Brett Moffitt: ‘I’ll be ready’ when Truck Series resumes

Brett Moffitt
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It’s not strange to start a phone call, whether it’s with a friend or an interview subject, with the simple question of “How are you?”

But that question has a deeper meaning for Truck Series driver Brett Moffitt, who gives a hearty laugh when this is mentioned.

A month-and-a-half after breaking the femur in both his legs in a motorcross bike accident, how is Brett Moffitt doing?

“Honestly, pretty good,” Moffitt told NBC Sports on Wednesday. “I went to physical therapy this morning. They kind of kick your ass in that.”

When GMS Racing announced Moffitt’s injury on March 16, it came with an estimate that his rehabilitation would take six to eight weeks. It’s now been six weeks.

Moffitt said there’s “no clear answer” for when he’ll be cleared to compete in a truck again, but “I think 100% I’ll be ready before we get back to racing.”

Moffitt believes he’ll have another set of X-rays taken next week.

“They did X-rays three weeks ago now, two weeks out of surgery and there was already pretty good bone growth coming back,” Moffitt said. “It’s up to the doctors. They’ll do the X-rays next week and probably make a decision based off of that. … Hopefully I can keep progressing. Obviously, I feel like I’m ready.”

The 2018 Truck champion is already getting back behind the wheel, taking part in 45-minute sessions once or twice a week in a racing kart at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. He does it under the eye of trainer Josh Wise.

“If you can handle one of those (racing karts), you can definitely handle a truck,” Moffitt said. “The go-karts beat you up in a hurry. They’re extremely difficult to drive … and wear you out. … I was pretty pleased with the outcome. I tried to avoid the curves as much as I could. Did not really have the hard impacts, but I did get into them a few times on accident. … Those things hurt whether you have injuries or not.”

In addition to that, Moffitt has installed a new iRacing rig at his recently purchased home. Wise conducts private racing sessions with Moffitt and other Chevrolet drivers, like Ross Chastain and Sheldon Creed.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Moffitt said. “Sometimes it’ll be sports cars on road courses, sometimes it’ll be dirt cars. … It’s a good way to practice and try to get better. Probably been making my fiancé mad with how much time I’ve been spending on iRacing, but it’s been good.”

Moffitt can sit in his rig for “four to five hours at a time and be fine.”

Through all this, Moffitt hasn’t missed a single Truck Series race.

Moffitt’s accident occurred at friend’s house in Mooresville around 3 p.m. ET on March 14.

That was about the time that Moffitt would have been competing in the Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But the day before, it and every NASCAR race through the following weekend (and eventually mid-May) were postponed due to the emerging danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moffitt flew back to North Carolina Friday night.

“Yeah, I should have been in a truck,” Moffitt said. “I’ve been telling people I don’t know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Because this quarantine is a blessing for the recovery time, but it would never have happened had we been at the race track.”

Moffitt said he had a “good amount” of experience on dirt bikes and 4-wheelers growing up in Iowa, but on this day he “just messed up.”

Moffitt came up short on a double jump and hit his front tire on top of the landing ramp. He then went forward over the bars, but his feet stuck to the pegs.

“My bodyweight going over the handle bars I guess was enough to break the femurs,” Moffitt said. “They just kind of snapped over the handle bars, I do believe.”

After his surgery on Sunday, Moffitt left the hospital Tuesday and began the recovery process.

He quickly acquired a walker, a seat for his shower and a device with arm rests that let him get up from the toilet.

“I have everything I need for when I’m about 75 years old,” Moffitt joked.

The early parts of the recovery were “really painful. It was hard to sleep at night, obviously they give you pain killers and stuff. It was lot of pain up front.”

Moffitt said the early stages of rehab were “the highlights of my week,” with him attending on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Basically the other days I would just sit on the couch all day and watch TV,” said Moffitt, who consumed Neflix’s “Tiger King” series and old episodes of “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “Friends.”

