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Last-lap pass leads Moffitt to victory at Michigan
RELATED: Full race results " Standings BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Brett Moffitt had never led a lap. But in Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway , Moffitt picked the perfect time to take the point for the first time. Powering around Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters and five-time series winner William Byron off the second corner of the final lap at the two-mile track, Moffitt held off Peters by .098 seconds to win a NASCAR national series race for the first time. Moffitt's victory, however, left Shane Huffman, Peters' crew chief, slapping his seat on the pit box in frustration. Peters, who led a race-high 42 laps, could have locked himself into the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase with a victory. Running a limited schedule this season, Moffitt is ineligible for the championship this year. But Moffitt made no apologies for taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself when Byron pushed Peters into Turn 3 on the white-flag lap, cut to the inside and slowed both trucks down. Moffitt cruised around the outside off Turn 2 on the final lap and kept Peters behind him. "I'm here to win," Moffitt said. "I said it earlier and I'll say it again. I'm not going to wreck him (Peters) for it. I'm going to race him clean because I know he needs to get in the Chase, but this team needs to win and these guys deserve to win. "That's what we come to do, and our partners at Toyota want to do the same, and we got it." Daniel Hemric passed Byron on the last lap to come home third, with Byron following in fourth and Cameron Hayley in fifth. The good news for both Peters and Hemric was the wide margin both drivers opened over their closest pursuers in the race to make the Chase. Though winless this year, Hemric and Peters lead Cameron Hayley by 55 and 47 points, respectively, in the battle for the last two Chase spots. If no new winner surfaces in the final two regular-season races, both Hemric and Peters are highly likely to qualify on points. "It's a good day for Red Horse Racing," Peters said. "Congrats to Brett Moffitt . One-two finish. I wish we were 'one,' but all in all, the company brings the trophy back. The 9 (Byron) locked onto our bumper there in Turn 2 and pushed us really hard down into Turn 3. "We had to do all we had to do to stay in front. ... Tough to swallow right there, but it felt good to run the way we did all day." Both Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick entered the race needing to win to make the Chase. Reddick's Ford bounced off the side of Johhny Sauter's Chevrolet on Lap 70 and sustained heavy damage during contact with the Turn 3 wall. Custer, however, had the lead for a restart on Lap 84, only to lose control and spin into the Turn 4 wall, grazing the left rear of Moffitt's No. 11 Toyota in the process. "We didn't have the raw speed of the guys up front, but it drove pretty well, and it was hard to keep those guys off of me," Custer said. "The 11 ( Moffitt ) stopped pushing me -- which it's his right to do that. "We were kind of losing the 17 (Peters) there. He ( Moffitt ) went to the outside and I started getting tight. Once he got on my door, I got loose and over-corrected it. I just hate it for my guys that brought a great truck." Like Hayley, Custer and Reddick will have two more chances to force their way into the Chase by winning one of the final two regular-season races.
Moffitt : 'We knew it was a matter of time'
Brett Moffitt celebrates in Victory Lane after finishing runner-up at Bristol Motor Speedway last week.
Moffitt wins at Michigan with last-lap pass
Brett Moffitt makes a three-wide pass by his teammate, Timothy Peters, on the final laps to capture his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win.
Moffitt talks racing against NASCAR lineage
Brett Moffitt addresses racing clean against Ben Kennedy, a relative of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and how Moffitt respects Kennedy's skills in the closing laps to secure the win.
Moffitt on close-but-no-cigar finish: 'It sucks'
RELATED: Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- With only a handful of starts on his schedule, Brett Moffitt competes as if every race is a tryout. And in many ways, that's indeed the case. Called into service by Red Horse Racing to fill the seat of the organization's No. 11 Toyota earlier this year, Moffitt responded with a strong performance at Kentucky before an engine issue left him 31st, and Pocono, where he finished third. Earlier this month, Red Horse officials announced Moffitt would return for three more starts -- at Bristol, Michigan and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway , Moffitt continued to impress with a career-best runner-up finish to first-time race winner Ben Kennedy (GMS Racing) in the UNOH 200 . MORE: Kennedy: 'This is the coolest day of my life' "It's really fun running like this and being super competitive two weeks in a row now," Moffitt , 24, said. "But second place sucks. We're here to win. I'm happy but I'm not. It sucks being that close." Moffitt has Sprint Cup experience, making a handful of starts a year ago with the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing group before closing the season behind the wheel of the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports . His performance was good enough to earn him Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. It wasn't, however, enough to secure him a ride for '16. Until he was called on to drive the No. 11 for Red Horse earlier this year, subbing for Matt Tifft , his NASCAR career was in a holding pattern. While his future remains uncertain -- he said there have been no conversations beyond his next two starts -- Moffitt is hoping his results lead to more opportunities. The team will carry the same truck to Michigan next week that was used at Kentucky and Pocono. "And they actually did some more work to it," he furthered, "so hopefully it's even better. "We're showing really strong, got a third place and a second place here; we just need one more. That would be a good place to win and hopefully at the road course as well." Moffitt had an opportunity at Bristol, restarting second to Kennedy for a six-lap shootout following the ninth and final caution. But Kennedy, who went from third to first with 20 laps remaining, didn't falter with the win on the line. While he closed on Kennedy's bumper, Moffitt said he couldn't get close enough to either make the pass or move the leader out of the way. Both were options he considered. "I'm going to race people the way I want to be raced," he said. "It is Bristol so if you need to move someone, you've got to move them. "I just wasn't quite good enough through the center (of the turn) to get to him. He slipped up a few times and I was able to get to his bumper once but didn't get to him hard enough. I was really waiting for him to make a mistake so I could shove my nose in there but he executed when he needed to and he hit his marks. I just wasn't able to get to him there." Daniel Hemric ( Brad Keselowski Racing), William Byron ( Kyle Busch Motorsports) and Johnny Sauter (GMS) rounded out the top five.
