Truck championship contender still hunting for money this season

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JOLIET, Ill. – Brett Moffitt continued the feel-good story of the 2018 Camping World Truck Series, winning Friday night’s Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The victory happened when leader John Hunter Nemechek lost power on the final lap, but Moffitt’s chances of taking the checkered flag for the third time this year were uncertain long before that.

With Hattori Racing still struggling to secure sponsorship, the team considered parking early in Friday’s race.

“We have discussed many, many scenarios,” crew chief Scott Zipadelli said. “That was probably the least favorable one.

“But at the end of the day there was probably a good chance that we would have to do something like that. It’s never good to be in a position to where you don’t know if you’re going to go race or you had the funding for this week or next week, but we did talk about that. … I hope we don’t have to have that conversation again.”

The team picked up a last-minute sponsorship deal with Fr8Auction to race at Chicagoland. Moffitt said the No. 16 Toyota still needs money to run Bristol Motor Speedway, Eldora Speedway and at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Per NASCAR rules, the team must attempt to qualify for every regular-season race to maintain its playoff berth (with three wins ranking second on the circuit, Moffitt is a virtual lock to contend for the championship.

Team owner Shige Hattori said the team was getting closer to being funded for the season finale.

“Every win definitely helps,” he said. “We’re working really hard to find more money. It’s tough. We’re a really good team. We want to keep going. Definitely, Moffitt is a really good driver and racer. That’s a big help for sponsorships.”

Moffitt is a 25-year-old from Grimes, Iowa, who has 71 starts across the Cup, Xfinity and truck series but is in the midst of what would be his first full-time shot at a title in NASCAR’s top three national series.

He said the key to Hattori Racing’s success is “badass people. That’s the truth. We didn’t start the race that good tonight. I gave the team one adjustment, and we were great. It goes all the way from the bottom up in our shop and we have quality people. Quality pit crew.

“And we’re all passionate and work really hard. That’s all that matters.”