Ryan Truex, Michael Waltrip Racing development driver and little brother of Cup driver Martin Truex, Jr., won the Camping World Series East Championship. And in the final race of the season and in the last race of Andy Santerre's career as a team owner, Brett Moffitt won the Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway.
This was a bittersweet victory for Moffitt's team owner Andy Santerre, running his last race as a team owner and crew chief. Santerre has sold the team that bears his name, Andy Santerre Motorsports, and will be joining Revolution Racing and the 909 Group to run the Camping World program under the Drive for Diversity banner.
Moffitt, in his No. 44 Red Line Oil race car, qualified in the fourth position for the race. He was strong for most of the race and after battling through the field after his pit stop, took the lead and never looked behind him.
Moffitt, a seventeen year old from Grimes, Iowa, was thrilled with the outcome of the race. "This was definitely my best win so far," Moffitt said. "I've just got to thank all the guys at ASM (Andy Santerre Motorsports). They did a great job this weekend."
"Coming here for my first time and to win feels amazing."
Moffitt acknowledged that he has enjoyed his time in the Camping World Series East and that it is one of the toughest series as far as the competition. "I don't think there is any series out there more competitive than this one for this rank of driver," Moffitt stated.
The win will definitely help Moffitt as he moves forward in search of a new team and additional sponsors. Moffitt also paid tribute to his team owner Santerre, saying that Santerre's experience racing in these types of cars is always a help.
While Moffitt won the race, seventeen year old Michael Waltrip Racing phenomenon Ryan Truex clinched the Camping World Series East Championship.
"I didn't have the best car today," said Truex. "But I think we showed why we're the champions."
Truex talked about the adjustments his crew chief and shared his appreciation for his team, his brother, his family, and his fans back in hometown Mayetta, New Jersey.
"I'm really fortunate," Truex said. "I just can't explain what it means."
Truex came into the race only 30 points ahead of rival Eddie MacDonald. Driving the No. 71 NEMO/Grimm Construction race car, MacDonald finished in the ninth position.
Veteran crew chief Mike Greci acknowledged that he has never worked with a driver so young as new champion Ryan Truex. "His feedback on the race car is exceptional," Greci said. "And that really makes our jobs a whole lot easier."
When asked just how much pressure he felt today running for the championship, Truex simply answered, "A lot."
"But I just went out and ran my own race," Truex said. "I knew we'd be alright."
Truex is the first champion at Michael Waltrip Racing. "That's pretty special," said Truex. "It's been a team effort and everyone at the shop has been really good to me."
When asked if he could see the gaggle of people in his pits, Truex acknowledged that he could see them all out of the corner of his eye. The one that stuck out, however, was team owner Michael Waltrip, who paced the pits back and forth from the start of the race to the waving of the checkered flag.
Truex admitted that he felt like "a weight had lifted" when he came off the turn and took the checkered flag. "It's really good to get them all the championship that they deserve."
Truex's big brother Martin Truex Jr. was also on hand to celebrate the championship victory, sporting a Camping World Series East Championship hat and a wide grin.
While Martin is involved in Ryan's career, he said that it is important for him to keep his distance. "There are certain things that go on in the sport and on the race track that you have to learn yourself."
"So I try to stay out of it as much as I can unless he asks for help."
After celebrating his championship, Truex plans to take some time off. But he also plans to return full-time to the East Series next year, perhaps even running select Nationwide races when he comes of age.
For the Camping World Series East Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway, the top ten were:
1. Brett Moffitt
2. Ryan Gifford
3. Corey LaJoie
4. David Mayhew
5. Alan Tardiff
6. Steve Park
7. Ryan Duff
8. Ryan Truex
9. Eddie MacDonald
10. Jarit Johnson
Photo Credit: Mary Jo Buchanan