Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200 marked the end of an era for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as the final race under the Camping World banner; starting in 2019, Camping World affiliate Gander Outdoors will assume title sponsorship of NASCAR’s third series. As such, when the checkered flag fell and Brett Moffitt scored his first series championship, he also became the final Camping World Truck Champion to cap off a tumultuous yet successful season for him and Hattori Racing Enterprises.
The 2018 Truck Series title came down to Moffitt, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, and Johnny Sauter. For Friday’s race, Grant Enfinger scored the pole as the Championship drivers qualified alongside each other: Gragson qualified third, Haley fourth, Moffitt fifth, and Sauter sixth.
As Enfinger led the field, Haley was the highest-running Championship opening stage before falling back. Sauter struggled with a loose truck as Gragson and Moffitt eventually moved up behind Enfinger, who scored the stage win. At the green-checkered flag, Gragson and Moffitt were second and third, respectively, while Haley finished sixth and Sauter outside the top ten in thirteenth.
In Stage #2, the two primary contenders proved to be Gragson and Moffitt as the two battled for both the highest Championship position and the race lead. By the end of the second stage, Moffitt was the stage winner ahead of Gragson (second), Haley (eighth), and Sauter (tenth).
The final stage of the 2018 season commenced on lap 68 as Gragson led the way before Moffitt quickly caught up. With the race approaching the triple-digit-lap mark, Enfinger re-entered the race win conversation. Meanwhile, Sauter continued to plummet as he could not crack and remain in the top ten.
On lap 102, Gragson pitted as he felt he had a flat tire, which gave Moffitt the lead before he pitted a lap later. After a strong stop, Moffitt was able to stay ahead of Gragson as Sauter and Haley went to pit road shortly after. After Brennan Poole pitted, Moffitt passed race leader Jordan Anderson to officially reclaim the top spot.
With Enfinger sandwiched between them, Moffitt maintained a safe lead over Gragson, while Haley ran in the top ten and Sauter still unable to catch up. In the end, Moffitt stormed off to his sixth win of 2018.
Gragson finished third to place runner-up in the championship. Haley concluded his night in eighth for third in the points, and Sauter closed out his season on a disappointing note in twelfth.
For Moffitt, the victory comes as a punctuation mark on a season marked by concerns and victories. Despite his strong season, Hattori was plagued by funding and sponsorship woes that led to fears of potentially missing races, yet the team arrived for each race and was competitive. At Homestead, the team fielded a spec engine. Furthermore, Moffitt’s future remains uncertain as he has no plans outlined for 2019.
But for now, it is a time of celebration for the new champion.
“@Brett_Moffitt is a wheelman,” NASCAR veteran Mark Martin tweeted. “He had done everything you could ask of him to earn a ride in @nascar incredible team effort to win the Championship”.