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RAIN SLICK: Brett Moffitt Grabs 1st Career NHMS Win, Inches Toward K&N Pro Series Title

Friday, September 23, 2011
Photo: Getty Images/NASCAR

LOUDON, N.H. – There was no raining on Brett Moffitt's parade at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In fact, the rain literally couldn't have come at a better time.

Moffitt led all but the first 15 laps of the New Hampshire 125 on Friday, dominating en route to his first career win at The Magic Mile and slicing a huge chunk out of his deficit in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings. Called after only 78 laps by rain, a lengthy cleanup on the backstretch and impending darkness, Moffitt celebrated the win in a muted Victory Lane ceremony in an empty garage stall in the speedway's infield.

But on the inside, down only 21 points to Max Gresham heading into the series finale at Dover International Speedway next weekend, Moffitt was jumping for joy.

"I've finished second so many times here, it was just great to be able to win one and get that off my back," said Moffitt, who won at Dover last season. "I thought for a while, it just wasn't meant to be for me with this place.

"It was great. The car was great, and a win really pushes us into Dover. We're really confident with our car we're taking to Dover. We're really full steam ahead and hoping for the best."

 

Revolution Racing teammates Sergio Pena and Darrell Wallace Jr., who set the track record in qualifying Thursday, finished second and third.

Gresham finished seventh, after having passed Corey LaJoie for sixth just before the caution came put. Scoring reverted to the last completed lap and cost Gresham five points in the standings.

"They have this rule that everyone's got to pass the start-finish line. If you pass on that lap, everyone has to pass the lap," Gresham said. "That's twice now that it's bit us. Before, I didn't really care because we weren't in the championship battle, but now that's five points we've just loss because (NASCAR) decided they're going to put us to the back (of LaJoie). It hurts us.

"There's nothing we can do about it. We've tried to get them to use the technology they have at this race track to better the racing. We have a better car than where we finished. It stinks we finished where we did."

Though it hadn't done more than sprinkle lightly early in the going, Moffitt appeared to be using a wet race track when he slid off of Turn 4 in front of Wallace to take the lead on Lap 16. He built a lead of nearly two full seconds before Pena was able to work by Wallace.

By then, though, it was too late for Pena to close ground. Scott Bouley brought out the race's second caution when he crashed hard to the inside wall on the backstretch on Lap 70.

The rain picked up as a track crew readied to replace some of the infield barrier after Bouley's wreck. NASCAR called the race official on Lap 78.

"Most people didn't even think it would make it to halfway," Moffitt said. "We were definitely racing the rain. We were racing to Lap 65. Once we got there, we were out front and I was just praying for rain."

Matt DiBenedetto finished fourth, while three-time New Hampshire winner Eddie MacDonald finished fifth.

– TB