Moffitt Making Next Step
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on June 14, 2014 | 10:20 A.M. EST
Moffitt, who will start 34th on Sunday, was 10th on the speed chart in Saturday's opening practice before he spun on the track. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Brett Moffitt is making the next step in his career with a multi-year driving contract with Michael Waltrip Racing.
After he finished 22nd in his Cup debut at Dover International Speedway with MWR's partnership with Jay Robinson Racing, Moffitt will start 34th in Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in a full MWR effort.
"We’ve decided to go ahead and put him under contract with a multi-year driver contract to try to advance his career and try to see if we can give him some opportunities to showcase his talent," said Ty Norris, MWR executive vice president of business development and general manager. "You’ve seen a lot of young drivers come through - he’s as good as any of them. He raced against Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson and some of those guys in the K&N East Series. We feel that given the right opportunity just like those guys have received great opportunities, he could show to be very fast and a very competitive race car driver at the Sprint Cup level.”
Moffitt, who has done a lot of testing for the team, is looking forward to opportunity to drive the No. 66 Toyota more in the future.
“It’s a really big step in my career and I’m really excited to get this going," Moffitt said. "It’s a weight lifted off my back and off my shoulders as far as every year I don’t really know what I’m doing so it’s nice to have something done and complete that’s for the next several years and it’s just a lot of stress gone. It’s nice to know I have something.”
With Jeff Burton running the '66' for MWR at New Hampshire its yet to be determined exactly what Moffitt's schedule will be.
“What we decided to do is put him in a contract without trying to nail down a schedule at first," Norris said. "After this event we will probably try to run him at least three or four more times this year out of the MWR camp. I don’t know how many times he’ll run the '66' any other time. He might run another four or five races this year at least, but it will have to be the right place at the right time with the right resources supporting it."
Burton, who finished 17th in his only start this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will help coach Moffitt as he makes more Cup starts. Moffitt has also leaned on MWR teammates Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers for guidance.
“I’ve worked with Brian quite a bit more than I have with Clint," Moffitt said. "Clint’s really helpful - he’s always giving good input to me, but then Brian breaks everything down so complex that sometimes it’s almost too much information, but as a rookie it’s great to learn all of it and hear about everything. He’ll come up with things that I haven’t even thought to ask him so that’s what’s really nice about Brian is how he breaks everything down. It prepares me for things I haven’t even thought about. He’s been really good to bounce ideas off of and sometimes I’ll just go sit in their haulers and listen to them talk and try to relate to some of it between Brian and Bill (Scott, crew chief). He’s been really helpful.”
In Saturday's first practice session Moffitt was 10th on the speed chart with a lap of 200.128 mph before he spun on the track on his seventh lap. Before Moffitt went back on track, Vickers came over to talk to him in the garage. Moffitt ended the second practice session 15th after running a total of 19 laps.
Moffitt recorded nine NASCAR K&N East Pro Series wins with MWR before his handful of combined starts in NASCAR's top three divisions.
“Considering I have one Nationwide race and two Truck races under my belt - going straight from the East Series to Cup is a big step," Moffitt said. "I feel like if you’re with a really good team and a team that believes in you like Michael Waltrip Racing does with me then I think you can make that transition. Obviously I would rather have run a year or two of Nationwide to get the experience at all these tracks because the biggest thing is that I’ve never been to this track before. I’m used to the car through the testing program so I know what to expect there.”
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 starting at 12 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.