Fast pit stop leads to victory for Moffitt

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #24 GMS Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 28, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — A fast pit stop on the last yellow flag stop of the race helped propel Brett Moffitt to his second win in three weeks in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway. 

Moffitt beat the rest of the field off pit road at the end of Stage 2 to take the lead. He led throughout the final stage and retained the lead after green flag pit stops to take his ninth-career victory and repeat his victory last year at Chicagoland. 

But Moffitt said the win was more than just the pit stop. 

“It was the whole team,” he said after the race. “It’s one thing to have speed. It’s one thing to be able to move top to bottom and have speed everywhere you go.”

“So pit stops, if you can make up ground, it’s always a big plus,” Moffitt said. “But I felt like we had a truck capable of passing trucks, especially on the long run. We didn’t really fall off much. I could get up to the fence and be able to have good speed. I’ll always take coming off pit road first, but I feel like a hell of a lot more than that went into winning this race.”

Moffitt led 72 laps on the way to the victory. 

Starting 19th, Brandon Jones was able to race to first at the end of the first stage to take the win. He would finish second in the next stage, battling with Grant Enfinger, before claiming a second-place finish at the end of the race. Jones said because Moffitt was able to pit earlier, it made it too difficult to catch him at the end of the race, despite having a faster truck. 

“They just pitted a little bit earlier than us and got back on the track quicker,” Jones said. “That entire run there at the end we were about a tenth better lap time the entire run. So kind of heartbreaking to listen to that coming over the radio all night long. But I told these guys that’s how the 51 should run every time it comes to the race track — be in contention for the win.”

Jones’ next start for KBM in the 51 truck will be at Kentucky in two weeks. He said he hasn’t started to prepare for that race yet, but he hopes for another strong performance. 

“I’ll have to go back and watch some races,” he said. “It’s kind of what I do to prep, I try to go back and see what the average lap was doing. If we can move around there, that will be great too. But you’ve got to stay out of the air in these trucks. I think I learned that tonight for sure, and being able to run here, you can run everywhere, so that helped us a bunch.”

Stewart Friesen, Harrison Burton and Austin Hill rounded out the top-five. 

Matt Crafton was running sixth during a caution late in the race when his truck stalled, forcing him to fall to the rear before it restarted. 

“We were overheating really, really bad,” he said. “I tried to cycle the motor to try to keep it cool, and there was something wrong with the idle. It was stuck at like 4500 to 5000 RPM and they’re thinking the throttle position thought it had too much throttle on to start it, so it wouldn’t… I had to mess with the throttle and finally got it fired back up at that point, but just too late.”

Crafton would make a dive-bomb move into the first turn on the restart, taking to the apron to try and make up some ground. 

“I had to make hay at that point,” he said. “They said we were four-wide and I figured I’d better get down there and see if I could clear them all before I got there.”

There were five cautions for 27 laps and 12 lead changes among seven drivers. Moffitt led the most laps, with Enginger leading the second-most before falling to 16th at the end due to damage sustained in an accident late in the race. 

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