Brett Moffitt slid down to the bottom groove, surged to the lead in overtime and won the Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Moffitt got a chance to claim just his second Camping World Truck Series win after pole-sitter Kyle Busch had a pit miscommunication under caution late.
The field pitted with six laps to go, and Busch, who led 67 laps, left his pit box before the lugs on his left rear tire were secure. Busch made it off pit road and the tire fell off. He reverse to get it fixed, but a win was no longer in the cards.
Moffitt powered away from defending series champion Johnny Sauter and Noah Gragson to win in the two-lap overtime shootout.
“I knew I needed to get a good jump and get to the inside,” Moffitt said. “Then I was just watching my mirror, holding it wide open for two laps straight there. Luckily they were getting smaller in the mirror.
“It’s unreal to be in Victory Lane this early with such a new group. I love this place — and I love it even more now.”
Gragson, who won Stage 1, finished second. Sauter jumped to the lead after a shuffle at the top to start Stage 2 and led 12 laps before Busch took control in the final stage. Only Sauter was in striking distance of Busch when Josh Reaume wrecked with six laps to go.
Under caution, teams were able to pit and that’s when the door opened for Moffitt.
“I had a good launch,” Sauter said. “I felt like I did it right grabbing gears. I’d love to be able to tell you I could do something different, I just don’t think I could have. Wide open is wide open.
“All in a all, a decent night for our Allegiant Sunseeker Chevy. I’m proud of the guys. It’s far and away the best run I’ve ever had here. I felt like we were in the right position and it just didn’t work out. That’s racing. But my pit crew was phenomenal.”
Ben Rhodes struggled with his engine all night, but slogged through the difficulties to finish fourth.
“There were times during the race where I would go a second and a half without power in the corner,” Rhodes said. “I mean, the motor was just completely out. I would go down to 5,000 rpm, which is absurd. Then going down the straightaways, I felt like I was on six or seven cylinders at times. For the whole race it plagued us and we could never figure out what it was. I’m really disappointed. We have a championship team and we’re making championship runs.”
Two-time truck champion Matt Crafton was fifth. Stewart Friesen, rookie Myatt Snider, Jesse Little, Grant Enfinger and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 10.
Snider was up front at the restart, but only got there by opting to get two tires instead of four.
“This is unbelievable to even be in a race car, much less in victory lane,” Moffitt said. “We had a really good truck all night and right here I knew (Snider) was a sitting duck. I just wanted to get a good restart and hopefully they got into a battle behind me, which they did. It’s pretty surreal.”
The 2018 Atlanta NASCAR Weekend wraps up tomorrow afternoon with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race beginning at 1 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or call the AMS ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX.