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Brett Moffitt Pulls Out Surprise Victory at Chicagoland

NASCAR
Saturday, June 30, 2018

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Brett Moffitt takes the checkered flag at Chicagoland
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Brett Moffitt didn't hear the words that turned Friday night's Overton's 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his favor. 

"I'm blowing up!" John Hunter Nemechek shouted over his team radio as he entered Turn 1 with the lead on the final lap at Chicagoland Speedway.

Nemechek's misfortune proved an unexpected boon to Moffitt, who won the race by 5.092 seconds over Ben Rhodes, as Nemechek faded to seventh at the finish - not with a blown engine, as he had thought, but with an empty fuel cell.

Moffit's victory - his third of the season and the fourth of his career - was all the more unlikely because his Hattori Racing Enterprises didn't have the resources to come to the 1.5-mile track until Fr8Auctions.com made a midweek commitment to sponsor Moffitt's Toyota in Friday's race.

"We weren't even supposed to be here," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli.

Moffitt and Nemechek battled through the final 24-lap green-flag run, with Moffitt taking the lead by a nose on Lap 136 of 150. Nemechek regained the top spot on the following circuit, moved his line to the top of the track and began to pull away.

When he took the white flag to start the final lap, Nemechek was ahead by roughly five truck-lengths before his fuel tank ran dry and Moffitt sped past.

"This is great," Moffitt said after climbing from his No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra. "We didn't know if we were coming. To be here in Victory Lane, it's an honor and a blessing.

"These guys work hard. I feel like we threw away a couple of wins this season. I hate it for the No. 8 (Nemechek), whatever happened to him. But we'll take it however we can get it right now."

Moffitt was prepared to try a banzai run on the final lap, as Noah Gragson had tried unsuccessfully to do to Moffitt on June 16 at Iowa Speedway. As it turned out, Moffitt didn't have to.

"I got a good run off Turn 4 as we took the white," Moffitt said. "I committed to what Noah did to me at Iowa. And halfway up the hill (in Turn 1), something happened and they said ‘Just take it easy.' That's a great way to be able to just drive easy through 3 and 4 to win one.

"I can't thank everyone on this team enough and Fr8Auctions that even got us here this week. Tuesday, we didn't even know. They really extended a hand and helped us when we needed it the most."

John Hunter Nemechek led a race-high 64 laps before running of out gas a half-lap from the finish
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Nemechek, who is running a limited schedule in both the Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, bemoaned the ill fortune that kept him out of Victory Lane. 

"We just don't have luck on our side right now," Nemechek said. "Overall, it's a good showing. They knew we were here. We don't know at what point we'll be back with the trucks. It's frustrating and disappointing, but we'll move on from it.

"If we keep doing what we're doing and running like we are, we're going to win races. That's the biggest thing. The results haven't been what we wanted this year on the Xfinity side and the Truck side, but tonight was a real heartbreak."

Johnny Sauter ran third and retained his series lead by 65 points over Gragson, who started from the pole and finished fourth. Brandon Jones completed the top five in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Points Status
1 6 16 Brett Moffitt Fr8Auctions.com Toyota 150 17 55 Running
2 9 41 Ben Rhodes Alpha Energy Solutions Ford 150 0 40 Running
3 7 21 Johnny Sauter ISM Connect Chevrolet 150 0 44 Running
4 1 18 Noah Gragson Safelite AutoGlass Toyota 150 42 52 Running
5 16 51 Brandon Jones(i) American Standard Toyota 150 0 0 Running
6 10 24 Justin Haley Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet 150 0 37 Running
7 3 8 John Hunter Nemechek(i) Essentia Water Chevrolet 150 64 0 Running
8 13 98 Grant Enfinger Champion Power Equipment Ford 150 0 30 Running
9 14 2 Austin Hill Young's Building Systems Chevrolet 150 0 28 Running
10 11 13 Myatt Snider # Century Container Ford 149 0 27 Running
11 8 88 Matt Crafton Shasta/Menards Ford 149 0 31 Running
12 12 2 Cody Coughlin JEGS.com Chevrolet 149 0 28 Running
13 15 22 Austin Self GO TEXAN Chevrolet 149 0 24 Running
14 19 45 Justin Fontaine # ProMATIC Automation Chevrolet 149 0 23 Running
15 18 54 Bo LeMastus # Crosley Brands/DGR-Crosley Toyota 149 0 22 Running
16 4 4 Todd Gilliland # Mobil 1 Toyota 148 0 27 Running
17 26 3 Jordan Anderson Bommarito/Lucas Oil Chevrolet 148 0 20 Running
18 20 7 Korbin Forrister Now Matters More Toyota 148 2 19 Running
19 5 52 Stewart Friesen We Build America Chevrolet 148 0 33 Running
20 2 25 Dalton Sargeant # Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet 147 24 24 Running
21 22 33 Josh Reaume Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Chevrolet 147 0 16 Running
22 32 49 Wendell Chavous SobrietyNation.org Chevrolet 146 0 15 Running
23 21 20 Max Tullman YURPAL.com Chevrolet 146 0 14 Running
24 29 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Driven2Honor Chevrolet 138 1 13 Running
25 30 50 Brian Kaltreider Image Tech Chevrolet 98 0 12 Suspension
26 17 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 51 0 0 Accident
27 25 83 Bayley Currey Chevrolet 45 0 10 Fuel Pump
28 23 87 Joe Nemechek Fleetwing/D.A.B. Constructors Chevrolet 29 0 9 Fuel Pump
29 27 63 JJ Yeley(i) Combat Flags Chevrolet 22 0 0 Vibration
30 24 0 Camden Murphy Driven2Honor Chevrolet 11 0 7 Suspension
31 31 6 Norm Benning Zomongo/H&H Transport Chevrolet 2 0 6 Oil Pump
32 28 74 Mike Harmon(i) Troptions Chevrolet 0 0 0 Oil Cooler


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