Brett Moffitt took another step towards the championship finale with a third-place effort at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. The result is the 11th top-five finish of the season for the driver of the No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra and his third top-three finish in five playoff races. Moffitt heads to the final race of the Round of Six at ISM Raceway with a 22-point cushion over the cut line.
Moffitt’s weekend got off to a fast start on Thursday evening by unofficially breaking the track record and posting the quickest lap of final practice. He followed that up with a fourth-place qualifying effort, and earned his best starting position of the season. At the drop of the green flag, an extremely free handling condition hampered Moffitt’s progress towards the front. A rash of five cautions slowed the pace in Stage 1 but allowed Moffitt’s balance to improve with several heat cycles on the tires. He collected six points while running in the fifth position at the end of Stage 1 at lap 35.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli brought Moffitt to pit road for two right side tires and fuel during the stage break. A scramble of pit strategies shuffled the running order among lead lap trucks and resulted in Moffitt restarting 11th on lap 41. Stage 2 saw a similar, halting sequence with three cautions in a span of 25 laps. However, the numerous restarts during the stage allowed Moffitt to climb back up to sixth and collect five additional points at the end of Stage 2 on lap 70.
Moffitt brought his AISIN Group Toyota Tundra to pit lane for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments under the stage caution and restarted 19th on lap 75. Unlike the first half of the event, the final 73 laps ran caution free. Moffitt made a methodical march through the field and advanced to 11th position by lap 108. Green-flag pit stops commenced on lap 116 while Moffitt brought his Tundra to pit road for fuel only on lap 119. The cycle of pit stops allowed Moffitt to advance five spots to sixth position thanks to his hustle on and off pit road. After reentering the top five on lap 131, Moffitt was in position to capitalize when two of the top-five trucks ran out of fuel on the last lap.
The third-place finish gives Moffitt a 22-point advantage on the cut line with one race left in the second round. He continues to hold the third spot on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Grid and one of two remaining available spots in the Championship Four.
Brett Moffitt Quote:
“Honestly, I thought our AISIN Group Tundra was pretty good. I guess we had too much right front shock on it and on the pit stops the right front wheel wouldn’t drop out and we lost a lot of track position. This place is all about track position, so that cost us a lot in the long run but salvaged a decent finish.”
“It certainly helps to run good. When we’re in the playoffs like this, we need to get back to victory lane. That would be the most important thing to do. I thought we executed Martinsville very well for where we qualified and ended up second. I thought tonight we did a better job of getting some stage points and being right there with the competition. Fortunately, things ended the way they did for the playoff guys that ran out of fuel. That helped. But we still need to get a little bit better. We have a fast truck, we just need to be able to execute 100% and stay up front.”