Brett Moffitt left just enough for the end on Thursday night.
Moffitt emerged from a spirited three-car battle for the lead over a green-white-checkered restart, holding off the hard charges of Chase Elliott and Corey LaJoie to win the Blue Ox 100 at Richmond International Raceway. The victory was the eighth of Moffitt's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career and the first for the fledgling Hattori Racing Enterprises this season.
“I'm happy to get the first pole and the first win for HRE today,” Moffitt said in Victory Lane. “It was just a great weekend.”
Moffitt, who earlier in the day won the Coors Light Pole Award, cinched the win when Elliott brushed the outside wall off the race's final turn. LaJoie held on for third.
“I tried to make the outside work, and Brett used me up off of four,” Eliott said. “Heck, I don't blame him. Going for the win like that, you've got to.”
LaJoie had taken the lead briefly before a caution and ensuing red flag came out with 10 laps remaining. Because the series reverts back to the running order on the last completed lap, Moffitt was given back the point position and LaJoie was placed third for the restart.
Ryan Gifford, who had joined teammate Kyle Larson in dogging Moffitt over the final 30 laps of the event, spun in the outside lane while coming to the green flag to set up the final GWC run. LaJoie knew that his day was essentially over when the caution was shown once again.
“It was hard to get going, it took me about 10 laps to get going, but I really hated to see that last caution,” LaJoie said. “We were leading the show and (Moffitt) was burning the tires off. They caught that caution and put them back in the front, and they were a little bit better than I was on the short run.”
But LaJoie was seemingly less pleased to see the way Moffitt had raced for the victory.
“I'd hate to see what Brett's car is going to look like after everybody is done retaliating on him, because he doesn't drive anybody clean – and then he complains when everybody else drives him dirty,” LaJoie said. “Hopefully, it's clean the rest of the year, but knowing him it probably won't be.”
Moffitt, though, said it was all part of racing at Richmond at the front of the field.
“They were bringing it on strong, but that's short track racing,” Moffitt said. “The restarts were key. (The other cars were) really getting me good on the restarts, but we were able to hold them off. It was a good battle.”
Larson ended up fourth in his Rev Racing No. 6, while Brandon Gdovic rounded out the Top-5.