2018 NASCAR Truck Series Champion Brett Moffitt Released From Team
The financially struggling Hattori Racing lets a champion go in favor of a driver with sponsorship backing.
Brett Moffitt is less than three weeks removed from winning the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, but he has lost his job as driver of the No. 16 Hattori Racing Toyota, according to an Autoweek report.
"We always wanted to stay together," Moffitt told Autoweek. "The crew guys and I certainly wanted to stay together. I found out on Monday, and I was at the shop on Tuesday to get my stuff. I met with Shige [Hattori, team owner], and he told me the direction.”
The No. 16 team struggled financially in 2018, at times not knowing from one week to the next whether or not it would get to the next race on the schedule. According to Moffitt, he was released in favor of a driver who is bringing financial backing to the race team. That driver has yet to be revealed.
"It was frustrating at times," Moffitt said. "It's a little heartbreaking to perform like we did and have the kind of year we had and not be able to go back and do it again. Everyone worked so hard this year, and I just felt like we could have had an even better year if we could have remained together."
Moffitt won six races during the 23-race regular season, including the last two contests of the season at ISM Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. He also had 13 top-five finishes in 2018.
The 2018 season was Hattori Racing’s second full-time season in the Truck Series and Moffitt’s only year with the team. He replaced Ryan Truex, who moved to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Moffitt’s wins this season remain as the only Truck Series victories for the team to date. Truex posted eight top-five finishes in his tenure with the team.
Moffitt doesn’t know, yet, what his racing future holds.
"The cost to do this is just out of control right now,” Moffitt said. "It's kind of sad that a driver that just won a championship is in this position, but the goal is to get back to this position. We're going to celebrate our championship this weekend. I look forward to celebrating with my guys, and I'm going to work hard to make sure I can do this again.”
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