Brett Moffitt wins ROTY honors, but faces uncertain future in 2016
Lost in the shuffle of all that transpired in Sunday night’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Brett Moffitt was named the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year for 2015.
Moffitt competed in 31 of the 36 Sprint Cup Series events this season, driving for Michael Waltrip Racing and Front Row Motorsports throughout the year.
The 22-year-old made his first start of the season — and eighth of his career — at Atlanta Motor Speedway last March 1, driving the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. In that event, Moffitt started 22nd and finished a career-best eighth in what turned out to be his highest finish of the season.
"Atlanta was definitely the highlight of my year," Moffitt said Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "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 (who owned MWR with Michael Waltrip) believed in me enough to fill in for Brian (Vickers) that race, and to go out there and finish eighth place was huge. You know, the time I didn’t even know what I was doing behind the wheel of a race car it seemed like."
Moffitt would pilot the No. 55 MWR Toyota until Richmond in April. Once David Ragan took over driving duties at MWR, Moffitt returned to Front Row Motorsports for the remainder of the 2015 season.
"As a rookie, being with Front Row Motorsports was a really good home," he said. "I learned a lot throughout the year, getting to race with 43 of the best drivers in the world is a learning curve, especially I have very limited XFINITY and truck experience, so a lot of these tracks were the first time for me. Just being able to get on the racetrack, being around them, trying to learn from them, it’s added up to a lot."
With only one scheduled race at the start of the season — Atlanta with MWR — Moffitt did not declare himself eligible for the Rookie of the Year award until later in the season, when it became apparent he would run the majority of the season.
"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," he said. "And that’s really where Bob and everyone at Front Row Motorsports kind of made this happen, and they stuck their neck out on the line and hired a rookie, and it paid off."
Despite a consistent year that ended in with the rookie title, Moffitt’s 2016 plans are still up in the air.
"Right now my slate is empty," he said. "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."