Brett Moffitt charges to emotional NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Atlanta

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 24: Brett Moffitt, driver of the #16 AISIN Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. – Brett Moffit streaked into the lead on an overtime restart in Saturday’s Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and pulled away to win the second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of his career.

Diving to the inside and taking then-leader Myatt Snider and Johnny Sauter three-wide into the first corner on Lap 133 of 134, Moffitt beat Noah Gragson to the finish line by 1.326 seconds. Gragson charged from ninth to second on the penultimate lap and beat third-place finisher Johnny Sauter to the line by .014 seconds.

In a deal that came together late in the offseason, Moffitt signed with Hattori Racing after Ryan Truex opted to move up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Moffitt was the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2015 but hasn’t had a full-time deal since then.

“It’s unbelievable to even be in a race car at this point, let alone in Victory Lane,” Moffitt said. “We had a really good truck. Kyle (Busch) spun his tires a couple of restarts ago and put us back.

“But right at the end, the 13 (Snider) was a sitting duck, and I just needed a good restart. And hopefully they got into a battle behind us, which they did, and it’s pretty surreal.”

The victory was Moffitt’s first since he claimed the trophy at Michigan in 2016 in the fourth of six starts that year. And it was the first win for team owner Shigeaki Hattori, who was 0-for-43 in the Truck Series entering Saturday’s race.

Busch was on the verge of his 50th NCWTS victory when Josh Reaume crashed on Lap 125 of a scheduled 130 to cause the fifth caution of the race. With tires at a premium, the lead-lap trucks came to pit road under the yellow, but Busch left pit road with the lugs off his left rear tire, which fell off as he pulled onto the apron off Turn 1.

Busch finished 21st, a lap down, after backing into his stall to correct the miscue.

Sauter, who won the season opener last week at Daytona, was disappointed with his third-place finish but didn’t think he could have done anything differently on the restart, which found him on the outside of the three-wide charge into the corner.

“I just feel like I’m going to beat myself up on this,” Sauter said. “But sitting here watching the replay, I don’t feel like I could have done anything different. When you have a shot to win, you’ve got to capitalize on it, and I didn’t do that.”

Ben Rhodes came home fourth and Matt Crafton fifth. Stewart Friesen ran sixth, and Snider, who took two tires on the pit stop before overtime, ran seventh. Sauter retained the series lead by 31 points over Crafton.

In addition to claiming the trophy, Moffitt is all but assured of advancing to the Playoffs.

“That’s a hell of a way to start the year right there,” he said.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Results Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Hampton, Georgia

Saturday, February 24, 2018

1. (10) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 134.

2. (3) Noah Gragson, Toyota, 134.

3. (9) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 134.

4. (14) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 134.

5. (2) Matt Crafton, Ford, 134.

6. (7) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 134.

7. (19) Myatt Snider #, Ford, 134.

8. (12) Jesse Little, Ford, 134.

9. (16) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 134.

10. (13) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 134.

11. (17) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 134.

12. (11) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 134.

13. (4) Spencer Davis, Toyota, 134.

14. (6) Dalton Sargeant #, Chevrolet, 134.

15. (20) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 134.

16. (21) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 134.

17. (15) Bo LeMastus #, Toyota, 134.

18. (18) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 133.

19. (22) Justin Fontaine #, Chevrolet, 133.

20. (8) Cody Coughlin, Chevrolet, 133.

21. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 133.

22. (5) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 132.

23. (29) Wendell Chavous, Chevrolet, 131.

24. (25) Jordan Anderson, Toyota, 129.

25. (27) Robby Lyons, Chevrolet, 128.

26. (30) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 120.

27. (24) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.

28. (31) Clay Greenfield, Chevrolet, Too Slow, 116.

29. (28) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Vibration, 108.

30. (23) Akinori Ogata, Chevrolet, Accident, 62.

31. (26) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 7.

32. (32) Scott Stenzel, Chevrolet, Electrical, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  123.816 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 40 Mins, 00 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.326 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 24 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Busch(i) 0; N. Gragson 1-43; M. Crafton 44-50; J. Sauter 51-52; K. Busch(i) 53-83; J. Sauter 84-92; K. Busch(i) 93-128; M. Snider # 129-131; J. Sauter 132; B. Moffitt 133-134.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 2 times for 67 laps; N. Gragson 1 time for 43 laps; J. Sauter 3 times for 12 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 7 laps; M. Snider # 1 time for 3 laps; B. Moffitt 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,88,4,16,97,41,21,98,52,51

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,21,16,88,18,98,51,97,75,25

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.