contenders, but Creed's Silverado quickly fell off. The stage once again saw no yellow flags, and with green flag pit stops approaching, Gragson and Moffitt battled hard for the race lead. Unfortunately for Gragson, the Las Vegas driver noticed an issue with his Tundra. He believed he had a tire going soft, and lost second to Grant Enfinger when missing pit lane. Gragson pitted on lap 101, and with tires gaining such an advantage on the worn out Homestead-Miami Speedway, many of the top contenders pit on lap 102.
Moffitt exited pit road with no mistakes and had nearly a 5 second lead on Gragson who ran third. The race saw only two cautions, all for the stage breaks which was good news to Brett Moffitt who cruised to victory to earn his sixth victory of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and clinch the 2018 CWTS title. Moffitt's victory makes Shigeki Hattori the first team owner from Japan to win a NASCAR National Series championship, along with their six wins. Moffitt and crew chief, Scott Zipadelli celebrated the underdog achievement in victory lane, but their future is uncertain.
Moffitt told the media during the Championship 4 press conference on Thursday "[he] has no job," despite his incredible performance all season long. The entire Hattori Racing crew didn't know their future for a majority of the season, however. Sponsorship woes through the Summer months and at the start of the NASCAR Playoffs put a question on if the team could even afford a trip to Homestead. The team, driver and crew all excelled in all 23 races this season and took the flag.
Gragson finished third in the race, and second in the championship. GMS Racing's struggles were never resolved with Haley's third place championship run ending in an 8th-place race finish, and Sauter's fourth place championship result in a 12th-place race finish.