It was repeated many times during the telecast that the best truck may not win Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Michigan International Speedway, and that is exactly what happened.
Brett Moffitt was hanging around the top five all race long, certainly not the fastest truck compared to Stewart Friesen, Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson or Johnny Sauter.
However, Moffitt has a flair for the dramatic and was able to beat Sauter to the line in a last-lap pass to secure his fourth win of the 2018 season.
Sauter finished second, John Hunter Nemechek came home third, Noah Gragson was fourth and Todd Gilliland finished fifth. Gilliland will now need to win in Bristol on Thursday if he wants to compete in the 2018 NCWTS playoffs.
Nemechek started the race on the pole but was quickly hunted down by KBM teammates Gilliland and Gragson. The first three broke away in the draft as the rest of the field battled.
Friesen won stage one after an exciting start where there were four different leaders in the first 20 laps. Friesen charged through the top five and disrupted the early battle between Nemechek, Gilliland and Gragson.
The first contact caution of the race came with 13 to go in stage two when Matt Mills lost control in Turn 2 and backed his No. 54 truck into the wall.
Later in stage two, following a caution for Justin Fontaine’s spin, it was a one-lap dash between Grant Enfinger and Myatt Snider. Snider dove to the inside in Turn 3, and it was a drag race to the finish of the stage, but Enfinger was able to use his momentum off of Turn 4 on the outside to beat his teammate to the line and win stage two.
With the first two stages being only 20 laps, strategy in between the first two stages shook up the order. The front-runners of stage one, Friesen, Gragson, Gilliland and Nemechek, were relegated to the middle of the pack after the first round of pit stops. Sauter was able to move his way into the battle for the lead thanks to his strategy of staying out.
During the final round of pit stops, Snider spun on the front stretch, which was a big stroke of luck for Friesen, who was on pit road when the caution came out. Friesen was able to take four tires and stay on the lead lap, but an illegal fuel maneuver by his pit crew meant that Friesen had to restart in the back of the field but was able to charge back up to eighth. Friesen had one of the fastest trucks in the race, but the late penalty ruined his chances to win.
On the restart, Gilliland worked hard to keep Moffitt and Sauter behind the No. 4 truck. However, an aggressive move by Sauter moved him from third to first in a matter of two corners.
Sauter was able to hold off a hard-charging Moffitt up until the final corner. Moffitt dove to the inside of Sauter off Turn 4 and was able to inch his way past Sauter in a drag race to the line for Moffitt’s fourth win of the 2018 NCWTS season.
The NCWTS regular season comes to a close next Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway.