Posted by BMR in Brett Moffitt Racing on 6/18/2016

Story by Andy Hamilton of The Des Moines Register

NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year trophy sits next to the television atop the mantle inside Brett Moffitt’s North Carolina home.

It’s right there in sight each time the 23-year-old Grimes native watches Sprint Cup races and sees stock car racing’s biggest stars through the screen rather than a windshield.

This is the goofy reality of motorsports at its highest level. In other sports, a rookie of the year award serves as an occupational catalyst and represents a brighter future.

In Moffitt’s case, a career that seemed to be gaining speed last summer has stalled since his crowning achievement last fall. He hasn’t been behind the wheel of a race car since his November rookie coronation at Homestead Speedway.

“Just watching the races right now kills me,” he said. “Hopefully we get back there.”

Circumstances beyond his control are partially to blame for Moffitt’s place on the Sprint Cup sidelines. He signed a contract two years ago with Michael Waltrip Racing after driving an underfunded car to a 22nd-place finish in his debut on NASCAR’s top level. The deal was supposed to keep him in an MWR ride through the 2017 season.

Then the organization folded last year.

“I thought I had a future going,” he said. “That was a big shock to me.”

Admittedly, though, Moffitt is in this position somewhat by his own volition.

“There’s been offers on the table, it’s just not in the equipment we want to be in, so we’re waiting for the right opportunity,” he said.

“I’m super competitive. I’ve been in those cars that aren’t quite capable of winning races and running up front and I’ve put in the time there and it’s just not something I’m interested in right now. I need to be in something that’s going to show my talents and show what I can do inside a race car and that’s hopefully in equipment that will be able to run up front and win races.”

For the time being, Moffitt’s racing career is rolling along on two wheels instead of four. He entered the world of competitive cycling a couple years ago when he was waiting for his first big NASCAR break. The bike picked up dust last summer when he was driving full-time on the Cup circuit, but now he’s putting miles on it almost daily, sometimes up to 200 per week. He competes in a mountain biking league that races every Wednesday night in Charlotte.

“I have a lot of time on my hands,” he said. “It’s a great sport for me. I’m super competitive and it’s something that allows me to fuel that competitiveness and go race and at the same time stay in really good shape so if I do get the opportunity to get back in the car I’m prepared.”

Agonizing as it is to sit on the couch and watch Cup races each Sunday, Moffitt also sees reason for optimism on the television. He sees young drivers thriving, like Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, guys he raced alongside — and often beat — during their developmental years on the K&N circuit.

It gives him hope that his career can still take off, too, if he can land the right ride.

“It’s so tough in this sport,” Moffitt said. “One minute you’re a hero and the next you’re in this position looking for something. We’re going to keep working away and trying to put something together, a quality ride, and hopefully that comes. If not, we’ll have to reassess in a year or six months or whenever that is.”

Sitting on the NASCAR sidelines comes with the risk of being out of sight and out of mind. Moffitt recognizes the value of having his name flashing across television screens a few dozen times every race, even if it’s not listed where he wants it to be in the running order.

“We definitely take that into account when we’re trying to work through things,” he said. “At a point, you start to weigh out, ‘OK, maybe this car or truck we could go run 15th to 20th', and it gets you out there and reminds people of you, so you’re constantly weighing that. We don’t need to rush right away.”

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/motor/auto-racing/2016/06/18/iowa-native-brett-moffitt-looking-for-nascar-ride-after-winning-2015-sprint-cup-rookie-of-year-award/86078416/

 

Tags: The Des Moines Register , Rookie of the Year , Sprint Cup , Michael Waltrip Racing

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