21-year-old race car driver given second start in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Brett Moffitt, 21-year-old race car driver from Grimes, got a double dose of good luck last week.
He not only was given his second career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he also signed a multi-year contract to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing, owned by the former Daytona 500 winner.
Moffitt, who had driven fulltime in the NASCAR K&N Series until this year, made his first Sprint Cup Series start two weeks ago at Dover, Del. This season Moffitt found himself without a ride and had spent the year as a test driver for MWR.
His effort at Dover was uneventful. Veteran observers kept an eye on the young driver on the track and they were more than satisfied as he ran competitive laps while keeping his car out of trouble over the tricky Dover track, known as “The Monster Mile.” Waltrip announced that Moffitt would again be behind the wheel of his No. 66 Toyota in Sunday’s 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway, one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. MIS is a two-mile oval where speeds reach 200 miles per hour.
Moffitt qualified the car 34th and finished in the same position after he spun midway through the race. He was running side-by-side with another competitor through the turn and that “sucked the air” off his spoiler, taking away much of the down force on the car’s rear, causing him to spin. However, Moffitt kept the car from hitting either the outside or inside retaining walls and was able to continue the race. He finished two laps behind the winner, Jimmie Johnson.
Waltrip said that the “No. 66 team was originally scheduled to run some new components at Michigan with Jeff (Burton), but those plans were delayed, causing us to debate running Michigan at all. However, after the great effort we saw with Brett in his debut at Dover, we decided to move forward with Michigan, allowing Brett more seat time and to work towards his NASCAR eligibility to race on bigger tracks.
“Brett did an amazing job in Dover, not only to gain experience, but more importantly respect from other competitors. The best part is now taking Jeff Burton to New Hampshire where he has a lot of success and can really impact the performance of all MWR cars.”
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers include Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers. The No. 66 team is co-owned by Waltrip Racing and Jay Robinson.
Burton, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to racing at New Hampshire, where he has recorded four career wins, more than any other active Sprint Cup Series driver.
Moffitt said he has been “working toward this” for a long time.
“It seems like this is all happening very fast, but I feel like this is the opportunity we’ve worked toward for a long time,” Moffitt said in a statement on his personal web page. “At Dover, we set some goals and I feel like we accomplished all of them and exceeded most of them. Heading to Michigan our goals will be much of the same. I want to get comfortable and I want the greatest drivers in the world to be comfortable around me.”
With Moffitt signing the multi-year contract with MWR last week, more Sprint Cup opportunities seem virtually assured as this season continues.