Brett Moffitt was hoping to be the first driver to win a second consecutive Truck Series title and he was certainly capable of doing so. However, he came up short Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Despite winning at Bristol and Canada, the GMS driver was winless throughout the rest of the Playoffs. But his consistency kept him in play and he had a sizable points lead in the rest of the rounds. Moffitt knew it was going to be tough to outlast the other Championship 4 drivers, but if it was going to be anyone, he had one of the best chances with the powerhouse GMS Racing team.
Moffitt started fourth based on owner points but never could get his Truck in a winning position. The No. 24 machine struggled most of the night, finishing fourth in both stages and only being able to lead three laps. The team tried some adjustments throughout the race, even winning the race off pit road after one of the stages to put Moffitt in the lead for one restart.
However, it would be the only time we saw the Grimes, Iowa native out front. In fact, the GMS driver ran as low as 21st at one point. Then, with a late race pit stop, he had one more chance to run for the title. Moffitt fell short though and wound up finishing fifth in the running order and third in the championship.
“We were missing speed overall,” Moffitt explained to MRN Radio. “We struggled all day from the time we unloaded. The Truck got a lot better, everyone worked hard. Jerry (Baxter, Crew Chief) and all my guys made improvements, but we just missed it. It is what it is, we’ll regroup and get better, and we’ll go for it in 2020. Just can’t thank the Maury Gallagher family enough for this opportunity and everyone that helped us out all year. CMR Roofing and all the countless sponsors we had throughout the season. It’s a bummer, we’ll move on and get better as an organization.”
Moffitt finishes the year with four wins, 13 top-fives and 17 top-10 finishes, while also achieving three poles.
Moffitt’s technical teammate and last week’s winner Stewart Friesen also had an opportunity to secure the title. With qualifying rained out, the Canadian inherited the pole based on owner points. This gave Friesen the advantage to be out front at a track where track position means everything.
Friesen and the No. 52 Halmar team had a good run early in Stage 1, running up front with Ross Chastain and finishing third when the stage ended. Though it seemed like his Truck began to go away and it became challenging for Friesen in the rest of the remaining laps. Stage 2 saw him finishing fifth but he had to deal with an ill-handling Truck.
As the handling became an issue, Friesen was unable to get the Truck to his liking. The team continued to struggle to fight for track position with a long green-flag run. Stage 3 went the distance and saw no cautions, which could have helped Halmar Racing find the adjustment they needed. Ultimately, Friesen finished a disappointing 11th, last out of the Championship 4 drivers.
“An uphill battle,” Friesen described to MRN Radio. “Thanks to Halmar and all these guys that worked so hard. Thanks for all the support, got a lot of friends and family here. I appreciate everyone watching at home and those who came down here to support us. We just didn’t have a chance, we struggled. We could hang a little bit on the short end, but not on the long run. It was just a swing and a miss tonight.”
Even winning two races this season was not satisfactory for Friesen at the moment following the final race.
“It’s good to win a couple of races,” he added. “It would have been a lot cooler to have had a chance at it tonight. Like I said, we could hang on the short run, but it would just back up. We’ll hopefully put something together and come back stronger for next time.”
The Canadian finishes 2019 with two wins, 12 top fives and 16 top-10 finishes along with one pole to his name.