Brett Moffitt didn’t win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race late last week at Darlington Raceway, but considers the race a milestone in his career.
“I’m really proud of the effort from everyone on getting me back,” Moffitt told RACER.
The race, in which Moffitt finished 11th for Our Motorsports, was the first time he’d been behind the wheel since breaking both of his legs back in March. Moffitt underwent surgery that included rods being placed in his legs after a dirt bike accident on the day in which he was scheduled to have been racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That race got postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moffitt not only recovered on schedule, but did not even miss a race. While he is a full-time driver in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Moffitt is also running a select program with Our Motorsports, and he was in the field when that series returned from its hiatus last week.
“During the race, I got emotional, and there are very few times in my career that’s happened,” he said. “Winning the (Truck) championship, and when I finished top 10 in Atlanta in the Cup Series back in 2015 in a Michael Waltrip car. You think of the storyline, or what could have been.
“To come back without missing a single race, and with a small team that we haven’t had too many great runs this season, at a track I haven’t been at in five years, and have a good run… even before the last stage, I was pretty pumped up on the day.”
The best news is that Moffitt didn’t feel any worse for the wear in the car. Granted, the next day, he was tired and sore, but during the 147 laps at one of the oldest and toughest tracks on the circuit, Moffitt never thought about his legs. He was ready to get back to racing, excited and nervous about how the day would go, and felt it was a good test at a facility he was pleased to be competing at again.
“It was a big day for me,” said Moffitt. “My confidence level is super-high after that. It’s a challenging track, and with the injury and not knowing what to expect when I come back, and having it go so well…
“It took me probably half the race to really feel comfortable just because I hadn’t been there in so long, but there was never a thought in my mind about my legs during the race. I’m excited to go to some tracks that I know better, being Charlotte this week, and try to build off what we did and have better results.”
Moffitt had surgery the day after his accident. When he came out of it, the doctors told him that with the rods in place, he could put weight on his legs, but there would be pain due to the muscle damage. Being bullheaded, Moffitt tried, and realized right away that he had a long road ahead.
Released from the hospital two days after surgery, he navigated the stairs at his house by sitting down and using his arms to get up and down. Moffitt also had a walker, and other mobility aids.
“I wasn’t even able to stand up under my own weight for enough time to take a shower,” he said. “That was tough, and it shows how bad things really were, but it’s all motivation. I had really good people around me, and everyone at Ortho Carolina pushed me to keep going. The saying is, if you’re going to be dumb, you have to be tough, and thankfully, I have a good pain tolerance and was able to push through it. As week one went on, I immediately pulled out my fiancee’s crutches and messed around on them because the walker was taking too long to get around.
“I think it was week three, maybe four, I ditched the crutches, and I said, I don’t care if I’m walking funny, I’m just going to start walking.”
Moffitt still walks with a limp, but inside the car, he’s fine. In addition to physical therapy, Moffitt got on iRacing during the hiatus, and eventually into a go-kart for laps around the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Monday night, he again ran in the Xfinity Series for its race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is now eager to be ready to go with his GMS Racing team for the first race back for the Truck Series on Tuesday night.
“Getting iced at Atlanta was the worst thing for us,” said Moffitt. “We were not great at Vegas by any means… but we learned a lot, and we wanted to implement it and see how it went, and that didn’t happen. So we’re looking forward to getting back to the racetrack. I wish it didn’t take two months, but we’re looking forward to getting back and readjusting.
“We feel we had a good plan on how to improve, but obviously, you don’t know until you hit the racetrack. I’m looking forward to it.”