Brett Moffitt goes up the track in Turn 1 and Keselowski gets caught up, damaging the No. 2 Ford.
Michael Waltrip Racing turns to 22-year-old in relief role CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brett Moffitt , who made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in 2014, will drive the No. 55 Aaron's Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1 as Brian Vickers recuperates from offseason heart surgery. Owner Michael Waltrip made the announcement Tuesday during his team's stop on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "He was the driver that everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing wanted to be in that car at Atlanta," Waltrip said. "They believe in him." Moffitt said he learned of his appointment to the No. 55 Toyota two weeks ago, making it exceedingly difficult to keep his fill-in role a secret. "It was a stressful wait to find out that I was going to be in the car, that's for sure," Moffitt said. "I obviously wanted this opportunity really bad and I'm thankful for it." In seven Sprint Cup starts last season, the best start and finish for the 22-year-old native of Grimes, Iowa and former NASCAR Next driver and K&N Pro Series East race winner came in his debut on June 1 at Dover International Speedway when he began the race in 18th and finished 22nd. Though he said he has been enjoying his time as a developmental driver in the MWR system, Moffitt said he was continuing to explore options -- in any of NASCAR's three national series -- that would allow him to race on a more consistent basis. "I'm very happy with MWR. They're very supportive of me -- have been since 2011," Moffitt said. "They gave me the first opportunity to test a Cup car, they gave me the first opportunity to race one, so they've been huge supporters of my career and I wouldn't be where I am without them, that's for sure. But at the same time, I need to be in a race car more often and they've been willing to work with me on that, and they said hey, if you find an opportunity, we're not going to hold you back from it." Waltrip agreed: "We'll let Brett do anything he wants to do in order to get laps so that he can continue to mature as a race car driver. We believe in Brett , he's our guy, but if we can loan him out and he can race somewhere else that would make me happy." Waltrip will drive the No. 55 Toyota in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) as he attempts to win his third Great American Race. Despite missing the first two races of the season, Vickers received NASCAR's blessing to run for the Sprint Cup Series championship provided he meets all other requirements for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. He will return to his ride at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the year on March 8. Last month, doctors discovered Vickers' body rejected a patch that was placed over a hole in his heart. They alleviated the problem and gave him clearance to race just three months after the corrective heart surgery. "They took my heart out and replaced it with a lion heart," Vickers joked on Tuesday. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chris Buescher will pilot the No. 34 for the second straight week Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Entry list for Martinsville Three interim drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will reprise their roles for the second straight race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway based on the entry list for the STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Brett Moffitt will drive the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota in place of Brian Vickers , who will miss the next three months of competition after doctors discovered a recurrence of blood clots last week. Vickers has resumed taking blood-thinning medication, which precludes him from racing. Moffitt , a developmental driver for MWR, is scheduled to make his 12th Sprint Cup start and his first in the premier series at Martinsville in Sunday's STP 500 . He finished 22nd Sunday at Auto Club Speedway . Chris Buescher , a NASCAR XFINITY Series regular, will return to the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford for the second straight week. Buescher finished 20th in his Sprint Cup debut Sunday at Auto Club as a last-minute fill-in when Moffitt was named as Vickers' replacement. Front Row later confirmed Buescher's return to the No. 34 on Twitter. . @Chris_Buescher will return to the No. 34 for @MartinsvilleSwy weekend. pic.twitter.com/0viNgEUyTx — FrontRow Motorsports (@FrontRowNASCAR) March 23, 2015 Buescher ranks second in XFINITY Series standings, just five points behind series leader Ty Dillon . David Ragan will continue as interim driver of Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 18 Toyota in place of the injured Kyle Busch , who suffered fractures of both legs in last month's XFINITY opener at Daytona International Speedway . With Busch out indefinitely, Ragan is scheduled to pilot the JGR No. 18 for the next several weeks before returning to his regular ride in the Front Row No. 34. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
22-year-old scored eighth-place result at Atlanta subbing for Vickers Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Brett Moffitt 's first start of the 2015 season left quite the impression, as the 22-year-old scored an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Unfortunately for the Grimes, Iowa, native, start No. 2 has yet to be determined. Moffitt , a development driver with Michael Waltrip Racing , filled in for Brian Vickers in the organization’s No. 55 Toyota at AMS. It was his eighth career start in the series. Owner/driver Michael Waltrip finished 26th in a fill-in role for Vickers in the season-opening Daytona 500 . Vickers, sidelined for the first two races due to health issues, returns to the seat this weekend when the series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400 on March 8 (FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET) "I wish I was in it for the next 30-some weeks," Moffitt said following his top-10 finish at AMS, "but I'm sure something