By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
NEWTON, Iowa — On Saturday morning at Iowa Speedway, Brett Moffitt told the assembled media that a win at the track located just over 40 miles from his hometown of Grimes, Iowa would be huge. Moffitt indicated his No. 16 Hattori Racing Toyota had speed this season, but they just haven’t put the whole race together to compete with the likes of Johnny Sauter, who has four victories in 2018.
Before the sun set over Newton less than eight hours later, Moffitt returned to that same seat in the media center to discuss his victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series M&M’s 200. The 25-year-old driver took the lead for the first time at Lap 125 and maintained it over the final 76 laps, holding off the hard charging Noah Gragson on the final lap to earn his second victory of 2018 and the third of his career in 22 Truck Series starts.
It wasn’t easy for Moffitt after qualifying back in the 16th position, but he advanced inside the top-10 during the first stage before being dropped back when a lug nut caught between the wheel and the hub.
“It was an uphill battle all night. We didn’t qualify where I thought we should have and (crew chief) Scott (Zipadelli) and I were both dumbfounded and frustrated by that qualifying effort.
“With the pursuit by Noah Gragson, the last 40 laps were really tough for me. It was all about just hitting your marks and hoping that he wouldn’t be able to pass us.”
“It’s nerve wracking because this is a feeder series and there are a lot of younger drivers who have never seen these tracks or don’t have a lot of experience in the Truck Series, added Zippadelli. “You kind of never know where you’re going to go and it’s hurt us a few times this year. Qualifying is key.”
Moffitt visited victory lane back in 2011 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, but winning in the Truck Series at the national level and on Father’s Day weekend was huge to the Iowa native.
“I don’t think many people know the sacrifices we made this year to get to the race track as a team. It’s been really stressful to have that weight lifted and to win this race and to prove what we can do is super special.
“My dad has always been there for me and he’s been my rock in everything I’ve done. He keeps me going and keeps me motivated. If it wasn’t for him I would have quit ten times by now. To have all these things add up and to go to victory lane at Iowa Speedway under the circumstances, it will go down in my mind as one of the best victories of my life.”
But Moffitt stopped short of dubbing it the biggest win of his career, noting that his prior two truck victories came under high-pressure, unique situations. In 2016 at Michigan, he was substituting and didn’t have a job and the win was what kept him in the sport. Earlier this season at Atlanta, the team only had a limited schedule going into the year and the victory extended their deal.
“We’ve had really fast Tundras all year long and I feel like we don’t have the results to prove it for the most part and tonight we capitalized on it.
“I’m going to have fun with this one. It’s been a rough month-and-a-half I would say with just the results. The race trucks we’ve had have been great and I feel like we’ve given away a couple. To finally come out here tonight, at my home track, with my family here, with my friends here, a new sponsor on board, this is the perfect storm. So we’re going to have fun with it.”