Editor’s note: The quotes below were obtained via news release from NASCAR as the author was not at Homestead-Miami Speedway
By Jeremiah Davis
Among racing fans in Iowa, NASCAR has waned in terms of popularity. There’s not the same fervent following of the races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday somewhere across the United States that there might’ve been in the past.
But for a few hours Friday night, a good section of that fanbase flipped on FS1 to pay attention to one of their own.
Check your Facebook or Twitter today and you probably will see one of your racing friends congratulating Brett Moffitt. The Grimes native and former IMCA Sport Mod and Modified racer captured the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, taking the race victory and the first title by a driver from Iowa in one of NASCAR’s top three series.
From not knowing if his team would even make it to the racetrack to tasting that victory Bud Light on Friday, Moffitt celebrated in true Iowa fashion.
“(We’re going to party) until we get kicked out of the driver/owner lot tonight,” Moffitt said in his winner’s press conference.
Damn Proud https://t.co/YPODMrmyTQ
— SoundOFF (@SoundOFF13) November 17, 2018
— landon cassill (@landoncassill) November 17, 2018
— Iowa Speedway (@iowaspeedway) November 17, 2018
Moffitt finished the championship season with six wins – including at Iowa Speedway this summer and the final two of the year at ISM Raceway in Phoenix and Friday night at Homestead.
Despite some controversy over the engine package used in the truck series this year – the majority of the field was running the spec Ilmor engine, while Moffitt and a few others were racing the built TRD NT1 engine – HRE plugged away and kept Moffitt competitive. It culminated with a dominant-but-nerve-wracking race win.
“It was the longest 20-30 laps of my life,” Moffitt told FS1 in Victory Lane. “It’s unreal. We all know the story by now where we didn’t know if we were going to race the full year. I didn’t know if I was going to have the opportunity to compete for a championship even after we got our first win. Everyone pulled together here.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in. Getting this opportunity…is truly amazing. Everything this team has battled through just shows how good of people we have here.”
The 26-year-old took over driving the No. 16 truck this season for Hattori Racing and owner Shigeaki Hattori. Moffitt was actually the first driver Hattori ever had in a truck, back in 2013 for the team’s debut. This season was plagued by financial stress for the team, but last-minute sponsorships from Fr8 Auctions and iRacing helped keep the team coming to the track to keep Moffitt championship eligible.
It continued the theme of Moffitt’s career, to be frank, as he’s been bounced from rides before in leu of another with funding. He was the Cup Series Rookie of the Year, and had several strong runs with Michael Waltrip Racing – including an eighth-place finish at Atlanta – before the team replaced him with David Ragan.
That has to make Friday night all the sweeter for a guy who, with the help of his dad, family and friends, took one more shot at making his NASCAR career work.
“I mean, I’ve wanted to quit a hundred times,” Moffitt said Friday. “I’ve been at some really low points in my career, and I let this consume my whole life, and I’ve been in some miserable spots in life. But my family and my father have always stuck behind me and taught me a lesson that it doesn’t really matter what happens in life. If you keep working and you believe in yourself, it’s going to happen, and they believe in me, and they give me the opportunity to keep bettering myself.
“You know, it’s just one of these days things are going to go my way and things are going to work out, and hopefully I’m a Cup champion one day.”
Moffitt raced karts here in Iowa. He raced Sport Mods and Modifieds here in Iowa.
His family, who still lives here, and so many of his friends and fans here took tremendous joy in his title, and shared that across social media. It’s a first for the state, but many here understand well the wealth of talent that has come and could come from the state with more racetracks per capita than anywhere in the country.
Moffitt took time to thank those people, too. Whether it’s friends who got him started and then got him fast in karting, friends who put him in dirt cars in his off time or his family who has supported him emotionally and helped financially, Moffitt knows he didn’t accomplish this on his own.
While they celebrated him, he celebrated them.
“There’s so many people (here) that have meant so much to me in my career and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Moffitt said. “Every person has come along in my life at the right time and made things happen. I’ve been through a lot of struggles but this is all worth it.”
— NASCAR Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) November 17, 2018