Hometown hero Brett Moffitt was able to collect win number two of the 2018 season after a last lap thriller Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.
“We had to fight all day,” Moffitt said after the race. “Qualified where we didn’t want to and first stop, we had a lug nut get caught between the wheel and the hub. And so we went all the way back there. The guys worked hard. They executed at the end and to have this Destiny Homes Toyota in victory lane is unreal. You know, it was certainly faster at the end and I was just fortunate enough to hold them off.”
Harrison Burton and Matt Crafton set the front row early on in the day after qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series M&M’s 200. Sixty laps in Stages 1 and 2 and 80 laps in the final stage made up the 200 lap running of the event.
Burton started off Stage 1 strong leading most of the way. The very first caution slowed the race on Lap 24, where Todd Gilliland scrapped the wall in Turn 2. After the restart on Lap 30, another caution came out when Grant Enfinger, Christian Eckes, Austin Hill and Ben Rhodes were involved in a melee on the backstretch slowing the pace once more.
As the stage was winding down, there was a five-way battle for the lead which included Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Stewart Friesen, Burton, and Johnny Sauter. However, Nemechek was able to take the lead and held on to win the first stage.
Stage 2 began on Lap 68 and went to Lap 120. Kansas race winner, Noah Gragson, took the lead on the restart and held on for a short while as there was once again multiple battles for the lead. The fourth caution came out just past the halfway mark for Gilliland, who once again bounced off the wall ultimately ending his day.
“A mistake by me,” Gilliland said. “We were really free and just got into (Turn) 1 a little too deep and I was running up, and got a little too free and wrecked. We blew a right front. Something was messed up. I don’t know, I’m not sure if I just hit something, caught a part or what, but just hate it. That was my fault, should have been running top five right now and I guess there’s nothing else you can do, except learn from it.”
This was the only incident in Stage 2 and Friesen ran away with the stage win.
The final stage went back to green with 71 laps to go and Atlanta race winner, Brett Moffitt took the lead. One caution slowed the final stage, as Matt Crafton’s left front tire went down and was unable to turn going into the Turn 1, taking out several others. Crafton and Nemechek’s night was done as they suffered the most damage from the wreck.
A restart came with 56 laps to go and Moffitt was able to take off like a rocket ship leading almost of the stage. With less than 30 to go, Gragson was starting to reel in the race leader.
As the race came to an end with less than five laps to go, a three-way battle for the win heated up with Moffitt, Gragson, and Burton. On the last lap, Gragson tried making a dive bomb move on Moffitt and took the lead for a split second but ended up bouncing off the wall coming to the line, allowing Moffitt to collect his second win of the season in a last-lap thriller.
There were six cautions for 44 laps and eight leaders among eight lead changes. Moffitt led once for 76 laps for the third win of his career.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series continues their mid-west swing by visiting Gateway Motorsports Park next Saturday night.
Iowa NCWTS Unofficial Race Results 6-16-18