“Initially it was kind of getting the mobility back, getting the muscles loosened up,” Moffitt said of his rehab. “Then they kind of jump right into strength as soon as possible. With breaking both the femurs, they put rods in both my legs up through the center of the bone essentially. As soon as that is done, you can then put full weight on your legs. Now, it’s really painful and most of the time your muscle can’t take it … But obviously, that’s the goal to get back to putting full weight (on it) as soon as possible.”

Wednesday’s therapy session included more leg strength work outs, including squats, balancing on one leg, and leg presses.

While he feels no discomfort when navigating the pedals in a kart or his iRacing rig, walking still has its issues.

“It’s just the outsides of my hips that are a little rough,” Moffitt said. “I now have a nice little waddle to me now. … We spent today working on getting rid of that waddle. It’s a little bit of a pain, currently, but I’m getting around pretty good. … You want to wake up and be healed one day and that’s just not the reality.”

When he’s back to being more like his pre-accident self, Moffitt is eager to go for a run.

“I was probably in the best running shape of my life right before this happened,” Moffitt said. “I did a half marathon at like a low eight-minute mile pace, which for me is really good. So that’s probably a big bummer, because I put in a lot of work to get good running. Hopefully, it comes back.”

What likely won’t be coming back are his dirt bike riding privileges.

Are there any new clauses in his contract with GMS Racing?

“It came with the medical bills, I believe,” Moffitt said. “Yeah, that one’s done.”

NASCAR weekend schedule for Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

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NASCAR Cup Series drivers race on the road for the final time this season Sunday, as the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval course ends the playoffs’ Round of 12.

The 17-turn, 2.28-mile course incorporating the CMS oval and infield will determine the eight drivers who will advance to the next round of the playoffs. Chase Elliott won last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and is the only driver who has qualified for a spot in the Round of 8.

Entering Sunday’s race, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are below the playoff cutline. Bowman will not qualify for the next round because he is sidelined by concussion-like symptoms.

The race (2 p.m ET) will be broadcast by NBC.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Cup and Xfinity)

Weekend weather

Friday: Sunny. High of 81 with a 6% chance of rain.

Saturday: Mixed clouds and sun. High of 67 with a 3% chance of rain.

Sunday: Sunny. High of 68 with a 3% chance of rain.

Friday, Oct. 7

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 12 – 5 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Saturday, Oct. 8

Garage open

  • 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 8:30 a.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3 p.m. — Xfinity race (67 laps, 155.44 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 9

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 2 p.m. — Cup race (109 laps, 252.88 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Rodney Childers fined $100,000, suspended for four races

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NASCAR has suspended Rodney Childers, Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, for four races and fined him $100,000 for what the sanctioning body called modification of a part supplied by a vendor.

Harvick, who is out of the Cup Series playoffs, and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team were docked 100 points.

Harvick’s car and that of Martin Truex Jr. were taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. after last Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. There were no penalties assessed to the Truex team.

Harvick has been particularly critical of the Next Gen car in recent months, once referring to the “crappy-ass parts” provided by suppliers.

Harvick’s car erupted in flames during the Southern 500 Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway. After he climbed from the smoking car, Harvick blamed the fire on “just crappy parts on the race car like we’ve seen so many times. They haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the safety stuff. We just let it keep going and keep going.

“The car started burning and as it burned the flames started coming through the dash. I ran a couple laps and then as the flame got bigger it started burning stuff up and I think right there you see all the brake fluid that was probably coming out the brakes and part of the brake line, but the fire was coming through the dash.

“What a disaster for no reason. We didn’t touch the wall. We didn’t touch a car, and here we are in the pits with a burned-up car, and we can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy-ass parts.”

MORE: AJ Allmendinger to return to Cup Series in 2023

Unless the team appeals, Childers would miss races at Charlotte, Las Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville and would return for the season finale at Phoenix.

