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One year ago, Brett Moffitt hosted the Gander Outdoors Truck Series trophy after winning the race and the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Moffitt returned to the scene on Friday night (Nov. 15), but failed to recapture the glory. He finished the fifth this time around, placing him third among the Championship 4.
“Not good,” Moffitt said when describing his night.
Moffitt ran inside the top five for the majority of the race Friday night, but didn’t have anything for champion Matt Crafton, who finished second. Meanwhile, non-Championship 4 driver Austin Hill won the race driving the Hattori Racing Enterprises entry that Moffitt won the championship in 2018. Moffitt’s No. 24 GMS Racing entry has failed to perform at Homestead for the second year in a row, falling short in 2018 after a dominant season from Johnny Sauter.
The 2018 champion credited his former crew chief, Scott Zipadelli, for the No. 16’s performance two years in a row.
“We missed it on overall grip, we had okay long speed,” Moffitt said. “We couldn’t fire off and run pace. We couldn’t run the bottom. Scott [Zipadelli] and those guys have a really good setup for here, and it can run the bottom long and fast. It’s proven to be the truck to beat here the last two years. We just need to get to work. We need to get better here.”
The race featured a round of green flag pit stops for the final stop of the day. Moffitt’s team pitted a lap earlier than Crafton, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the No. 88. But pitting even more laps before Crafton would not have made enough of a difference to matter.
“We struggled to take off too much, and the gap the [No.] 88 opened up, you had to overcome that,” Moffitt said about short pitting. “And if you did [short pit], he [Crafton] was gonna drive right back by you because you had to pit so early in the run.
“Ultimately, we were good on the long run. At that point in the run, I was starting to actually close that gap back up some. But no, with the tire falloff here, there’s no way we could have short pitted enough to make it back up. Our only hope after the pit stops was for a caution, and obviously, that didn’t come.”
Despite not winning back-to-back titles, Moffitt finishes the season with four wins, 13 top fives, a career-best 17 top 10s and a career-best average finish of 8.8. Moffitt will be back with GMS in 2020 to once again try to get that second Truck Series title.