Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Race 23 of 23 – 201 miles, 134 laps
November 16, 2018
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITION
1st, BRETT MOFFITT
2nd, Grant Enfinger*
3rd, NOAH GRAGSON
4th, Stewart Friesen*
5th, Sheldon Creed*
11th, HARRISON BURTON
13th, TODD GILLILAND
18th, JEB BURTON
19th, BRENNAN POOLE
24th, CHRIS WINDOM
TOYOTA DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, BRETT MOFFITT 4040 points
2nd, NOAH GRAGSON 4034 points
3rd, Justin Haley* 4029 points
4th, Johnny Sauter* 4025 points
10th, TODD GILLILAND, 590 points
**unofficial point standings
· Tundra driver Brett Moffitt won the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship after capturing his sixth win of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night.
· The title is Moffitt’s first NASCAR championship in his first full-time season competing in the Truck Series with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
· Moffitt captured a career-best six wins, 13 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes over 23 races this season to claim the 2018 driver’s championship.
· The Grimes, Iowa native is the sixth Tundra driver to capture a driver’s championship. In addition to Moffitt, Christopher Bell (2017), Erik Jones (2015), Matt Crafton (2013, 2014), Todd Bodine (2006, 2010) and Johnny Benson (2008) have also captured Truck Series titles for Toyota.
· Fellow Championship 4 contender and Tundra driver Noah Gragson finished the race in third, closing out the season runner-up in the point standings.
· Tundra drivers won nine events, earned 14 pole positions and led 1594 laps during the 2018 season. Toyota has earned a total of 179 victories since joining the NCWTS in 2004.
BRETT MOFFITT, No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Finishing Position: 1st
What does it say about this team to go from questioning you can race all 23 races to being the champion of the Truck Series?
“It just speaks to our people and how badass everybody on this race team is. They do a hell of a job no matter what’s going on whether we have troubles or not, they keep working and keep preparing to go to the race track week in or week out whether they know we’re going or not and that just says a lot.”
How did you reflect back on your life growing up racing go karts, to the Cup Series and now being a NASCAR champion?
“It’s been a lot of hell and a lot of glory. My dad is my rock. He never came from racing, so more so than anything he’s just supported me and my personal life. He’s battled through a lot in his career and he’s the one that gives me the never give up spirit. Seeing what he’s gone through in life and knowing that what he’s saying is true and to keep persevering, it means a lot. As I get older, I respect it more and more. When I was young, I probably took advantage of it, but it means a lot to share these moments with him. I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”
Talk about your battle with Noah Gragson for the lead and what made the difference at the end.
“(Crew chief Scott) “Zippy” (Zipadelli) and everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises) gave me a really fast Tundra and I think we made the bottom work a hell of a lot better than anybody, so that gave me the opportunity to get down there, but doing that it’s really harsh on the tires. I knew we were faster than him. It was just about getting him and getting momentum off (Turn) 2 and being able to dive bomb into (Turn) 3. The first attempt I did at it, I just wasn’t aggressive enough and got the tires hot and had to go back up to the top and cool them down a few laps and then make another charge. I just can’t speak enough about everybody on this race team and how hard they work. Our pit crew tonight did an amazing job. Man, those were a long last 20 laps.”
Talk about adapting to these race trucks and getting the truck championship in so few series starts.
“I blame my Cup career really for being so good in the trucks early on. When I was Cup racing, I really wasn’t developed and I had to learn really quick and really the hard way essentially. Coming to these race tracks in a truck, it’s a little bit easier. Everything is a little bit calmer. You’re normally not fighting as many handling characteristics as the Cup cars. In the Cup Series, you’re racing the 40 best guys in the world. I think it helped my learning curve. It wasn’t the ideal way to do it, but these trucks are just a little bit easier for me to adapt to.”
What was that last run like for you?
“That was the longest 20-30 laps of my life. Man, I’m glad we could get to the white flag there without a caution and have clean sailing. We had a great Toyota Tundra all day. I just got to thank AISIN and (team owner Shigeaki) “Shige” (Hattori), TRD, everybody at TRD and how hard they worked for us this last month. They’ve given us everything possible to make these things fast and tonight we were able to win the race and win the championship.”
How do you explain all of this – this underfunded, small team?
“It’s unreal. We all know the story by now where we didn’t know if we were going to race the full year. I didn’t know if I was going to have the opportunity to compete for a championship even after we got our first win. Everyone pulled together hard here. Back at Chicago we didn’t know if we were going to make it to the race track and Marcus (Barela) with Fr8Auctions stepped us and got us there. We’ve had many partners like that and iRacing all year long that came in at clutch moments and got us to the race track when we needed to.”
How did the battle with Noah Gragson happen?
“I just got the tires a little too hot when I was trying to get inside of him the first time. I didn’t probably commit hard enough to the move and then I kind of let my tires cool down and ran the top to try to get to him and he was kind of backing up and we could still run the bottom really well which is unusual for Homestead, but I’ll take it.”
NOAH GRAGSON, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
What made the difference at the end?
“We were just tight there. We needed to make better adjustments on pit road. That’s where it comes down to me. I need to do a better job. On the bright side, racing for a championship, I never would have dreamed of that when I started racing six years ago that I’d be in this position with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Safelite AutoGlass, Toyota, Switch, everybody who helps me. It’s my last truck race with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Man, I wanted to go out on top, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I just can’t thank everybody who has helped me get to this point – Dustin Ash, everybody at Dustin Ash Motorsports back in Las Vegas. Thank you guys and Jeff Jefferson and Jerry Pitts. It’s just a bummer, but hey, no bad days, right? We’re going to move on to the next year in the Xfinity Series. I’m pumped up about that, but this one is going to hurt for a while. Just very thankful.”
What did you need there at the end?
“I was just way too tight there at the end. We fired off pretty good and then it was just a battle between having the back out of the race track and then not being able to turn. Devastated for my guys. They worked really hard. This one would have been for them. I give all of my credit to Rudy Fugly (crew chief), Kyle Busch Motorsports and everybody else who helps me out at Kyle Busch Motorsports. It’s just unfortunate, but on the bright side, I learned a hell of a lot tonight. Raced basically against a Cup rookie of the year for the championship, so that’s pretty cool to say. Just very thankful for the opportunity.”