NASCAR president Steve Phelps told the Associated Press that officials have not targeted Harvick. “I would say that’s ridiculous,” he said. “No one has a vendetta against Kevin Harvick or Rodney or anyone at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Harvick tweeted, “Seems strange…” A Childers tweet called the penalty “Shocker…..”.

NASCAR also announced Wednesday it has suspended Young’s Motorsports crew chief Andrew Abbott indefinitely for a behavioral violation during pre-race inspection. He must undergo anger-management training to be reinstated. The team races in the Camping World Truck Series.

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Roval

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The lineup for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 8 will be decided in Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Entering the race, the final event in the Round of 12, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are below the cutline. Bowman will miss the race — and thus the cutoff — as he continues to battle concussion-like symptoms. Noah Gragson is scheduled to drive the No. 48 Chevrolet Sunday.

Cindric is tied with Chase Briscoe for the eighth playoff spot, but Briscoe would claim it on the tiebreaker. Byron is 11 points back, and Bell is 33. Hendrick Motorsports has appealed the penalty to Byron that dropped him below the cutline. That appeal is scheduled to be heard Thursday.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Any playoff driver who wins Sunday’s race and isn’t already qualified — Chase Elliott qualified for the Round of 8 by winning last week at Talladega Superspeedway — automatically advances to the Round of 8.

Drivers to watch Sunday at the Roval (2 p.m., ET, NBC), the final road-course race of the season:

FRONTRUNNERS

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: Won at Talladega, 32nd at Texas, 2nd at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2019 and 2020

Elliott is the clear favorite to win a second championship. He won Sunday at Talladega to advance to the Round of 8 and can relax Sunday at Charlotte having punched his ticket. Relaxing isn’t likely, however, as Elliott will be among the favorites to win.

Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: 2nd at Talladega, 4th at Texas, 30th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2018.

Blaney continues along a path that could result in him winning the Cup championship without winning a race. He came within an eyelash of winning Sunday at Talladega but fell victim to Chase Elliott’s last-lap charge. He should be a threat Sunday at the Roval, where he has four straight top 10s.

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 6th
  • Last three races: 18th at Talladega, 9th at Texas, 5th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2021

Larson’s last win — and his last top-four finish — came at Watkins Glen seven races ago. He is 18 points over the cutline entering Sunday’s race.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Austin Cindric

  • Points position: 9th
  • Last three races: 9th at Talladega, 15th at Texas, 20th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Sunday will mark his first Cup race. Has three top threes in four Xfinity starts.

Cindric hasn’t won since the season-opening Daytona 500 and is one of five drivers still in the playoffs who own only one victory this year. His ninth-place run at Talladega ended a streak of four straight finishes of 12th or worse.

MORE: NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Daniel Suarez

  • Points position: 7th
  • Last three races: 8th at Talladega, 12th at Texas, 19th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Best finish in four starts is 13th

Suarez is 12 points above the cutline entering Sunday’s race. He has never led a lap at the Roval and has never finished in the top 10.

Chase Briscoe

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 10th at Talladega, 5th at Texas, 14th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Finished 22nd last year in his only Cup start

Briscoe is teetering on top of the cutline in search of a spot in the Round of 8. He hasn’t won since the fourth race of the year at Phoenix and had a poor performance at the Roval last year.

 

 

AJ Allmendinger to return to NASCAR Cup Series in 2023

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AJ Allmendinger is getting another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Allmendinger, currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will drive full-time in Kaulig entries in the Cup Series next season.

Allmendinger raced in Cup from 2007 to 2018 but won only one time — at Watkins Glen International — across those years. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kaulig in 2019, winning on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is a favorite to win the Xfinity championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Allmendinger, 40, will drive Kaulig’s No. 16 car in Cup next year. Justin Haley will drive the team’s No. 31.

Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next year.

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure. But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

MORE: Chase Elliott atop NASCAR Power Rankings

Team owner Matt Kaulig said Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.”

Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.