NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Talladega Superspeedway – October 12, 2018
Hattori Racing driver Brett Moffitt and Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Noah Gragson were made available to the media at Talladega Superspeedway:
BRETT MOFFITT, No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing
What is it like to have a couple weeks in between the races in Round 1?
The first round of the Truck Playoffs is tough. There’s a lot of tracks where you don’t know what’s going to happen. Everyone saw Las Vegas as a chance to capitalize and move on. Coming here to Talladega,
it’s not the best place to be when you have to points race.”
What is it like racing against some of these other bigger teams and knowing you have a shot at this thing?
“It’s huge for Hattori Racing as a team. The racing organization he’s built in the last couple of years has been amazing to be a one-truck team and compete with some of the bigger times like GMS Racing or Kyle Busch Motorsports. It says a lot to the people and personnel he put in place to run the team, and everyone he put in the competition side. It means a lot. We’ve had a lot of struggles just getting to the track but we’ve made it this far and I am guessing everyone has seen our truck so far this weekend. It’s all black and that’s not a good sign but we are going to have the American Red Cross on the truck for the race and help raise money for everyone suffering right now. All around the world really, with all of the recent natural disasters, when we’re having a bad day and don’t have a sponsor on the truck – that won’t even compare to their bad day. Glad we can make it a positive and race for everyone in need.”
How much information do you want to be sent during the race about the Playoffs?
“That’s tough. As a racer, you know who you’re racing against and where they’re at. We’re in a vulnerable position because we can’t go play offense and get in a wreck. At the same time, the 52 and 41 are going to be doing that, going for stage points and stages. If that works out well for them, we have to be really aggressive on the final stage and try to win the race or finish in front of them. It’s tough and I think after each stage, we need to be updated and see what we need to work with and do.”
Is it intimidating to race here for the first time on top of the situation you are in needing to advance?
“I have been fortunate enough to run Daytona a few times. This is plain and simple an easier version of Daytona in a way. The handling doesn’t come into play quite as much as it does at Daytona. It gives me confidence here. Our first few runs I was just trying to figure everything out through the Tri-Ovals, which are a little touchy here due to that seam above the first grove. You really have to work through there careful and make sure you’re not pushing through
there. It’s plate-racing. My plate-racing history is terrible right now. Hopefully we can change that.”
Did the break prove to beneficial for you being a single-truck organization?
“Yeah, we needed the time. We didn’t have our Speedweeks truck since we wrecked it in Daytona. We didn’t have it together until I guess the hauler left at 5:30 the other night to come here. They needed all that time to do that. It was a little bit of a rush but it gave us a chance to regroup. When we were waiting on the speedway truck from the body shop, we were able to catch up on the trucks moving forward as well.”
Have you talked to Hattori Racing about returning in 2019?
“I have not. I have talked to him but there’s nothing done. I don’t know what the plans are.”
NOAH GRAGSON, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Do you know what your set up will be like next year in the Xfinity Series?
“I don’t know who my crew chief will be. I was reading on Twitter yesterday and I saw (Kevin) Meendering, who I think that is the crew chief for the No. 1 car. I started to put things together and I thought that was the guy who is supposed to be my crew chief, why is he going to be the crew chief of Jimmie Johnson next year? I don’t know who it’s going to be. I am really focused on competing this weekend and finishing this year out strong with my Kyle Busch team.
Making the move to Junior Motorsports – I didn’t have an opportunity to run full-time with Joe Gibbs Racing, which was my number one pick. I wanted to stay within that Toyota Racing camp. They’ve been really good to me. Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) have been a huge part of my career. I really want to thank them but it wasn’t mean to be. We had to look at other options and Junior Motorsports was interested in myself and the puzzle piece fit together. I am really excited for the opportunity and I am going to try to make the most of it.”
What is it like to have a couple weeks in between the races in Round 1?
“It’s weird because when you start the playoffs, you start them before the Cup or Xfinity guys, and you don’t end your first round until after them. I’ve been fortunate enough to race a late model in Pensacola, Florida to prepare for the SnowBall Derby a couple of weeks ago. I at least got a little bit of track time. This round is so unique with the tracks, you have a road course, 1.5-mile track and a superspeedway. You’d like to be three weeks in a row. When you have that much time off, it’s like you have to get into a rhythm again getting back to the track and remember to double check everything because you haven’t done it in a while. Different and makes it interesting but there’s nothing we can really do.”
What is it about the Xfinity Series you like and are looking forward to?
I feel like you have to have two different driving styles for a car or a truck. I feel like my driving style fits how a car drives better. That’s not taking anything away from right now and that’s finishing
off the year strong. I’m working extremely hard with myself and team to be the best I can be to give them the best shot at winning a championship. I don’t know if it’s just my driving style doesn’t fit well with the trucks and momentum style of racing. But the cars seem like they slip and slide out of the race track a lot more, and you’re having to lift out of the throttle a lot more compared to the trucks. A lot of difference and I feel my driving style fits the cars a bit better.”
How tough is it to points race in the Playoffs?
“I feel like myself and Brett are in the same spot. I am 23 to the good and he’s 18 to the good. You want to try and survive. We’re still on the good side but we can’t go hang around in the back because if those guys have really good point stages, and we get collected in the final stage in a wreck, we might not make it. It’s nor offense or defense. It’s a weird position we’re both in. For me personally, I have worked really hard with my crew chief Rudy (Fugle) preparing for the different situations points-wise, and how the race can lay out. We’re just trying to eliminate a factor of question when we’re out on the race track. I want to be in the know as much as possible. We’ve been working really hard on situations and what it can come down to. I feel like we’re in a pretty good place right now.”
How did the race at Pensacola go?
“Yeah, I have been there and ran the Derby three times now. That was my second-ever Blizzard race. That was my fifth time down there. I really didn’t understand that race track. I didn’t know what I needed for the end of a race and it finally clicked this past weekend. We led the first 30 laps and we didn’t run well after that. But I think that’s key to how we’ll be able to fix the problem when we go back there for the Derby and I know what I need now. I am really excited to get back there and we’ll be pretty good.”
What are the resources at Kyle Busch Motorsports that can help a young driver advance to the Truck Series?
“I feel like that’s how my story was. Myself and a guy like Todd Gilliland or Harrison Burton – where they grew up racing and that’s all they know. They grew up in the Cup garage and their dads raced Cup. They can sit down with them and say anything with them. They’ve been around it. For me, I started racing when I was 13. No one in my family raced. It was a little bit of a rude awakening going to the K&N Pro Series where it’s a lot more laid back. Then you jump into the Truck Series and over at Kyle Busch Motorsports, it’s very structured. It’s very much like a job and very serious. It caught me off guard a little bit at first last year. Using all of the resources with Toyota and Toyota Racing Development – they’re strongly supportive of Kyle Busch Motorsports. That’s definitely a big benefit as a driver. Maybe being the most beneficial being able to lean on the three teams. The team that you’re driving for, the other two and then Kyle Busch, who owns it. He’s a guy you can ask questions to but it becomes a little tricky with that because Kyle isn’t going to come to you and say here’s what you need to fix. You need to go to him with a question. That’s where it’s tricky because as a young driver, you don’t know what to ask. Every single week, it’s more natural over there. Things start to flow a lot better. It prepared me and taught me to grow up on and off the race track. Things I need to look for, so I’d say it’s a really good development program for a young driver like myself to go run with another team. I don’t know if that will prepare you like Kyle Busch Motorsports does. A great organization and I am very fortunate to run with them. It’s been a dream come true and an honor.”