By David Morgan, Associate Editor
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Halfway though Saturday’s Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, Brett Moffitt and Stewart Friesen were sailing along at the front of the field when a ruling came down from the tower ordering the two drivers to pit road to serve a penalty.
The call? Locking bumpers.
While several drivers had been doing the same thing throughout the first half of the race, the sanctioning body made the call that Moffitt and Friesen had crossed the line and would be handed a pass thru penalty as a result.
“We had a really good Chevy plan that Dane and everyone in the Truck Series and everyone at Chevrolet came up with,” Moffitt said. “The first couple of stages we were executing it, apparently too perfectly because they wanted to pop me and the 52. I would love to see the film of us locking bumpers because I was being very conscience of getting off of him.
“I was staying in like a three, four-inch bubble where I could just get back to him real quick and pop the brake and get off of him. I would love to see the proof.
“Everyone was pushing the limit. I guarantee there was multiple, multiple times out there today where people locked up. It just so happens that when you’re kind of running the race at the front and you have a formulated plan, it isn’t exactly exciting racing to watch. Probably they take advantage of the rules as much as they can.”
Despite the setback for the two de-facto teammates, Moffitt in his GMS Chevrolet and Friesen in his Halmar Friesen Racing Chevrolet were able to slowly, but surely climb back up the leaderboard and by the time the race went into overtime, the two were fighting for top-five finishes.
By the time the chaotic finish was complete, Moffitt came home fourth, with Friesen right behind him in fifth, keeping their Playoff hopes alive with two races remaining in the Round of 6.
Heading to Martinsville in two weeks’ time, the two drivers sit first and second in points, with Moffitt holding the points lead and a 45-point advantage over the cut line and Friesen sitting 22 points up.
“It fires you up, but it’s Talladega,” Moffitt added. “You’ve got to slow back down. Had that played out like Daytona where we got a penalty and we go to the back and end up in a wreck, I would be a little bit more upset about it.
“The fact that we had really fast Chevrolets here today and were able to rebound – all three of us, it’s frustrating, but ultimately, we did our job today and that’s outpoint everyone in the Playoffs. Now we have what I would call a more comfortable buffer going into the next two races and we’ll move forward.”