Posted by BMR in Brett Moffitt Racing on 6/28/2011

Grimes, IA (June 22, 2011)

The following comments were posted on Brett Moffitt Racing’s Facebook fan page by an eyewitness to the action on the track who described the events that had unfolded as he watched. 

“Being that Langley is the home track to me, and by far one of the tuffest places to get around, it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve seen someone come through the field like you did tonight.  National Champions and other developmental drivers have come here and tested for days to only find themselves in the back...you flat drove your ass off buddy, without the tire issue early on or 5 more laps you were p1 no questions asked.  You have earned a fan from your performance tonight, good luck the rest of the season and keep on diggin!  Look forward to being at the track with you soon!”
- Jeremy Michael Jordan

Brett Moffitt, driver of the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, staged a remarkable rally at the seventh stop of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule for the Visit Hampton VA 175 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA.  After having the strongest car all day, Moffitt overcame a flat tire and a two lap deficit on his way to an almost incredible second place finish.

“If it were not for a flat tire, we could probably be in victory circle right now,” Moffitt said.  “I felt bad for the team when the tire went down, and I wanted to do everything in my power to get back up there for them and rebound.  It is awesome to finish second, after everything we went though tonight.”

Moffitt started the day by posting the quickest speeds in both practice sessions with lap times of 16.481 and 16.413 respectively. He drew the third place qualifying position, which dampened the team’s hopes for earning their second pole award of the season. Qualifying began during the prime heat of the day, while the track was at its slickest. The heat plus rubber that was left on the track by another racing series running different tires posed a real challenge for the earliest qualifiers. Moffitt posted the eighth quickest qualifying speed, with a lap time of 16.605 seconds (85.854 MPH).

Before the race, Moffitt commented, “Our qualifying draw really killed our shot at getting the pole. The car just slid on the rubber that was laid down by the other series. The good thing is that our car is so strong we should be able to make up the ground fairly quickly during the race.”

For the sixth time in the first seven races of the season, it appeared that the race might be halted by Mother Nature before it even began. Only moments before the command to start engines was to be given, a heavy rain cell moved through the area. After a delay for track drying, and with more rain on the way, the officials green flagged the race.

Once the race started, and with weather rolling back in, Moffitt knew he needed to mount a charge early. While trying to get to the bottom of the track on the first lap, he made contact with another competitor. The result was a flat left-front tire. Although damage was minimal, Moffitt was forced to pit for a tire change under green flag conditions, and he rejoined the field two laps down.

“Once we got the flat, I knew I needed to be cautious getting to pit road, because if the tire started coming apart and ripping the fender, our night was going to be over,” Moffitt commented later. “The crew really worked their butts off getting the tire changed quickly and not costing us more laps. They saved the race in the pits.”

Although the car received only minimal damage, Moffitt found himself in a deep hole. He would need to put himself in position to earn not just one, but two laps back, in order to contend for a solid finish. Ordinarily, a two lap deficit spells the end of any hope for a good finish, but Moffitt and the No. 00 MWR Toyota team proved to be the exception to this rule on Saturday night.

The first caution flag of the race waved on lap 16, and because the caution flew so early in the race, Moffitt was the highest running car one lap down. He received the free pass and got the first of his two laps back. On lap 20, Moffitt had to restart at the tail end of the field, but he was now only one lap down to the leaders.

When the green flag flew, Moffitt lost no time heading to the front. He quickly worked his way through the field, passing cars in every turn. He was soon in seventh position on the track, and even though he was still a lap down, he was running some of the quickest laps of the race. Because of the long green flag run that followed, the leaders were lapping cars before Moffitt was catching them, and when the caution flag finally flew again on lap 62, Moffitt missed receiving the free pass by just one position. With the threat of rain still looming and lightning visible in the distance, Moffitt knew he had to regain that one remaining lap as quickly as possible.

Finally on lap 128, the No. 00 MWR team got the break they had been looking for all night. The caution flag waved again, and Moffitt received the free pass, putting him back on the lead lap; however, under NASCAR’s rules, he again lost all track position and restarted on the tail of the 26 car field. At this small short-track where track position is key, Moffitt still had his work cut out for him.

At the drop of the green flag, Moffitt began dicing his way through traffic. With 40 laps to go, he made incidental contact with the No. 97 car. Neither car sustained damage, and this restart allowed Moffitt to line up directly behind his competitors. It took Moffitt only 7 laps to race his way inside the top ten.

Once in the top ten, Moffitt quickly began making “three-wide” passes and worked his way into the top five. Not to be denied, and with only 10 laps remaining, Moffitt moved into second place and was running the leader down. After a furious charge to the front that was described as “nothing short of spectacular”, Moffitt ultimately ran out of time to catch the leader and had to settle for second place.

“Based on lap times, I think we needed only about five more laps to catch the leader,” Moffitt said afterward. “It was a very long night, so we will take second place and move on, but we must have passed nearly fifty cars on the track tonight. I know we probably didn’t make many friends tonight, but this is what we had to do to contend for the championship.”

The strong finish moved Moffitt to within 79 points of the championship leader.

The Visit Hampton VA 175 is scheduled to air on Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 PM ET on SPEED TV.

Up next on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule is New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH on July 15th for the New England 125. In four starts at the speedway, Moffitt has earned two pole awards and three top-5 finishes. In both races last season at NHMS, the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota swept both races with wins.

“I like racing at NHMS,” Moffitt said. “It’s one of the bigger tracks we run, plus there are usually a lot of fans cheering us on, so it makes the weekend fun. Hopefully we can duplicate what the MWR team did and what I did there last year and sit on the pole and win the race.”
 

 

Tags: brett moffitt , michael waltrip racing , toyota , visit hampton va 175 , langley speedway , hampton , va , virginia , flat tire , second

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