Brett Moffitt and Matt Crafton both collected top-five finishes in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Moffitt has not been to victory lane since his championship winning race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November. It looked like he had a good shot to win Friday night after starting on the outside pole.
He ran strong throughout Stage 1, where he finished second. However, troubles came early for the No. 24 GMS Racing team during the pit stop when an air hose got stuck underneath his truck, which cost them a lot of positions.
This saw Moffitt and company restart in the 25th position for Stage 2. It didn’t take them long to move through the field and he was up to 14th with 10 laps to go in Stage 2. Eventually, Moffitt was able to earn one stage point by finishing 10th.
After pitting for four tires and adjustments, Moffitt went to third with 59 to go and then to second with 47 to go. He made his final pit stop of the night with 24 to go. He got close to race leader Kyle Busch, in fact right at his back bumper, but Busch made a block on Moffitt causing him to fall back.
Ultimately, that’s all she wrote for Moffitt and the No. 24 GMS Racing team as they came up 1.21 seconds short of winning.
“I was just trying to back air on him (Kyle Busch),” Moffitt told MRN Radio. “That was going to be my one chance of getting to his bumper. Only taking two tires there, they would fall off after about five or six laps and get tight. So, when I had a run, I knew (Turns) 3 and 4 would be a one groove track, but I was trying to pack some air and get him loose off the bottom. I felt like that was my only shot and went for it, and I felt like that was going to be a make or break move.”
“Unfortunately, it was break,” last year’s defending champion said.
Moffitt finished second and 10th in Stage 1 and 2, respectively.
For Matt Crafton, it was a similar night as he rebounded to a third place finish in Friday night’s Strat 200 after barely missing a wreck off Turn 4 and receiving damage to the left rear.
But he will have to wait at least one more race to snap his long winless streak. His top-five finish, however, didn’t come without effort.
“That was hard fought for sure,” Crafton told MRN Radio. “Earlier, we had a great truck in the first few laps and then, the 2 (Sheldon Creed) spun and I checked up to miss him, and the 4 (Cory Roper) ran in to the back of me.”
The driver of the ThorSport Racing No. 88 truck, continued, saying, “We fought all night. We had great restarts, got shuffled back at one point and drove back inside the top 10 and top eight there at the end. It was amazing on how fast it was with the left-rear quarter panel as bad as it was. So, I would say the No. 88 is back.”
Crafton finished 13th in Stage 1 and ninth in Stage 2. He scored the 111th top five finish of his career at Las Vegas.