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Brett Moffit standing tall after his Bristol win (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Brett Moffitt Holds Off Chandler Smith to Claim Bristol Truck Victory

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2018 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt has opened the 2019 NGOTS playoffs with a statement.

In quest of his title defense, Moffitt led a combined 65 laps in the victory of the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 27-year-old fought off a hard charge from rookie Chandler Smith in the final laps after a restart with three circuits to go to claim his 10h career victory.

Moffitt, who started from the pole, was locked in a fierce battle with Ross Chastain throughout stage oe. Chastain, who led 78 laps, edged out Moffitt to claim the stage victory.

A role reversal in stage two saw a dramatic ending to the stage between Moffitt, Chastain, and Smith. Moffitt was able to use lap traffic to his advantage and edge out Chastain by a truck length.

In typical Bristol fashion, sheet metal, sparks and tempers were flying throughout the event. 12 cautions and a nearly seven-minute red flag delay for crash cleanup made it difficult for several of the frontrunners. After being penalized for a pit road safety violation during stage two pit stops, Chastain struggled to find his way back to the front.

Playing a contrarian strategy, Grant Enfinger and Sheldon Creed elected to stay out at the end of stage two, while the leaders pitted for fresh tires and fuel. With the influx of cautions, Enfinger managed to stay in the lead for 57 circuits but was eventually passed by Moffitt on lap 173.

In the midst of the drama upfront, a bizarre situation took place under caution in the waning laps when Natalie Decker was spun around by a tow truck after being collected in a wreck involving Young’s Motorsports teammates Gus Dean and Tyler Dippel.

The final caution flew on lap 194 when Sam Mayer, who was in the midst of a respectable first career start, made contact with the wall after contact with Ben Rhodes. On the ensuing restart with three laps to go, Moffitt and Smith engaged in a brief side-by-side battle before Moffitt pulled away on the bell lap.

Smith hung on to claim the runner-up spot while Chastain battled back to third. Stewart Friesen and Enfinger rounded out the top five.

After the race had concluded and the competitors had exited their vehicles, Chastain could be seen visibly upset at Raphael Lessard, which ultimately lead to a tense encounter between crew members of the two opponents.

Along with Moffitt, Chastain, Friesen and Enfinger, fellow playoff drivers Matt Crafton and Austin Hill nabbed top-10 finishes, while Johnny Sauter and Tyler Ankrum were not so lucky. Sauter fought back to finish 11th after being involved in multiple incidences, while Ankrum was relegated to the 20th position after an apparent engine issue left the 18-year-old stalled on pit road.

The middle contest of the first round of the NGOTS playoff is scheduled for Aug. 25 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

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About Zach Gillispie

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A lifelong race fan, Zach Gillispie joined Frontstretch fresh out of high school in the summer of 2018 as a news writer. In addition, Zach coordinates Frontstretch's industry-wide weekly power rankings column. Originally from Charlotte, NC, he resides in western PA with his family. He currently attends Grove City College and is a die-hard fan of the Atlanta Braves. Follow Zach on Twitter @gillispie_zach

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