In continuation of our series “Locked Down,” Speedway Media catches with DGR-Crosley ARCA driver, Thad Moffitt, to find out what he has been up to during the break from racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SM: It has been a while since we’ve had racing on-track. How have you been holding up during this time off?
TM: ” It has been tough, but I’ve been doing a lot of iRacing and working out keeping myself prepared for when we go back racing,” Moffitt said. “Also I’ve enjoyed a lot of quality family time that I usually don’t get being on the road so much.”
SM: Virtual racing has taken off by storm. Have you been one of the few that have been participating in virtual races? If so, what kind of races have you been partaking in?
TM: “I have been running the Saturday Night Thunder races,” he said. “I’ve also run a few of the short track series by NBCSN. I’ve also been running a lot of the fixed races.”
SM: Drivers are always looking to learn more about specific tracks. With this time off, do you feel as though iRaces are preparing you to keep your mental focus when you revisit the tracks you race later this year?
TM: “I believe that it is a great tool to help with throttle control and your hand-eye coordination but I don’t think you can simulate the actual feeling of going 200 mph,” Moffitt said. “But, iRacing is definitely the closest I’ve been to real racing without driving a car.”
SM: You have a unique story/background, as you are Richard Petty’s grandson. How much has he meant to you in your early career? I’m sure he has given you some great advice.
TM: “I have definitely been surrounded by many great people early in my career with my Grandpa and my uncle Kyle being two of my biggest mentors,” he said. “My grandfather is always the first person to give me constructive criticism because he knows I can run better at times, but also tells me when I do something right. He’s given me many pointers from day one. Things as small as to how to hold the steering wheel based on handling conditions of the car.”
SM: Only two races have been completed this year but do you feel as though this year has started off better than last year? If so, how is this year better than last year?
TM: “I feel more confident going into this year,” Moffitt said. “We showed great speed in both of the races thus far with the exception of blowing a tire at Phoenix. I made multiple mistakes at Phoenix but I know I had a top-five car for sure. I believe you will see me and my DGR Crosley team in victory lane multiple times before it’s all said and done this year. They are a great group of guys and we all work very well together and show up to win every time we hit the track.”
SM: Speaking of wins, whenever you get that first what will the celebration be like?
TM: “Ha-ha. I guess we will have to wait and see later this year but I’m sure it will be special.”
SM: Is there anything you have in mind in 2020 that you would like to improve on from last year?
TM: “One of the biggest things I need to improve on is being more aggressive,” he said. “I’ve lacked aggression in certain situations and I realize that and know it’s something I need to work on.”
SM: Once we get back racing, whenever that is, what tracks do you have your eye on that you think you can perform well at or maybe win at?
TM: “With the schedule kind of up in the air, I have no idea where that race will be but I feel like Charlotte will be a really good race for us because I ran well there last year and so did the DGR-Crosley team,” Moffitt said. “I believe in their car we will have a shot to win. I’m also eyeing some of the short tracks that I’m returning to for a second time like Salem and Lucas Oil Raceway.”
SM: During this time off, have you been able to catch up on anything or find a new hobby that you might otherwise not have the time for?
TM: “I’ve more so been watching my old races and old Cup races just waiting to get the call to get back into the car,” Moffitt said. “My whole family lives and breathes NASCAR so it’s always been our main focus at any point in time.”
SM: This time can also be discouraging to everyone. What have you done to keep positive and look at the big picture moving forward?
TM: “Luckily I’ve been surrounded by very positive people and we’ve all kept a great outlook on the situation,” he said. “But, most of all, I’ve been looking to the man upstairs because I believe everything happens for a reason and he has a greater plan for each of us that we just don’t know yet.”
SM: What’s one thing you miss about being at the track?
TM: “The biggest thing I miss is the feeling when you strap in and the green is about to drop and nothing else in the world matters,” Moffitt said. But another thing I miss is getting to meet all the new people every weekend and interact with the fans and letting them get to know me a little better.”
SM: Wrapping it up, what’s one goal or objective that you hope to achieve before the 2020 season is over?
TM: “One of the biggest goals coming into the season was to win and then win again and again, so I stand by that goal and hope to win multiple races in the 2020 season.”
So far in Moffitt’s young racing career, the North Carolina native has made 17 starts during a span of over four years dating back to his first ARCA start at the age of 16 at Nashville. Out of those 17 starts, the 19-year-old has one top-five and six top-10 finishes with a best finish of fifth occurring in the season opener at Daytona.