The first elimination race in the Camping World Truck Series playoffs is a question mark in more ways than one for Brett Moffitt.
Moffitt’s Hattori Racing team is considered one of the favorites for the title, but they do not have sponsorship for two of the last seven races: the first-round race at Talladega on Oct. 13 and a second-round race at Texas on Nov. 2.
Then there’s the matter of Talladega being, well, Talladega, where anything can happen and the championship picture is sure to be shaken up.
“Talladega is a question mark even if we do get a sponsor because you can go there Lap 1 and get wrecked, so if you’re not in the right spot going into Talladega you’re going to be very stressed,” Moffitt said. “So, I would like to go in there not having that weight on my shoulders.
“I don’t have a lot of superspeedway experience. I got a couple Cup starts, and a couple Trucks starts at Daytona, but I’ve never been to Talladega in my life, so I would like to go execute in these first two, hopefully, get a win, and not have those worries on my mind.”
The No. 16 Toyota owned by former open-wheel and Trucks Series driver Shigeaki Hattori has battled sponsorship issues all season, and has had to find additional partners to keep things going. One such race was Chicagoland. HRE picked up support from Fr8Auctions the week leading into the race, which Moffitt then went out and won. Another was Eldora, where iRacing stepped up.
Moffitt has won four races this year, second most in the series to Johnny Sauter, and he goes into the playoffs seeded second on the grid behind Sauter.
If sponsorship is not founded for Talladega, Moffitt is unsure if the team has the budget to compete in the event to keep title hopes alive.
“I honestly have no clue,” he said. “That’s not in my department. So, hopefully, we can get sponsors on board, and we can keep racing for a championship. It would be a shame if we couldn’t. But at this point, we’re going to go into these first two and get locked into the next round, and hopefully, the rest takes care of itself.”
Moffitt says he will not race any differently the next two weeks. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park kicks off the playoffs this coming Sunday, and the second race of the first round is Sept. 14 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“You certainly got to go out there and do well,” said Moffitt. “The on-track performance also seems to help on the sponsorship search, but it doesn’t answer all the questions either. I feel like Vegas is obviously our best shot, we had a winning truck there in the spring and got caught up with lap traffic that kind of took us out of it, and that was really disappointing for our race team.
“We’re going to take the same truck back, and it’s the same truck we just won with at Michigan [two weeks ago]. That’s a confident track for us. As far as Mosport goes, I don’t really know what we’ve got until we get there; it’s going to be interesting. I felt good about it on the sim. I felt good about our performance at Watkins Glen [in the K&N race he won], and it would be nice to go out there and at least get a top three finish and have a little bit of breathing room.”