Brett Moffitt won the NASCAR Truck Series championship last season, and right now he’s in the catbird seat to do it again. Moffitt currently leads the Truck Series points standings by 22 points as the series moves to Martinsville with two races left before the championship.
Moffitt recently spoke with the Bulletin about his season, his new team, and offseason plans.
Bulletin: You have a pretty good lead in the points right now. Does that make you a little more comfortable heading into Martinsville next week?
Moffitt: Yea, certainly. My biggest concern of this round was Talladega where I’ve always kind of got bitten there, so getting through there and extending my points lead makes me feel pretty good. I’ve had a lot of success at Martinsville in the past. I think my last four starts have all be top-3s so hopefully we can continue that trend and lock ourselves into Homestead.
You have a K&N win at Martinsville in the past, and have never finished lower than sixth here in the Truck Series. What do you attribute your success at Martinsville to?
Moffitt: I think, honestly, a lot of people underestimate how tough Martinsville is as a short track. Bristol you can kind of go there and manhandle the car and get as much speed out of it as possible, where Martinsville is a really technical short track. The more experience you have there obviously the better, and the more you study the track and what some of the really good Martinsville drivers of the past do as a habit, the more you learn the better. So I think it’s just putting in the work ethic and being ready for it when it’s here.
Do you look back to your K&N Series win at Martinsville ahead of races, or focus more on your recent results?
Moffitt: Definitely the recent results. The K&N cars are so much different than the trucks are now. I tend to look at my truck starts and a couple Cup starts there as experience and the way the tire falls off on a run and how hard you can abuse the tire early and not have it cost you later in a run, so that tends to be what I look at. And I look at a lot of film of people who do good there in the past and see what their habits and tendencies are and why they’re successful there.
You won the Truck Series championship last year. How does this season compare? Does it feel more or less difficult chasing another title?
Moffitt: I think earlier in the season it was definitely a struggle, there’s no doubt about it. And that was just coming to a new team and working with a new crew chief and crew guys that I’ve never worked with in the past. Last year working with (crew chief Scott) Zipadelli, it was a new team for me but we had worked together in the past... so it just kind of helped that relationship grow faster where this one took a little bit longer. But for us to overcome that I feel like is a huge accomplishment and that’s what makes me proud of this group. Probably around the midsummer, around Chicagoland, is when I really felt like we turned a page as a group and really became a title threat.
How do you feel about your new team, GMS Racing?
Moffitt: I love it. It’s been a great place to work as a driver. The Gallagher family gives us all the tools and opportunities we need to be successful, and that’s what makes it so fun to work there is everyone is all-in and they really just take care of all their employees and treat us well and give us what we need to do to get the job done, so it makes it really fun as a team.
I noticed on your Twitter you posted a picture last week of you at a Professional Bull Riding event. Have you always been into that sport?
Moffitt: Yea, off and on. I grew up in Iowa and then one of my best friends is actually a horse trainer so I’ve always been in that world a little bit. It’s just cool. I really like to see other athletes in person doing their sport. And they’re at the top of that sport. It’s just fun to watch and see what they go through and see their dedication and try to learn from it.
Have you ever tried bull riding? Or would you ever try it?
Moffitt: I would in the right situation. But I never have, no. But if it was the offseason and I didn’t have to worry about an injury I might try it.
I know racing is definitely an adrenaline rush, but do you feel like you’re an adrenaline junkie for things like bull riding or something like that?
Moffitt: To an extent yea. I grew up riding dirt bikes and still do from time to time when it’s safe to and not get hurt. But as you compete and move up in NASCAR you’ve got to really be careful about not injuring yourself doing something else that’s going to take away from your main job. So those things kind of get sidelined until the offseason, but then when I have a little time I like to have fun, go skiing and ride dirt bikes and four-wheelers and everything.
You’ve been all over NASCAR’s three top series. Do you know what the future holds for you in the sport?
Moffitt: I don’t know. If you asked me when I was 16 or 17 I had a plan, but obviously things didn’t go to plan. I just kind of make the most of every opportunity that I get now. Fortunately I’ve been able to do that last year and this year and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to do that as well.
In the near future, what’s the key for you at Martinsville and the rest of the season to get another title?
Moffitt: The key at Martinsville, obviously we want to win the race but at the same time we want to get those stage points and grow that points cushion that we have above the cutoff line, so we’ve got to be smart about how we go about that. Ultimately, at the end of the day, if we can win the race that’d be great, otherwise we just need to keep ourselves ahead of everybody in points and make our way to Homestead then go after it there.
Cara Cooper is the sports editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. You can reach her at (276)638-8801 ext. 241.