Posted by BMR in Brett Moffitt Racing on 6/17/2011

Grimes, IA (June 15, 2011) – The roller coaster-like story of the 2011 season continued for Brett Moffitt, driver of the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – either win the race in a totally dominating fashion or have another strong run, but end the night without the strong finish, due to circumstances out of the team’s control during the closing laps.

After qualifying fifth quickest, Moffitt was still running fourth with only fourteen laps remaining in the Slack Auto Parts 150 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA, when his right front tire blew heading into turn one.  The crew was able to quickly repair the car, but Moffitt came back onto the track a lap down and out of contention for the win.  Remarkably, he bounced back to finish a hard-fought sixteenth.

After the race, Moffitt commented, “It seems as though we either dominate and win, or we run well throughout the race, but have bad luck in the final laps.  The crew worked extra hard this weekend with the car, so they deserved a good finish to show for it.  We came to Gresham with a set-up that the team had used successfully last year, but we were running a harder tire compound this time.  The harder tire created an issue with the set up that we could only have anticipated, if we had tested here on the new tire.”

The crew fought hard all weekend to improve the car.  In practice, Moffitt described the car as, “Really good in turns one and two, but bottoming out and very tight in turns three and four.”  Despite being only 11th and 12th quickest on the speed charts in the weekend’s two practice sessions, the team made major adjustments to the front end of the racecar before qualifying, and Moffitt went out and showed his team’s championship form.  After the adjustments, the car was good enough to post the fifth quickest qualifying time of 17.455 seconds (103.122 mph), a pick up of nearly a half-second from practice times.

“The qualifying lap actually surprised me,” Moffitt said.  “It just goes to show you how hard the guys on this team work and how good they are at what they do.  We never lost hope for the car, and everyone dug down deep.”

Once the green flag dropped, Moffitt exchanged positions a number of times with sixth place, Chase Elliott, before eventually completing the pass.  Comfortably back in fifth place, Moffitt was able to focus on running down fourth place, Corey Lajoie.  A heated battle followed, and Lajoie appeared to use up his equipment while the two rubbed fenders, fighting for position lap after lap.  Moffitt was able to nail another impressive restart, get a good jump, and make the pass for fourth place over Alex Bowman.  Although Moffitt found himself again being challenged by Lajoie, he managed to maintain fourth position from Lap 74 through 136 and had begun running down third place when, with only fourteen laps to go, the near perfect night ended for Moffitt, as he blew a right front tire heading into turn one.

The car received only minor fender and side damage from the wall, but while pitting for a new tire, Moffitt went down a lap to the leaders and found himself coming back onto the track in 21st position, the last car one lap down with only five laps remaining.  Moffitt was able to battle back in the closing laps and avoided a late race pile up to finish sixteenth.

“We really looked forward to coming to Gresham,” Moffitt said.  “I like the track, and the No. 00 team was very fast here in the past, so we were confident we would have a good run.  We saved our equipment until the end, and I think we could have finished in the top three, but we didn’t have luck on our side tonight.”  Although the finish did not reflect the strength the team had shown during most of the race, Moffitt’s late race charge from 21st to 16th enabled him to hold onto fourth place in the season Championship point standings, now 84 points behind the leader.

“We are only halfway into the season, so there is still plenty of time for us to make up ground on the leader,” Moffitt said.  “I am really confident about the tracks coming up on the schedule and know that we can get some more wins.  Hopefully, we have all of our bad luck out of the way and can just focus on racing.”

The seventh stop on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule is next weekend, June 18th, at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA.  It will mark the first appearance for the series at the .4 mile semi-banked oval.  “We tested at Langley a couple of weeks ago and found a good balance with the car,” Moffitt said.  “It’s a fun little track and is well worn in, so I hope it separates the field.”

 

Tags: slack auto parts 150 , gresham motorsports park , jefferson , ga , georgia , repair , fender

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