will come about; an opportunity will open up, so we'll see." In a statement Monday, MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman said MWR officials are "enthusiastic about ( Moffitt's ) potential." " Brett is under a multi-year agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing ," Kauffman said. "MWR would love to get back to a three-car team and grow with him into the future. Before this past weekend we stated that we felt his name should be mentioned among the impressive crop of young drivers coming into the sport, and the Atlanta result validated that claim." Moffitt , a member of the original NASCAR Next class in 2011, competed regularly in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East from 2009 through '13, scoring nine wins and finishing inside the top five in more than half his starts (33 in 61 races). He has a handful of starts in ARCA, NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series. Earlier this year, Moffitt said he was pleased with his association with MWR and thankful for the opportunities the organization had afforded him thus far. "But at the same time, I need to be in a race car more often and they've been willing to work with me on that, and they said 'Hey, if you find an opportunity, we're not going to hold you back from it,' " he said. A lack of sponsorship forced MWR to contract from three Sprint Cup teams to two after the 2013 season. Should expansion be on the horizon, Moffitt could find himself on the short list of potential driver candidates. Another option, more likely given the time frame, would be to secure a ride for Moffitt through another Toyota-affiliated organization. "While we work toward a fully supported in-house program, it is MWR's desire that Brett get more quality opportunities in either of NASCAR's top divisions and we will work diligently to make that happen," Kauffman said. Dave Wilson, president and general manager, Toyota Racing Development, USA, said that Moffitt is "in our … driver development program and we have been working with him in a development capacity over the past couple of years. "Given the right opportunity we would love to see him in a Toyota down the road." Moffitt's Atlanta effort reinforced the group's belief in the talented youngster. It also reinforced his belief in himself. Although nearly two laps down to the leader at one point, a timely caution in the latter stages of Sunday's race allowed Moffitt and the No. 55 team to pit under yellow and gain track position. The team then opted to stay out under a subsequent yellow, and Moffitt found himself restarting third. And while he spun his tires on the restart, losing several spots, he was able to hold off Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman in the closing laps and hold on to eighth place. "I was tearing up out there; this is the biggest accomplishment I could have ever done," an emotional Moffitt said afterward. "… These guys kept fighting. … I spun the tires there, luckily we were able to get 'em back on the last restart." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brett Moffitt talks about his 8th place finish last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway while filling in for Brian Vickers and what he expects this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Front Row Racing No.34 Ford.
Brett Moffitt goes for a spin during qualifying forcing him to a back-up truck for the UNOH 225.
Complete news and notes for each driver in the Quicken Loans 400 fBelow is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Michigan International Speedway . 1. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch inherited the lead after a fuel-starved Kyle Larson pitted on Lap 133. Busch was pacing the field when the final, race-ending red flag was displayed five laps later. " RELATED: See what Busch said in Victory Lane 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Despite a loose-handling condition, Earnhardt climbed his way through the top 10 in the final 48 laps before NASCAR called the race. " WATCH: Find out what Junior is focused on 3. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . After Sunday’s third-place result, Truex became the first driver to score 14 top-10s in the first 15 races since Richard Petty did it in 1969. " WATCH: Truex reflects on run 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth snugged up to Carl Edwards on Lap 75 to get trash off his grille and continued his climb through the field once his temperatures returned to normal. 5. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . "Coming to you. Out of fuel,” Logano radioed his team after leading Laps 88-94. He rallied and earned his eighth top-five of the season. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Pitting after the fourth caution flag wasn’t a popular choice, but it didn’t hurt the Michigan native, who quickly climbed his way back into the top 10. 7. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray dealt with a loose-handling condition; he was one of several who opted not to pit during the fourth caution period with rain clouds looming overhead. 8. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was running fourth when the caution flag was waved on Lap 125, but couldn't delay his pit stop much longer. 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne rallied from one lap down, thanks to skipping a pit stop during the last caution flag, and claimed his best Michigan finish. 10. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's team opted not to pit after the fourth caution flag; he dealt with a tight-handling condition en route to his fourth top-10 this year. 11. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Spotter Chris Lambert radioed Hamlin, "These are your best laps," as Hamlin ran second on Lap 90. " For lap times and more race data, sign up for RaceView today 12. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards lined up fourth and led all but one of the first 41 laps — including Lap 30, which was the fastest of the race at 196.457 mph. 13. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was one of the few who pitted during the Lap 125 debris caution and restarted 14th after taking four tires, fueling and making adjustments. 