Already a three-time winner this year, Iowa’s own, Brett Moffitt, passed Johnny Sauter for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race win at Michigan International Speedway, crossing the finish line ahead of Sauter by .025 of a second.
“Yeah, we were running wide open there in the whole last stint there, once me and Johnny (Sauter) got out front,” Moffitt said. “I knew his truck was really fast, so, I was just making sure if I was going to pass him, don’t give him enough time to get by or back by, and I was able to time it right and side draft him to the line, get off of him and pull away by a fender.”
The first stage of the race featured a 20 lap segment which was caution free. It saw race leaders, John Hunter Nemechek, Noah Gragson, Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen battle for the stage win. Ultimately, the No. 52 of Friesen, ended up winning the first stage.
Stage 2 began on Lap 26, but the race was slowed for the first incident of the day when Matt Mills’ No. 54 truck snapped lose in the middle of Turn 1 and 2 and back into the wall.
Another incident came with five to go, as Justin Fontaine had an accident coming out of Turn 2.
With this incident, it turned into a one-lap dash for the finish of Stage 2. For what would set the tone and a foreshadowing for what would come, Playoff bubble driver, Grant Enfinger, just barely fended off teammate Myatt Snider at the conclusion of Stage 2.
The final stage began with 54 to go. Matt Crafton took the lead on the restart and held on until Gragson passed him with 37 to go. Just seven laps later, race leaders started to pit and make their final green flag pit stops at the moment.
Sauter and Friesen battled for the race lead and Sauter took the lead with 24 to go, as Friesen pit from the second position. A late race caution came out two laps later, as Snider spun on the frontstretch. Under the caution, Friesen was penalized for improper fueling and was sent to the back.
The final restart came with 17 to go, as Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates, Noah Gragson and Todd Gilliland, raced out front for the lead. While these two were battling for the lead and potential race win, Sauter made a three-wide pass and took the lead with 13 to go.
As the race wound down, Moffitt began to catch Sauter. Nemechek and Gragson started to come into play and tried to catch the leaders. On the last lap before the final turns, Moffitt laid back to Nemechek and got a run underneath Sauter and passed him at the finish line.
“Normally, the top momentum is better,” Moffitt said. “I’d been running behind them, lap after lap and I wasn’t able to get to his (Sauter’s) quarter, but laying off of him in (Turn) 1 there, gave me a good enough run where I could actually get to his quarter and side draft him, and it was just a race to the line.”
With this win, Moffitt now has four wins in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
Points leader, Johnny Sauter, came up one spot short and was pretty disappointed in himself.
“Yeah, I just screwed up,” Sauter said. “I should have ran the bottom, you know? You know, I kept watching him in the mirror and keep momentum by running the top, and you know, I felt like that was the preferred deal and obviously, I screwed up and so he (Moffitt) got a better run down the back straightaway than I thought he did. Just apologize to all the employees at GMS Racing and it would have been cool to get a Chevrolet win here in Detroit, but our ISM Connect Chevy was off all weekend and we rallied and had a great truck there to the middle and late stages of the race. I blew it.”
John Hunter Nemechek, Noah Gragson and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five finishers in the Corrigan Oil 200. Sauter leads the series with a 56-point lead over Gragson.
There were five cautions for 22 laps, along with nine leaders among 22 lead changes. Moffitt led twice for five laps and gained five playoff points.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for a midweek event on Thursday night. This will be the final stop before the Playoffs begin in Canada and the site where the regular season champion will be crowned.