Moffitt Nation Born at Newton, Iowa's - Iowa Speedway Grimes, Iowa (May18, 2009) -- Busch, Ickler, Mayhew, Earnhardt, Harraka, Moffitt, MacDonald, Dillon, Johnson, Park and Truex. These are the names of notables who participated last Sunday...
Moffitt Nation Born at Newton, Iowa's - Iowa Speedway
Grimes, Iowa (May18, 2009) -- Busch, Ickler, Mayhew, Earnhardt, Harraka, Moffitt, MacDonald, Dillon, Johnson, Park and Truex. These are the names of notables who participated last Sunday during the NASCAR Camping World Series East/West Long John Silver's 200 presented by A & W at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
NASCAR star Kyle Busch, the eventual race winner, is of course well known; Brian Ickler, a protege of Busch, is competing in the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series; David Mayhew is a stand out in the Camping World West Series; Jeffrey Earnhardt is the grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt; Paulie Harraka is also a strong Camping World West Series competitor; Eddie MacDonald is another rising star from the Camping World East Series; Austin Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress; Jarit Johnson is the younger brother of Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson; Steve Park is an accomplished NASCAR competitor; and Ryan Truex is Martin Truex's younger brother.
Now, right in the middle of that mix, add a new-comer -- sixteen year old high school sophomore, Grimes, Iowa native, and NASCAR Camping World East Series Rookie, Brett Moffitt.
In only his third NASCAR Camping World East Series start, Moffitt made quite an impression, qualifying for the 200 lapper at his home track, the Iowa Speedway. It was Moffitt's second time ever to race at the Iowa Speedway. Last year in his rookie asphalt racing season, the young Moffitt, competing there with the ASA LMS Challenge division, was racing for seventh place, when late in the race contact by another driver sent him to the pits. It was a big disappointment for Moffitt in front of his home town crowd. This time at the Iowa Speedway, Moffitt avenged that. Competing in the NASCAR development series for 2009 and driving for four-time NASCAR Grand National Series Champion-turned car owner, Andy Santerre, Moffitt turned up the wick.
This weekend's event started well before Sunday, when local Des Moines media venues caught up with the realization that they had a budding star living in the Des Moines metro area, and the astonishing thing is that Moffitt is only sixteen-years old, a sophomore at Johnston High, and he is competing against the nation's best NASCAR drivers. First, on Monday evening, Moffitt was a guest on the Power Hour radio show that is broadcast each Monday night on KIX 101, live from the Iowa Speedway. Then a series of mid-week interviews culminated with a front page story in Friday's Des Moines Register. An autograph session and live remote from one of Moffitt's sponsors, Karl Chevrolet, Ankeny, Iowa, on radio station KGGO, and a feature story during the Friday night news, broadcast by WHO TV Channel 13, also from Des Moines, followed.
Then, it was on to the track where Moffitt and team were fast right out of the box, posting the fastest lap times during the first practice session held on Saturday afternoon. Moffitt continued to be quick, posting the second fastest time during the Sunday morning practice session, just prior to qualifying. Qualifying against some of NASCARS best, Moffitt turned in a very respectable fifth quick time, giving him the inside row three starting position for the 200 lap event. Moffitt's qualifying speed was 133.375 mph.
With the drop of the green, Brett Moffitt was poised and ready to put on a show in front of his home town crowd and that is exactly what he did. Though Moffitt fell back to 12th in the first few laps, using his composure and the cool-headed demeanor that has become Moffitt's trade mark, the young rookie raced toward the front. By lap 27, Moffitt was up to seventh and still moving. After a lap 30 caution and restart on lap 33, Moffitt had moved into 6th. Moving through lap traffic with the skill of a veteran, Moffitt found himself in 4th place when the caution flag flew on lap 72. Great work in the pits by the Andy Santerre Motorsports team, allowed Moffitt to gain one more spot, restarting on lap 80 in 3rd place. Restarts were presenting a challenge for the rookie, lower tire pressures at the start of runs again caused Moffitt to relinquish four spots to the more experienced drivers. However, the young Moffitt is on a mission to prove he belongs in racing's big league. Racing hard, but yet racing smart, Moffitt again began a drive to the front, on several occasions racing three wide with front runners and lap traffic.
When the third caution flag of the day came out, Moffitt, who had moved up to fifth, pitted with the leaders. Another great pit stop gained him another position, moving him into fourth, but another stop for fuel before the restart would relegate the #44 Karl Chevrolet sponsored Impala SS back to ninth for the lap 123 restart. Cool tires with low air pressure again played apart on the restart, moving Moffitt back to twelfth, but again Moffitt peddled hard to recover. Up to seventh on lap 127 and sixth by lap 130, Moffitt was fifth as he crossed the line on lap 136. Moffitt had raced hard with David Mayhew for most of the race, and on lap 141 he made the pass on Mayhew to move into fourth. On the 146th circuit, Moffitt passed Jason Bowles to move into his race high third place. Mayhew followed Moffitt through, and on lap 163, using a lap car for a pick, got back by Moffitt, who now was running in fourth. It was evident all day that long runs were Moffitt's friend. The fourth and final caution of the day came on lap 177. In preparation for the lap 184 restart, crew chief Andy Santerre coached his young driver, and this time, Moffitt's restart was flawless. With only sixteen laps to go, Moffitt's car developed a tight condition. When asked by his spotter if the car was tight, Moffitt's reply was a simple one, "Extremely."
In the last six laps, Moffitt, who had a great offensive run going, was forced to hang on. The 12 car of Paulie Harraka and the 03 of Jeffery Earnhardt were able to sneak by, but at the end of the 200 laps, the most ever raced in one sitting by the rookie Moffitt, he found himself with a top ten performance, finishing in sixth place, one spot behind one of the biggest names in NASCAR racing history, an Earnhardt. After the race, Moffitt commented about the restarts, "I do need to work on (restarts), but we had the tire pressures set for longer runs. It took us five or six laps to get the pressures built up and then we were good to go. Late in the race the car was extremely tight and I was just looking for a line that the car was happy with," concluded Moffitt.
For his efforts, Brett Moffitt was awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award (East), and the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award (East). Local Des Moines TV station WHO aired a segment during the Sunday 10:00 pm news, including comments from Moffitt after the race, and Moffitt was the featured guest with Lou, Heather, and the Round Guy on KGGO radio's Monday morning show, just before returning to his regular daily routine, school. And the NASCAR Camping World East Series point standings now show that Moffitt has moved from twelfth to fourth in the overall series standings contending for the championship and is the leading contender for its "Rookie of the Year" honors.
Fans by the thousands stood in line during the Sunday pre-race autograph session and used the fan-friendly Iowa Speedway's "Fan Walk", all requesting autographs and exchanging encouraging banter with Iowa's next rising star, Brett Moffitt. By the time the weekend was over, a new nation was born in Iowa, the "Moffitt Nation."