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As the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads into its 29th season, teams are putting the final pieces in place with Silly Season wrapping up as Daytona approaches.
One of the top story lines involves 2018 champion Brett Moffitt, who moves to GMS Racing’s No. 24 entry after scoring his first title with Hattori Racing Enterprises. As Austin Hill moves to the No. 16 championship-winning truck, Moffitt is forced with the task of defending his crown with a whole new team. It’s also worth noting that only Matt Crafton has won consecutive championships after his triumphs in 2013-14.
So will Moffitt become only the second driver in Truck Series history to win back-to-back titles? NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert and Chase Wilhelm debate whether or not the 26-year-old driver can accomplish the feat in 2019.
WILHELM: Last season, Moffitt drove an under-funded Hattori Racing No. 16 Toyota Tundra to six wins, leading the way for his first career Truck Series championship. The remarkable feat showcased two things: Moffitt’s driving prowess and what can be accomplished when you have a great team surrounding you. Mix those key ingredients and it’s a recipe for ultimate success.
In 2018, Moffitt played the underdog role to the fullest, capturing a title with his back against the wall. This year, Moffitt is the favorite as he heads to GMS Racing to take over the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado. Now with one of the top teams in the series, he has all the tools for success at his disposal. There’s no reason why Moffitt won’t be able to mirror what he was able to accomplish last season, and, who knows, maybe even surpass it.
Between Moffitt’s experience and skill, the strength of his new team and what he was able to achieve with a smaller organization, it would almost be a disappointment if he wasn’t hoisting the big trophy at Homestead once again.
ALBERT: Can Moffitt repeat? The opportunity certainly exists. But doing so will involve surmounting steep odds in a series that’s as unpredictable as any in NASCAR’s national ranks.
Moffitt’s title defense will need a dose of quick-acting chemistry with his new team, GMS Racing. Moffitt’s bid will also need sustained success through a fickle postseason format and amid a changing field of new faces and budding talent on the series roster.
The quest to repeat will also need to buck history’s trends. Crafton’s lightning-in-a-bottle repeat is the series’ only instance of back-to-back crowns. Even legendary Truck Series heavyweights Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague were unable to win championships in consecutive seasons.
Moffitt has pushed daunting obstacles aside over the course of his career. Finding back-to-back trophies in one of NASCAR’s most competitive tours may be the toughest yet.