OBSERVATIONS: Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
When your back is against a wall, it can cause you to push even harder to accomplish the goal that you have at hand. That could easily explain Brett Moffitt and Hattori Racing Enterprises.
Throughout the 2018 campaign, they did not know if they were going to make every race this season due to lack of funding. They also had a smaller work force than most teams, consisting of 10 full-time employees, building trucks for each week. There was also heavy criticism from other teams about Hattori having an advantage due to using the OEM engine built by Mark Cronquist versus the MT1 spec motors, which resulted in NASCAR making two rule changes throughout the playoffs.
The little team kept their heads down, and the hard work paid off in being crowned the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champions. They also did it in convincing style, with Moffitt driving away from the field at the end of the Ford EcoBoost 200 en route to victory while Noah Gragson faded to third with a tight truck, and GMS Racing teammates Justin Haley and Johnny Sauter fought handling issues.
A feel good story is always good for publicity, and certainly NASCAR could use some with the rough storylines we’ve endured this year. Moffitt could also use the boost as he has yet to finalize any racing plans for the 2019 season.
Even though Moffitt ran away with the victory in the closing stages, the Ford EcoBoost 200 was still one of the better events to watch this year. The aged surface with two distinct lines – rim-riding versus trying to stick the bottom, allowed for side-by-side racing from the drop of the green to the checkered. The battle for the lead between Moffitt and Gragson lasting at least 20 laps will certainly stick in fan’s minds, though watching Sheldon Creed climb through the field should also linger.
Some of the great side-by-side racing was obviously missed on the broadcast, as Fox Sports 1 chose to focus on the Championship 4. It’s reasonable given it’s the final race and a title is on the line, but everybody also deserves their dues. The bigger question is how can you end the broadcast without talking to first-time series champion owner Shigeaki Hattori?
Side note – Canadians continue to complain each year, and reasonably so. How does a country who gets to host a race once a season end up being forced to miss most of the races on television due to Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports Racing being included in their channel line-up? It’s time the rest of the providers get on-board with it, or TSN steps up and is a true partner in NASCAR coverage by including all four – the big three tours and Pinty’s Series – as part of their line-up. Thanks to those who help us keep in the loop with their streams; it is certainly appreciated.
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