Mooresville, NC (April 11, 2018) — There’s a Petty in the house at Salem Speedway; or there certainly will be when Thad Moffitt marches through the gate Thursday (April 12) to test for next weekend’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 coming April 21-22.
Moffitt is the grandson of “The King” Richard Petty, and he’s on track to make his Salem debut. Like most kids growing up in the racing world, he’s been hearing about the place since he can remember.
“It’s one of those tracks you hear about all your life…one of those tracks the people around me have always talked about,” said Moffitt.
“Everybody says that track is like Bristol, but not as much grip, multiple grooves and a lot rougher. But that’s the kind of track I adapt to the best. I’m not really nervous; I’m more anxious. After all the bad luck we’ve had, I’m ready for a break-through race, and I feel like Salem could be that race.”
Moffitt got behind the “8-ball” last Saturday at Nashville, and clawed his way back to a 14th-place finish in the No. 46 Performance Plus Ford for Empire Racing. Despite the issues Moffitt had at Nashville, once things sorted out, the Trinity, N.C. fourth-generation racer was running lap times on pace with the leaders.
“I’m a little bit disappointed to be honest. We had a seal blow out and didn’t get to qualify and had to start in the rear. We went into the race not knowing what we had. We raced up to 12th, then we had a right-rear tire go down…then I got caught speeding on pit road. We were as fast as the leaders in the end; we just didn’t have any track position.”
If it’s at all possible, Moffitt hopes to get a head start on Salem Speedway.
“We’re getting ready to roll out to Salem. We just loaded up for the test.”
Moffitt will also have help from veteran crew chief Jeff McClure at Salem. McClure has built a reputation on helping several up and coming young drivers. When Todd Gilliland became the youngest ARCA winner in history at Toledo Speedway, it was McClure who engineered the victory from the pit box.
“A lot of my crew guys have been telling me about Salem,” Moffitt continued. “Jeff McClure just came on board with us and he’s been giving me a lot of good advice on Salem. He told me that if I’m going to pass anybody, I gotta make sure I get off (turn) two. And if you can’t make the pass off two, then just do it the next lap. Don’t try it in three and four.”
Moffitt has been getting the best of both worlds at Empire, help from not only McClure, but from longtime Empire crew chief Mike “Grumpy” Cheek.
“I’m really fortunate. I’m getting the knowledge of two great crew chiefs. I guess you could say I have co-crew chiefs. They discuss everything together, and I benefit from that.”
Moffitt finished an ARCA career-best 11th at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2017. He also earned the Southeast Limited Late Model Series championship in 2016. His famous grandfather Richard Petty is a 7-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and is the all-time Cup leader with 200 career wins.