Posted by BMR in Brett Moffitt Racing on 10/11/2011

 Grimes, IA (October 5, 2011) - Brett Moffitt headed to Dover, DE, for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale with two goals in mind - to earn his third straight win on Dover’s “Monster Mile” and to bring Michael Waltrip Racing their third consecutive season championship. Moffitt came within three laps of potentially doing exactly that, until a cut tire cost him the win and erased any chance of his first NASCAR championship and of MWR’s third.

“We were in command late in the race and could easily have cruised to the win, had we not cut down the tire” a disappointed Moffitt said afterward. “All that we asked was to put ourselves in a position to contend for the win and the championship. Thanks to great teamwork, we did that today. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

A late season string of five consecutive top-three finishes had given Moffitt and the No. 00 MWR team momentum. They headed to Dover trailing the leader by only 21 points.

The team had unloaded another good, consistent car, and Moffitt was in the top-five in both practice sessions. He qualified fifth quickest, with a time of 23.552 (152.853 mph).

Moffitt wasted no time moving to the front from his fifth place starting position.  By lap nine, he had worked his way into third place and was posting lap times as fast as the leaders’. Following the day’s third caution on lap 50, he came out of the pits in second place. 

When the yellow flag flew again on lap 66, the team decided to pit for 4 tires. Under NASCAR K&N Pro Series East rules, each team has a total of 4 tires available to change during the race, but only 2 tires may be changed per pit stop, and the teams may not change tires and take on fuel during the same stop. The No. 00 team was among the fastest on pit road, and they sent Moffitt back onto the track with fresh rubber in the 9th position.

Moffitt narrowly avoided disaster on lap 78, when one of the leaders blew an engine directly in front of the field. Moffitt slid in the oil that was put down and scraped the wall.

The team was forced to pit to check right rear area of the car, which resulted in a longer pit stop. Fortunately, they found only minor right side damage, but they lost the track position they had gained. Moffitt restarted deep in the field, with heavy traffic to battle and little time remaining to retake the lost positions.

“We knew we were going to have an uphill battle from there, but we’ve battled back from adversity all year, so we didn’t let this faze us,” Moffitt explained.

After taking the restart, Moffitt immediately began a charge through the field. By lap 86, he had moved up to 15th position, and by lap 95, he was scored in 8th. When the 6th caution of the day came out on Lap 101, Moffitt was back in the top five. He then began setting his sights on the leaders. On lap 107, NASCAR scored him in the third position, and on lap 120, he was running second. By lap 128, the two lead cars had pulled away from the field, and Moffitt was pressuring the leader, when another caution flag flew.

On the restart, the leader bobbled, and Moffitt was able to capitalize. He took the lead on lap 134 and stretched the lead to six car lengths, while the first two cars pulled away from the rest of the field.

Coming out of turn 2 on lap 147, still with the lead and with just 3 laps remaining in the scheduled distance, the right front tire was cut down by debris. When it blew, it sent the No. 00 Toyota hard into the outside wall and directly to the garage for a 21st place finish. The crash dropped Moffitt to third in the season point standings.

“This was by far the hardest hit I’ve ever experienced,” Moffitt stated. “The car was destroyed, and it is frustrating to end a great season this way. The team is so much better than this finish looks, and they deserved the championship for their hard work and outstanding performance all season. Naturally, we are very disappointed, but if you look beyond this week’s finish, you will see that we had a championship year. In fact, it may have been one of the best and most consistent performances in recent years in the East Series. Thanks to the preparation and hard work of the team at the shop, we had a top-three car in every race. The only races when we finished outside the top three were those when something occurred that was not within our control, like cutting down the tire today. As a racer, you can not ask any more from your team than to know we were the team to beat each and every week. It was quite an accomplishment, and I want to thank Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota, and the whole No. 00 team for everything they did all season to make it possible.”

 

Tags: brett moffitt , dover , nascar , k&n , pro series east , michael waltrip racing

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