14. Ty Dillon , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. "Boy I hope the rain goes away," Dillon, a Michigan newcomer, tweeted during what would be the final red flag for rain. "We might have a shot." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 15. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne led one lap after starting from the pole position, his first of the year. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick inherited the lead on Lap 95 and paced the field two circuits before hitting pit road for all kinds of adjustments, including wedge and packer. 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson stayed out during the late-race debris caution and unsuccessfully tried to stretch his fuel window as rain loomed nearby. " RELATED: No regrets over failed gamble for Larson 18. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman and his team figured out the handling on the No. 31 Chevy, but pit sequence and a rain-shortened race impacted their finish. 19. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "All right, we gotta haul it, man," crew chief Chad Knaus radioed Jimmie Johnson shortly after the second red flag was lifted. "I'm trying to haul it man. I promise you," replied Johnson, who was mired in traffic after contact from Logano during an early restart. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 20. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Early on, Dillon ran as high as eighth and was trying to adjust his track bar and front fans to improve the handling of his car. 21. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon had to return to pit road after his Lap 90 green-flag stop because the left-front tire wasn’t tightened all the way down. 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola spent the final 23 laps holding down the broken track bar button to try to get the most out of his car. 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . A loose-handling condition led Allmendinger to pancake the right side of his ride. 24. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney qualified fifth and was running inside the top 12 during the opening 70 laps of his first Michigan outing when his engine temperatures started to rise. 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was among those who took advantage of poor track position to pack in an additional fuel stop early on. He used that to improve his track position later on and ran as high as 23rd. 26. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish had a little better luck than his teammate with his track bar adjuster, but still struggled to find the right balance. 27. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . During the first real green-flag stretch, Allgaier radioed that he needed more grip to get around Michigan's two-mile oval. 28. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart made an unscheduled stop on Lap 75 while running inside the top 20 so his team could repair his damaged splitter. 29. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick paced a race-high 63 laps on Sunday, eclipsing the 1,200-laps led mark for the year. He is the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 2001 to achieve that within the first 15 races of the year. A cut right-front tire put a damper on the day. " RELATED: Harvick snakebitten at Michigan 30. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett spent the rain delays hanging out with his team under nearby cover, while teammate Justin Allgaier hitched a ride on the roller as crew members tried to dry his pit stall. 31. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill took an extra splash of fuel, despite a closed pit road, prior to the Lap 60 restart and picked up 10 spots after the field went green. 32. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt rolled off the grid 40th after spending his morning hanging out with current business partner Nate Burleson, a former Detroit Lions wide receiver. 33. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt ran as high as 12th en route to his best Michigan result. 34. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise stayed out to lead Lap 42 when the rest of the field hit pit road for the competition caution. 35. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan's team helped him find more side bite, and he picked up 10 spots to run 14th after the Lap 52 restart. 36. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Rear grip was a struggle for Biffle, who radioed "Thank God it’s raining" when a right-rear tire issue presented itself within the first 15 laps. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 37. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The rookie earned his best Cup result at a two-mile track for the 2015 season. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley quietly improved his position after starting 41st on Sunday. 39. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto lined up 43rd in his first Michigan appearance and picked up several spots during the first 45 laps. 40. Mike Bliss , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing . Bliss sustained some damage to his car after making contact with David Gilliland early on Sunday. 41. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman made an unscheduled stop during the first six laps after slapping the Turn 2 wall. 42. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland hit the wall hard around Lap 65 after receiving contact from Mike Bliss . 43. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Shortly after the Lap 52 restart, Busch got loose and slammed hard into the Turn 4 wall. Fortunately that area was reinforced with SAFER barrier, but unfortunately, several drivers cited heavy rainfall in that area at the time. " RELATED: How does Busch's Chase chances look? FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Front Row Motorsports will keep driver in Cup ride for 2015
David Ragan moving to MWR opens up seat for young driver
Interim driver coming off career-best Cup finish at Atlanta