Iowa Native Wins 2015 NASCAR Rookie of the Year [Photos]
The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award goes to Grimes, Iowa native Brett Moffitt. The impressive part of this achievement is that he entered the the 2015 season with only one NSCS race on his 2015 schedule.
Moffitt started the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. It was a one-race driver deal, and he made a lot noise grabbing a Top 10 finish at Atlanta.
"Atlanta was definitely the highlight of my year," Moffitt remembered. "Going into 2015, that was the one race I had on my schedule with Michael Waltrip Racing, and they gave me the opportunity, Michael, the folks at Aaron's and Rob Kauffman believed in me enough to fill in for Brian that race, and to go out there and finish eighth place was huge."
Things really went the team's way during the Atlanta race.
"Billy Scott, the crew chief, really called an amazing race and our guys on pit road got us out just in time to stay on the lead lap and catch a couple cautions just right. So we got down to the end of the race, it was actually a great situation for me."
That breakout performance landed him another three races for MWR. THen he landed one more weekend for MWR when Brian Vickers had a health issue and would not be racing during the California weekend.
Interestingly enough, that eighth place finish, his best in 2015, didn't even count towards his quest to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Neither did the few next few races with MWR.
"Having one race on my schedule, I didn't sign up for it," Moffitt explained. "We kind of got pressured into it in a way. Once we reached a point where I knew I was going to do at least seven races and wouldn't be eligible in 2016 to run for Rookie of the Year, at that point we said, why not sign up for it and hope things work out, and they did."
It wasn't until Moffitt was named as the primary driver for Front Row Motorsports that he registered as a R.O.Y. driver.
"Bob and everyone at Front Row Motorsports kind of made this happen," Moffitt added. "And they stuck their neck out on the line and hired a rookie, and it paid off."
Moffitt couldn't be more thankful that Front Row Motorsports took a chance on true rookie driver at the NSCS level.
"I never ran a Superspeedway until Daytona in July," Moffitt said. "And Front Row had taken a risk taking a rookie who's never ran a Superspeedway in anything to a Cup start there."
He was also quick to thank Michael Waltrip Racing as well.
"I really can't thank the folks at Michael Waltrip Racing enough, Ty Norris and Michael, for employing me and giving me the opportunity to at least test Cup cars, which is what I was doing, and that led to more opportunities, and without them I wouldn't be where I am today."
So what will 2016 bring? Well, even Moffitt isn't sure just yet.
"Right now my slate is empty," Moffitt said when asked about his 2016 plans. "I mean, we're working hard, but it's hard to secure the funding to be able to run in any of the top three series. If anything would come forward, I'd be more than willing to work with any series, whether it was truck, XFINITY or another Cup ride."
As a proud dirt track fan, I'm always pulling for any Hawkeye Hot Shoe to succeed in America's highest racing series. I'll be pulling for the Grimes, IA native to landed a ride for 2016, and I'll be one of the first to order his 2016 racing t-shirt when a deal is signed.
Follow the latest news at Moffitt's web site, brettmoffittracing.com.