Moffitt hopes third-place run opens more doors
RELATED: Full race results LONG POND, Pa. -- Brett Moffitt finished the 2015 season as the Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. He started the 2016 season without a ride -- in any national series. After completing his rookie campaign behind the wheel of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports ride currently inhabited by reigning XFINITY Series champion Chris Buescher, Moffitt found himself seatless heading into this season with more questions than answers regarding his career trajectory. Fill-in duty came calling earlier this month as Red Horse Racing needed a driver for its No. 11 Toyota at Kentucky, with Matt Tifft sidelined following surgery to remove a low-grade brain tumor. After starting second, an engine failure while running in the top five relegated Moffitt to a 31st-place finish. RELATED: Tifft tweets upbeat video post-surgery The 23-year-old was again behind the wheel at Pocono Raceway for Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150, carving his way through the field -- and a wreck-heavy, race-record nine cautions -- to finish third after starting 15th. Despite the lack of seat time this season, it appears Moffitt hasn't forgotten what to do when his team gives him a machine capable of competing. "We didn't make a single adjustment on it during the race; we really had a good truck. (Crew chief) Scott (Zipadelli) called a great race; great strategy. Got us up front when it mattered," Moffitt said. " … We were actually really lucky (to stay out of the wrecks). It seemed like when it happened, it would happen right in front of us, so we were able to duck to the bottom and avoid before cars get stacked up three and four-wide trying to avoid it and you get forced into a lane. "It worked out alright for us, we just saw a lot of attrition right in front of us. Part of qualifying getting rained out was that we started mid-pack and we had to do what the leaders didn't. So that's why we went with that strategy and it ended up working out, but it was a little bit nerve-wracking through the middle section of the race there." With the finish -- his best across all NASCAR national series in 43 starts -- Moffitt is hoping it results in keeping his name fresh in people's minds, as he has no other opportunities lined up at the current moment. Regardless, he'll be ready at the drop of a hat should any team, Red Horse Racing included, call him up for a spot start or more. "(Red Horse) like to keep it last minute, so I found out about a week ago Friday," he said. "It's a little stressful during that week to get everything ready and it's hard on the guys at the shop, but they do a great job adjusting to multiple drivers this year and they continue to prove that. "I don't think I've had a clear path my whole career. I've kind of been riding each opportunity I get, you know? Last year it was in the 55 car when Brian (Vickers) was out and this year it's in the 11 truck with Matt Tifft being out. Not the way I want to get opportunities, by someone else's hard fortune, but it's good to make the most of them. "Hopefully this opens the door for some more races."
Heavy crash sidelines Bell, Gallagher early at Michigan
RELATED: Results " Standings BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Spencer Gallagher said he didn't know how fast he was going when his No. 23 Chevrolet collided with the No. 4 Toyota of Christopher Bell . "I don't want to know," a shaken Gallagher said after exiting the care center Saturday, the Careers for Veterans 200 under caution and workers clearing debris from the hard two-truck crash. Bell, his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota running second, had charged inside of leader Cole Custer (JR Motorsports) in Turn 3 on Lap 75 of the 100-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. But the back end of the vehicle tried to pass the front end -- spinning up the track and into the path of the oncoming entry of Gallagher. The impact was frightening. So much so that Gallagher, after exiting his truck, quickly made his way back to Bell's damaged vehicle. "That was a vicious hit for me so I had to see that he was fine," Gallagher, battling for fourth at the time, said. "Everyone is jockeying so hard for position and it's so easy to pull another guy around, not even trying to, just racing hard. … "Poor Christopher got sucked around on the bottom there; I tried to get up and away from him as quickly as I could and couldn't get it done in time. After I came to rest, I didn't know where I hit him but I didn't think I got him in any kind of a good place. I got out and took off running to him because I was afraid for the safety of a fellow competitor. "I was just hoping so much in my heart he was all right. It put the fear of God in me, seeing how that unfolded. Apologies to the safety officials for having to chase after my dumb ass but I needed to see with my own eyes that he was OK." The race, delayed by rain, was won by Brett Moffitt with a last-lap pass. Bell, who was also was not injured, was credited with a 24th-place finish; Gallagher was scored in 25th. "Just really bummed for everybody who works on this (truck)," Bell said afterward, "because we had a really fast Tundra today. I felt like I did a really good job all race just kind of biding my time. "I knew I had a fast truck and was just trying to take care of it. I got the opportunity there late in the race … maybe should have waited a little bit but had the opportunity. I tried to take it and it didn't work out." Bell fell to seventh in points but with a win at St. Louis earlier this season, is basically assured of a spot in this year's inaugural Chase for the series. "Kind of frustrated with myself there," he said. "Still had a lot of race to go. … Maybe it was a little too early to go for it." Gallagher dropped two spots to 14th. Officials called Gallagher to the hauler after the race for exiting his truck and approaching another vehicle. "They're going to want to talk to me," he said. "I understand it's against … policy but in that moment I was concerned about Christopher. … There were plenty of safety officials around me, there were no active race cars around so I took off running; I needed to see him with my own eyes."
Cole Custer takes hard hit on track and in the points
After making contact with the No. 11 of Brett Moffitt , Cole Custer spins and makes a big impact with the wall at Michigan International Speedway.
The winning moment, minutes apart
In the same day, Brett Moffitt and Michael McDowell get their first career win at two separate tracks within a matter of minutes.
Moffitt : 'I don't think I've had a clear path my whole career'
Brett Moffitt talks about his career and the opportunities he's had in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 55 last season and currently in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the No. 11 team.