By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Brett Moffitt gave it a valiant effort to cancel “The Kyle Busch Show” during Friday’s Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but it wasn’t meant to be as he finished second to the now 53-time series winner after overcoming a disastrous pit stop at the end of Stage 1.
The defending Truck Series champion came into the pits behind Stage 1 winner Busch to be serviced for four tires and fuel, but the air hose being caught underneath the right rear of Moffitt’s No. 24 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado. Once he exited out of pit road, he reported over the radio that he had a vibration, requiring to pit again to tighten up his tires. Moffitt started Stage 2 in 25th.
From there, it was recovery time and while he ended up 10th, the outside pole sitter proved that his truck was fast.
As Busch continued leading lap after lap, Moffitt clawed his way back into the top-five, even setting fast laps throughout the final stage.
Then when it came down to final green flag stops, the No. 24 GMS Racing team opted to go for two tires with 24 laps remaining.
Busch also pitted for two and once cycled back to first, the race for the win was on. Moffitt began cutting his lead down and got within a few tenths of a second behind Busch, but a rough entry in Turn 3 halted his momentum, and ultimately denied him a win at Las Vegas.
“It’s just dirty air. There’s only one groove really in (Turns) 3-4 there,” Moffitt on his attempt of catching Busch. “I tried to get close enough to pack some air and I knew it was going to be a make it or break it move. That’s what I decided to do, and I just couldn’t get back to him.”
With the poor stop earlier, Moffitt added that it was a matter of time that his hard charging run on catching Busch was going to wear thin on his truck.
“I just got loose behind him. We were both on two tires there and it was just hard,” said Moffitt. “We had to really use our stuff up driving back to the front. Another pit road mistake costs us a lot tonight. I’m not saying that we could’ve beat him, but it sure would’ve been nice to have a little more time there.”
The series will have a few weeks off before hitting “The Paperclip” known as Martinsville Speedway in Virginia March 23, where Moffitt hopes to score his first title defense victory after finishing third last spring and second in the fall.