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Moffitt roars past Peters, Byron on last lap to earn first career Truck win

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 27: Brett Moffitt, driver of the #11 Red Horse Racing Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 27, 2016 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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While Timothy Peters and William Byron were wrapped up battling each other for the lead, Brett Moffitt made a spectacular three-wide pass with one lap to go to take the lead and then win Saturday’s Careers For Veterans 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

What a move it was for Moffitt: not only was the final lap the first lap he’s ever led in the Truck Series, his victory was also his first in his NASCAR career, as well (includes Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Truck series).

While Moffitt and his Red Horse Racing teammate, Peters, finished 1-2, the disparity between the two that couldn’t have been more different.

Because Saturday was only his fourth start of the season in the No. 11 Toyota, Moffitt is not eligible to make the Chase. But by winning, he kept Peters from reaching the Chase (he would have qualified if he won instead).

Still, Moffitt showed the guts and tenacity of a longtime veteran in the way he waited until Peters and Byron were so wrapped up in fighting each other for the lead that they appeared to completely overlook him coming up with a head of steam on the outside.

Before Byron and Peters could react, Moffitt sailed past and then sailed away to the finish line less than two miles away.

“This has been huge,” Moffitt told Fox Sports 2. “Honestly, I didn’t think this was going to be our day. It was tough in the draft. But what an amazing finish. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Added Moffitt’s crew chief, Scott Zipadelli “I’m very impressed with this young man. He has a lot of talent, raw speed and is just a privilege to work with. This is awesome. We’re going to enjoy this one.”

Despite his disappointment at not winning or locking up a Chase berth, Peters -- to his credit -- played the role of the good teammate.

“It was a good day for Red Horse Racing and congrats to Brett Moffitt,” Peters said. “It was a 1-2 finish; I wish we were one. But all in all, the company brings the trophy back. It’s tough to swallow there, but it felt good to run like we did all day.”

In addition to Peters finishing runner-up, Daniel Hemric finished third, followed by Byron, Cameron Hayley, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Young.

How Moffitt won: With both patience and persistence, Moffitt held back to watch how the Peters and Byron battle would play out. As the white flag dropped, Moffitt made a fast move to the outside and before the other two drivers realized what was happening, had already passed by and held on for the win.

Who else had a good race: Even though he still hasn’t completely qualified for the Chase, Timothy Peters finished second. … Third-place finisher Daniel Hemric also had a strong showing. … Ben Rhodes led four laps and finished sixth.

Who had a bad race: Christopher Bell and Spencer Gallagher got together with 24 laps to go. Bell was fighting for second place with Cole Custer when Bell’s truck got loose and spun into Gallagher’s path, causing heavy damage to both trucks. Gallagher ran about 150 yards from his wrecked truck to check on Bell. “It shook me,” Gallagher told Fox Sports 2. “For my own sanity sake, I had to know he was okay. I was afraid for him. I felt bad and thought I hit him pretty good. I was worried about that. I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I saw he was okay.” … Cole Custer looked like he’d have a top-five finish, but wrecked in almost the same fashion Bell did with just 17 laps left. “I’ve never took that kind of hit like that before,” Custer said. “The 11 (Moffitt) stopped pushing me, which is his right to do that. He went to the outside, I got tight, I got loose and overcorrected.”

Notable: Right now, Peters is in the eighth and final Chase-eligible spot, but Cole Custer is mathematically tied with Peters (who still has the edge), Tyler Reddick is just three points behind the duo, and Cameron Hayley is four points behind for that final Chase spot. Two races remain to determine the eight drivers that will compete in the first-ever Truck Series Chase. ... Rain postponed the start of the race for nearly two hours.

Quote of the day: “I’m here to win. I’m not going to wreck him for it, I’m going to race him clean because he needs to get in the Chase.” – Race winner Brett Moffitt on how his win kept teammate Timothy Peters from clinching a Chase berth.

What’s next: Chevrolet Silverado 250, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Sept. 4; Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Follow @JerryBonkowski