Daniel McFadin

Brett Moffitt seeks to join pantheon of NASCAR ‘stache champions

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first question to Brett Moffitt wasn’t about his four wins or the sponsorship woes that nearly cost him his playoff eligibility.

No, it was the thin strip of hair above the 26-year-old’s lip that was the elephant in the room.

Make that the caterpillar in the room.

After almost a month of growth you can’t miss it, especially in a series made up mostly of follicle challenged drivers under the age of 25. At the Camping World Truck Series Playoff Media Day, only the working man’s beard of 42-year-old Matt Crafton rivaled it.

Moffitt’s ‘stache is arguably the most talked about in NASCAR – at least on this day – since Dale Earnhardt Sr. shaved his to go snorkeling in 1999 or Jeff Gordon attempted to regrow his infamous rookie year ‘stache in 2012.

Those happen to be the ‘staches that stand out to Moffitt in NASCAR history, which is filled by the glorious whiskers of Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Tim Richmond, Richard Petty and Mike Skinner.

Noah Gragson, one of Moffitt’s seven playoff foes, is not impressed with Moffitt’s ‘stache.

The eight Truck Series playoff drivers and Brett Moffitt’s mustache. (Getty Images).

“I think I can grow a much better mustache than him,” Gragson said straight-faced. “If you gave me a day-and-a-half, I could grow a broom on my upper lip. It’s not too good. His isn’t that great. His looks like a 12-year-old’s mustache.”

Has the 20-year-old driver grown his own?

“I haven’t yet,” Gragson admitted. “I just know I could grow a good one like that.”

Smooth-faced at 35, Stewart Friesen is actually “a little jealous” of Moffitt, since his facial hair follicles don’t have it in them to “make a good playoff beard.”

“When we won (Super) Dirt Week in 2010, 2011, everybody on the crew grew a mustache,” Friesen said. “But now he’s got it, he’s flying the flag.”

Moffitt will look to fly the flag that was last carried by Jack Sprague.

Moffitt, in his first year with Hattori Racing Enterprises, isn’t very familiar with Sprague, who was Ron Hornaday Jr.’s primary rival in the Truck Series in the 90s.

He won three titles in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Moffitt was only 9 when Sprague and his ‘stache won their final title together, marking the last time a national NASCAR driver won a championship with nothing but a ‘stache on his face.

“That’d be pretty awesome then,” Moffitt said of possibly giving his team the first ‘stache title in 17 years. “Bringing it back to the early 2000s.”

The chance to become the first millennial ‘stache champion in NASCAR started as a joke.

Last month Moffitt challenged his team before the seven-race playoff started.

“I can’t grow a beard, so I couldn’t do a playoff beard,” Moffitt said. “But I could do a … mustache. I joked with them, ‘Whose going to be in on it?’ Most of them agreed.”

He started growing the mustache – his first serious attempt at facial hair – the week of his Aug. 3 K&N Pro Series East win at Watkins Glen. Since then he won his fourth Truck race at Michigan and placed 18th at Bristol.

Moffitt doesn’t even touch it as part of his daily hygienic routine.

“This is just natural,” Moffitt said. “Just let it go, baby.”

In the last week, the 2015 Cup Series Rookie of the Year started to get cold feet.

Monday evening, he posted a Twitter poll: Keep the ‘stache or “give in to the haters”?

Thanks to 77 percent of 1,273 votes, Moffitt will ride with his new facial companion all the way through the playoffs, which begins this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Matt Crafton’s beard prepares to do battle with Brett Moffitt’s mustache. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

“I said the only way I’m going to shave it off is if I meet a really hot chick that says, ‘No, unless you get rid of the mustache,'” Moffitt declared.

What if a sponsor – one Moffitt is looking to back his low-funded No. 16 Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 13) and Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 2) – doesn’t care for it?

“That’s not in my contract,” Moffitt said. “So I can have all the facial hair I want.”

Since it’s here to stay, Moffitt will try to make history.

Told Moffitt could have the first title ‘stache since Sprague, Crafton gave a hearty laugh.

He then said he’d do his best to “keep that from happening.”

