Brett Moffitt edged Chase Elliott on the last lap of a green-white-checkered flag finish and won his first race of the season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. Moffitt, in his fourth year in the K&N Pro Series East, crossed the finish line 0.011 seconds ahead of Elliott, who was making only the 15th start of his K&N Pro Series East career.
Brett Moffitt leads the pack in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond International Raceway
Brett Moffitt in victory lane after winning his first K&N Pro Series East race of the season.
"We were really good all race long," said Moffitt, who won the eighth K&N Pro Series East race of his career. "We were struggling right off the truck, but these guys really pulled together and worked hard all day. They gave me the car that we needed to win. Chase Elliott and Corey LaJoie were both really fast at the end, and Ryan Gifford through the middle of the race. They really gave me a run for my money, but we were able to hold on out front and bring home the money."
Moffitt won the pole and led a race-high 92 laps. He was out front for the first 71 laps of the Blue Ox 100 before Ryan Gifford took the lead. Gifford and Moffitt swapped the lead over the next 13 laps before Moffitt took over on lap 84. Moffitt was out front for the remaining 19 laps of the race, including the final two on the green-white-checkered flag finish.
Elliott and Moffitt collided on the last lap as the two drivers battled for the lead all the way around the track.
"He is a wheel man," Moffitt said about Elliott. "He can drive the wheels off of it. Anyone up there, running up there, can and deserves to win. I was worried like crazy. We had been sitting out front all race long. We got passed a couple times by Gifford and once by LaJoie. It's always nerve-wracking when you lead a whole race."
Elliott, the son of NASCAR Cup champion Bill Elliott, posted the best finish of his young K&N Pro Series East career and took over the lead in the East Series standings.
"I really wanted that one," Elliott said. "If we can keep running like this, I think we will get one."
Elliott is four points ahead of teammate Ben Kennedy in the K&N Pro Series East Series standings after three races. It was Elliott's third top-10 and first top-five finish of the season. He said the last-lap battle with Moffitt might have come too late to make a difference.
"It was beyond time to go and the chance was now or never," Elliott said. "Obviously I would have liked to have the bottom. When I got the lead from Brett down here in three, I guess Corey, he followed me through. He gave me a nice bump down there in one and two. We did some awesome short track racing."
LaJoie, son of two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, finished third in the K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond for the second year in a row. He is third in the East Series standings, nine points behind Elliott.
"Everything looked like it was falling our way," LaJoie said. "That last run with 10 to go or something, the 2 car (Gifford) spun out, or I don't know what happened. It kept going green and I had Brett passed. The caution came out and set up that green-white-checkered, which I didn't want to see."
The race also featured Travis Pastrana and Ryan Blaney. Both drivers made their NASCAR Nationwide Series debuts at Richmond on Friday night. Blaney was 22nd and Pastrana followed in 23rd in the K&N Pro Series East race.
Jesse Little became the youngest driver, at 15 years, 11 days, to start a K&N Pro Series race. He qualified 15th and finished 11th.
The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race is at Iowa Speedway on May 19.
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