Brett Moffitt: ‘I’ll be ready’ when Truck Series resumes
It’s not strange to start a phone call, whether it’s with a friend or an interview subject, with the simple question of “How are you?”
But that question has a deeper meaning for Truck Series driver Brett Moffitt, who gives a hearty laugh when this is mentioned.
A month-and-a-half after breaking the femur in both his legs in a motorcross bike accident, how is Brett Moffitt doing?
“Honestly, pretty good,” Moffitt told NBC Sports on Wednesday. “I went to physical therapy this morning. They kind of kick your ass in that.”
When GMS Racing announced Moffitt’s injury on March 16, it came with an estimate that his rehabilitation would take six to eight weeks. It’s now been six weeks.
Moffitt said there’s “no clear answer” for when he’ll be cleared to compete in a truck again, but “I think 100% I’ll be ready before we get back to racing.”
Moffitt believes he’ll have another set of X-rays taken next week.
“They did X-rays three weeks ago now, two weeks out of surgery and there was already pretty good bone growth coming back,” Moffitt said. “It’s up to the doctors. They’ll do the X-rays next week and probably make a decision based off of that. ... Hopefully I can keep progressing. Obviously, I feel like I’m ready.”
The 2018 Truck champion is already getting back behind the wheel, taking part in 45-minute sessions once or twice a week in a racing kart at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. He does it under the eye of trainer Josh Wise.
“If you can handle one of those (racing karts), you can definitely handle a truck,” Moffitt said. “The go-karts beat you up in a hurry. They’re extremely difficult to drive ... and wear you out. ... I was pretty pleased with the outcome. I tried to avoid the curves as much as I could. Did not really have the hard impacts, but I did get into them a few times on accident. ... Those things hurt whether you have injuries or not.”
In addition to that, Moffitt has installed a new iRacing rig at his recently purchased home. Wise conducts private racing sessions with Moffitt and other Chevrolet drivers, like Ross Chastain and Sheldon Creed.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Moffitt said. “Sometimes it’ll be sports cars on road courses, sometimes it’ll be dirt cars. ... It’s a good way to practice and try to get better. Probably been making my fiancé mad with how much time I’ve been spending on iRacing, but it’s been good.”
Moffitt can sit in his rig for “four to five hours at a time and be fine.”
Through all this, Moffitt hasn’t missed a single Truck Series race.
Moffitt’s accident occurred at friend’s house in Mooresville around 3 p.m. ET on March 14.
That was about the time that Moffitt would have been competing in the Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But the day before, it and every NASCAR race through the following weekend (and eventually mid-May) were postponed due to the emerging danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moffitt flew back to North Carolina Friday night.
“Yeah, I should have been in a truck,” Moffitt said. “I’ve been telling people I don’t know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Because this quarantine is a blessing for the recovery time, but it would never have happened had we been at the race track.”
Moffitt said he had a “good amount” of experience on dirt bikes and 4-wheelers growing up in Iowa, but on this day he “just messed up.”
Moffitt came up short on a double jump and hit his front tire on top of the landing ramp. He then went forward over the bars, but his feet stuck to the pegs.
“My bodyweight going over the handle bars I guess was enough to break the femurs,” Moffitt said. “They just kind of snapped over the handle bars, I do believe.”
After his surgery on Sunday, Moffitt left the hospital Tuesday and began the recovery process.
He quickly acquired a walker, a seat for his shower and a device with arm rests that let him get up from the toilet.
“I have everything I need for when I’m about 75 years old,” Moffitt joked.
The early parts of the recovery were “really painful. It was hard to sleep at night, obviously they give you pain killers and stuff. It was lot of pain up front.”
Moffitt said the early stages of rehab were “the highlights of my week,” with him attending on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“Basically the other days I would just sit on the couch all day and watch TV,” said Moffitt, who consumed Neflix’s “Tiger King” series and old episodes of “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “Friends.”
“Initially it was kind of getting the mobility back, getting the muscles loosened up,” Moffitt said of his rehab. “Then they kind of jump right into strength as soon as possible. With breaking both the femurs, they put rods in both my legs up through the center of the bone essentially. As soon as that is done, you can then put full weight on your legs. Now, it’s really painful and most of the time your muscle can’t take it ... But obviously, that’s the goal to get back to putting full weight (on it) as soon as possible.”
Wednesday’s therapy session included more leg strength work outs, including squats, balancing on one leg, and leg presses.
While he feels no discomfort when navigating the pedals in a kart or his iRacing rig, walking still has its issues.
“It’s just the outsides of my hips that are a little rough,” Moffitt said. “I now have a nice little waddle to me now. ... We spent today working on getting rid of that waddle. It’s a little bit of a pain, currently, but I’m getting around pretty good. ... You want to wake up and be healed one day and that’s just not the reality.”
When he’s back to being more like his pre-accident self, Moffitt is eager to go for a run.
“I was probably in the best running shape of my life right before this happened,” Moffitt said. “I did a half marathon at like a low eight-minute mile pace, which for me is really good. So that’s probably a big bummer, because I put in a lot of work to get good running. Hopefully, it comes back.”
What likely won’t be coming back are his dirt bike riding privileges.
Are there any new clauses in his contract with GMS Racing?
“It came with the medical bills, I believe,” Moffitt said. “Yeah, that one’s done.”