Brett Moffitt officially accepted the Truck Series championship trophy and ring Saturday night in Charlotte, closing the book on an improbable season with the No. 16 team.
Moffitt delivered six race wins and the title to Hattori Racing Enterprises in a year in which the team faced week-to-week uncertainty about its future. Funding shortfalls plagued the Shige Hattori-owned team, but the group made it to Homestead where they beat Noah Gragson, Justin Haley and Johnny Sauter for the title.
As of now, though, Moffitt is out of a ride. The two sides revealed earlier this week there was no realistic scenario to remain together and without enough funding, a full-season program for Moffitt could not be guaranteed.
So after sitting at the head table during the awards banquet having praised heaped upon him by his peers, Moffitt was asked numerous questions about his future — including whether a championship trophy would make him a hot commodity to other teams.
“Maybe,” he said. “I’m still waiting on a job offer, so, I don’t know. I have to think it helps, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve all the issues and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“I totally get Shige’s decision — it’s a business, and he’s got to be successful with his business,” Moffitt said. “I’m glad to have been a part of it, and I’m glad to have helped build it to a point where it is now, and I wish him and Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and everybody else the best next year.
“Obviously, I would love to be working with them again. We had a ton of success. Every time I get with Scott we have a ton of success. I don’t know why, I don’t know how. But in the future, I hope our paths cross again and we can go win more races and championships.”
HRE expects to have an announcement in the first few weeks of January about its 2019 plans. Amid reports that Moffitt will be replaced by a driver who can bring funding, the new champion was asked if there was frustration on his part about drivers who have money being able to displace those who have achieved success in the same ride.
“Hell yeah, it’s extremely frustrating,” he said. “It’s the climate that we’re at right now, though.”
Even so, Moffitt seemed bothered by the negativity sent Hattori’s way on that subject. Moffitt noted the reason he had the opportunity to succeed this year was how invested Hattori was in the program, and his commitment to not only running the full season but fielding a winning team.
“He could have taken money this year and been in a different situation and he didn’t — he invested fully in me and Scott and the race team and it all paid off,” Moffitt said. “Now looking forward, does it stress me out? Yeah, but so far everything’s worked out in my career. It’s not been a dream or easy ride but everything’s worked out. I’m going to keep pushing and we’re going to keep digging and something will work out.”