BRISTOL, Tenn. – The UNOH 200 NASCAR Truck Series race came down to a three lap dash for the cash.
With a textbook restart, defending series champion Brett Moffitt collected his 10th career win in style late Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It’s so easy to mess up on a restart, but you’ve got to go when it comes down to a shootout like that. Fortunately, it worked out for us,” Moffitt said.
It was the first career victory for Moffitt at BMS.
“This is huge,” Moffitt said. “Every driver wants to win at Bristol.”
Chandler Smith, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and regular season champion Grant Enfinger rounded out the top five in the playoff opener.
“We’re playing with house money now,” said Moffitt, regarding his playoff status.
Chastain drew the ire of several crew chiefs after the race for his aggressive style.
“Every time, I had position on the guys,” Chastain said. “It’s one lane around the bottom, that’s the old Bristol. This is what built this place. I hate the crew chiefs had to come down here and want to pump their chest out, but they’re old washed-up race car drivers. Let the drivers handle it.’
Moffitt, who entered the race as the No. 1 seed, earned the pole with a lap of 15.027 seconds at 127.690 mph while Chastain earned the No. 2 spot with a lap of 15.102.
Chastain led the first 45 laps en route to winning the race’s first stage.
The second stage ended in drama as Moffitt worked the outside groove to move around Chastain on the final lap. It was a sign of things to come.
With 50 laps remaining, playoff contenders Friesen and Matt Crafton were involved in a bumping incident which resulted in a caution period and hard feelings between the two.
When the race resumed on lap 155, Enfinger grabbed the lead but it didn’t last long
The ninth caution came on lap 167 when the truck driven by Jennifer Jo Cobb after a tap from Ben Rhodes. Following another caution involving former series champion Johnny Sauter, the race resumed with 21 laps left and Moffitt in the front.
Just three laps later, action was halted by another multi-truck incident. A bizarre scene unfolded in the aftermath when the truck driven by Natalie Decker spun out while being pushed by a wrecker.
After NASCAR officials halted action with a red flag condition to remove oil from the track, the race went caution free for five laps until another caution involving Rhodes and Thursday’s K&N race winner Sam Mayer.
With fans on their feet, Moffitt sealed his win.
“This is pretty damn cool,” Moffitt said.
Parker Kligerman earned the No. 12 starting position in the No. 75 Food Country Chevrolet for the Abingdon-based Henderson Motorsports team. Kligerman, who was running 10th on lap 136, finished 13th.