Driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises, Brett Moffitt won last year’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.
Shortly thereafter, Moffitt lost his ride, to be replaced in the No. 16 Toyota by Austin Hill after Moffitt and Hattori failed to come to terms for another season.
So when Moffitt begins the defense of his title in Thursday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), he’ll be driving the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet that has carried him to two victories and the top seeding on the Playoff grid this season.
Though Hill says he has felt the need to prove that he deserves to be in the championship ride this season, Moffitt said he doesn’t feel the need to find motivation from external sources.
“I don’t take any criticism from outside my own group, and I don’t put any pressure from other reasons than just myself wanting to win,” Moffitt said. “That’s all the motivation I need to win, and yeah, you want to better yourself year after year. That’s the goal.”
Last year, both Moffitt and Johnny Sauter (the seventh seed in this year’s Playoff) won six races each. This season, Moffitt has two wins and Sauter one.
“It seems like, instead of having five to six competitive trucks a week, we’ve got 10 to 12 now,” Moffitt said. “It’s changing the field completely, and it’s definitely making it harder to come by wins because you’re racing more people week-in and week-out.
“Tyler Ankrum (seeded No. 8 in the Playoffs) did a great job as a rookie. You look at this Playoff field, and most of us up here have a lot of experience. He’s coming in young (18 years old) and has proven that he can do it, and he’s put himself in position up front a lot lately, so he’s definitely not one to count out.”
On the other hand, Moffitt believes the lessons he learned last year will be invaluable.
“We’ve got some good tracks coming up,” Moffitt said, “and we’ve had a lot of speed lately with our GMS trucks, and I’ve now got the experience of how it unfolds going through the Playoffs. Last year was my first year doing that and knowing what to expect.
“It’s easier to look at the big picture now throughout the Playoffs, and I think that’ll help me get to Homestead.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!