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Daytona road course trophy: Handle with care

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A word of warning for the Cup Series driver who wins Sunday’s inaugural race on the Daytona road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

When you’re celebrating the victory, don’t get too excited with the trophy.

It could wind up all over Victory Lane.

That’s because the trophy waiting at the end of the 65-lap/234.65-mile-race is made out of glass.

More: Will chaos (and rain) reign on the Daytona road course?

Via: NASCAR

The 18” tall/4.5” wide trophy for the Daytona road course race was produced by the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. It’s the same institution that’s been responsible for designing the Watkins Glen International trophy since 2012.

Sunday’s race is being held in the place of the Cup Series’ annual visit to Watkins Glen.

Incorporating a blown glass cup, the trophy is inspired by the history of NASCAR and racing at Daytona.

“Thinking about the history of the track and long-held traditions, I was reminded that historically, trophies used to be cups and have evolved into sculptural forms,” said Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs at The Corning Museum of Glass, said in a media release. “We took this trophy back to a more traditional shape. Daytona is the most historical track, and in thinking about a trophy design for a race held in this storied location, I was transported back to the golden age of speed. I wanted to design something that felt like a bit of a throwback – like it belonged in the era of streamline racers and the quest to go faster.”

NASCAR Pinty’s Series 2020 TV schedule released

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The NASCAR Pinty’s Series, which competes in Canada, will get its season under way this weekend after it was postponed back in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shortened season will consist of three doubleheaders with twin 125-mile races.

The races will be held at Sunset Speedway (Aug. 15), Flamboro Speedway (Aug. 29) and Jukasa Speedway (Sept. 12).

More: Xfinity Series start time for Daytona road course

No NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion or Rookie of the Year will be crowned in 2020 due to the shortened schedule. There will be special recognition for the overall winner of the shortened season.

All races will air delayed on TSN and RDS in Canada and MAVTV in the United States. Fans in the United States can stream races after they air on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

Here is the full schedule with TV information.

 

Saturday’s Xfinity race at Daytona road course: Start time, forecast and more

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Saturday’s Xfinity race at Daytona will mark the first time the series has competed in the track’s road course circuit.

Austin Cindric, who has won four of the last five races, is on the pole. He is joined on the front row by fellow Ford driver Chase Briscoe.

Here are the details for the Xfinity race at the Daytona road course (all times ET):

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:07 p.m by Dr. Jeff Jarvis, president of UNOH. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 8:30 a.m. Drivers report to their cars at 2:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 3 p.m. by Chaplain Farzad Nourian. The national anthem will be performed at 3:01 p.m. by Temecula Road.

DISTANCE: The race is 52 laps (187.72 miles) around the 3.61-mile road course

PACE LAP: At the direction of race control, the entire field will go down pit road during a pace lap for pit road speed verification. If a driver stops in the pit box for any reason, pulls over or slows down, they will start at the rear of the field.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 15. Stage 2 ends on Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Its coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green followed by the race broadcast at 3 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast will begin at 2:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for cloudy skies, a high of 88 degrees and a 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Austin Cindric beat AJ Allmendinger and Chase Briscoe to win at Road America.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Xfinity starting lineup

Justin Marks planning to start new Cup team

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Former NASCAR driver Justin Marks is in the process of starting a new Cup Series team and competing as early as 2021, Marks detailed to the Sports Business Journal.

Marks, who has 80 NASCAR starts and last competed in 2018, is building a team called Trackhouse that would have a “cause-marketing focus around promoting STEM education” according to SBJ.

More: Bubba Wallace lands multi-year deal with DoorDash

Marks, who once was a co-owner of an ARCA Menards West team with the late Harry Scott, said a goal of the team is to “serve America’s minorities and underrepresented youth population”

Marks told SBJ he is in negotiations to acquire a charter for the team, that his family foundation will use investment capital to fund 50% of the team’s budget and that a “nationwide family entertainment business” will be a sponsor.

One of Marks’ partners will be Ty Norris, a former executive at Michael Waltrip Racing.

Click here for more from Sports Business Journal.