Moffitt Looks to End First Late Model Season on Positive Note in Myrtle Beach 400

Myrtle Beach Speedway is one of many tracks along the east coast that have become closely associated with Late Model racing over the past 25 years. The half-mile short track hosts a weekly Late Model series that concludes every November with the prestigious Myrtle Beach 400 Late Model race, which has featured several notable winners that include Lee Pulliam, Timothy Peters and former NASCAR driver Scott Riggs.Unlike other high-profile Late Model races such as the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville, the Myrtle Beach 400 is split across two weekends, with features in the SELLM Pro, Super Trucks and Mini-Stocks divisions making up the first weekend, while the Modifieds and the 225-lap Late Model feature conclude the festivities on November 18th. Trinity, North Carolina resident Thad Moffitt will be among the drivers who will participate in both weekends, as he will run the 100-lap SELLM Pro feature on November 11th, and hopes to make the Late Model feature on the following weekend.

Although his last name may not indicate it, Moffitt is the grandson of 7-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Richard Petty, who ran seven Cup races at Myrtle Beach between 1959 and 1964, earning a career-best finish of second twice at the track. Moffitt said that his family played a large role in getting his racing career off the ground, but added that it was his decision to start racing at an early age.

“My family never really pushed racing onto me,” Moffitt said. “When I was eight or nine years old, I figured out that I could drive one of these cars one day. My family bought me quarter-midgets and go-karts, but my grandma got sick with cancer, so I wasn’t able to start racing until I was 14 years old.”

Moffitt transitioned over to Late Models full time this season after spending 2016 making Limited Late Model starts along the east coast. Moffitt has run at several different tracks this season, including Carteret County Speedway and Ace Speedway, but Moffitt has made eight starts at Myrtle Beach Speedway, earning a season-best finish of sixth at the track during the “Night of Champions” on September 9th.

Moffitt’s most recent attempt at Myrtle Beach was during the track’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Night” on October 21st, where Moffitt saw an opportunity to earn his first Late Model victory with track champion Lee Pulliam absent from the event. However, on the second lap of the race, Sam Yarbrough got into the back of polesitter Ryan Repko going into Turn 1, which triggered a 20-car pileup that included Moffitt, who sustained two cracked ribs in the accident.

“I don’t know what happened up front, because some people say one thing, while other people say another thing, but we had missed the wreck, and then we got hit from behind and spun,” Moffitt said. “I then got hit on the driver’s side door, which bent a little bit into the side of my rib cage.”

Despite the injuries sustained in the crash, Moffitt quickly returned to competition at Ace Speedway on October 21st to participate in the 4th annual Rodney Cook Classic, where he was involved in an accident on Lap 1 when the front row of Layne Riggs and Kyle Dudley made contact in Turn 1. Moffitt’s team continued to repair the car throughout the evening with the aid of several cautions, and Moffitt was able to bring home the #46 Transportation Impact/Performance Plus Oil Late Model home with a Top 10 finish.

 

The cracked ribs did not bother Moffitt during the race, but the pain quickly returned once Moffitt had climbed out of the car. Moffitt received physical therapy treatments prior to competing in the Rodney Cook Classic, but his team has also purchased a new seat and extra padding for him in order to make Moffitt feel more comfortable inside his Late Model.

The Rodney Cook Classic featured one of the most talented Late Model fields that Moffitt had gone up against in his brief Late Model career, but the 25th Myrtle Beach 400 is expected to attract more talented drivers, with names like Lee Pulliam and Tommy Lemons Jr. expected to file entries. Moffitt stated that learning from the veteran Late Model drivers has helped him navigate Myrtle Beach Speedway less strenuous.

“The most important thing I learned from racing at Myrtle Beach was tire wear, and how to take care of my tires,” Moffitt said. “I wasn’t sure if I was taking care of them good enough, until I got behind Lee Pulliam and Chad McCumbee, and realized what they were doing to take care of their tires. I followed those two for 50 laps during a race, and I figured out what they were doing, and since then, we’ve been competitive every time I go up there.”

Moffitt has also discovered that it is impossible to run wide open at Myrtle Beach, and that the best strategy is to save the tires until the last 20 laps. However, Moffitt understands that Late Model races at Myrtle Beach are known to be competitive and unpredictable, as he was one of several drivers who missed the Myrtle Beach 400 in 2016. Moffitt plans to implement a conservative strategy in order to have a chance to add his name to the long list of prestigious Myrtle Beach 400 winners.

“We think it would be best if we could make it in on time,” Moffitt said. “If we can do that, then were are just going to ride around a while and see how the race plays out, and then after the break, we’ll really start racing our way up to the front.”

Moffitt plans to run the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park on November 26th to conclude his first Late Model season. Moffitt’s 2018 plans are quickly coming to fruition, as he currently plans to run three ARCA races with Empire Racing, while continuing to focus on competing in several prestigious Late Model events and CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour races throughout the season.

Empire Racing Group, a Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team, signs Driver Devin Dodson.

Devin Dodson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empire Racing Group, and Grumpy’s Performance, Inc.,  a Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team is proud to announce signing driver, Devin Dodson, for the remaining 2017 season. ERG and Grumpy’s will field two Late Model Stock Cars this weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway for the “BattleBack  WildCard Night” on Saturday night. Dodson will pilot the #9 ERG Ford as teammate to Thad Moffitt at the wheel of the #46 ERG Ford.

The team will be led by Empire Racing Group Crew Chief Mike” Grumpy” Cheek.

“I am excited to bring Devin on board to the ERG camp. I have watched Devin perform and I look forward to working with him and assisting Devin in his endeavors to get to the next level of his racing career. I feel confident that Devin will be an excellent addition to the team and a  good teammate for Thad, Together we have the opportunity to put some good racing on the track for the fans.”

Eighteen-year-old, Devin Dodson who is a native of Bishopville, MD starting racing at the age of 5-years-old. He started racing go karts across the southeast and mid atlantics  region with multiple wins and top 5 finishes. Won Diamond State 50, 2-years as JR2 and JR3. In 2015, Dodson moved to dirt modified with his accomplishments of multiple top 5’s, Rookie of the year 2015, 2 wins and in 2016, and finished 3rd in points in the mid- atlantics region. Dodson began to run late model stock in 2017 and in 8 starts has had five top 5 finishes.

Carteret County Mullet Festival 250

October 14, 2017

10  am – Pit Gate Opens

12:00 – Tech and Registration Open

3 pm – Open Practice

4:15 pm – Drivers Meeting

4:30 pm – Qualifying Begins

6:15 pm – Meet / Greet with Drivers

6:45 pm – Pre-Race – Prayer /  National Anthem

7pm Racing Gets Underway

  • Mini Cups #1 – 10 laps
  • Mini Cups #2 – 15 laps
  • US Legends Cars – 30 laps
  • Late Model Race #1 – 40 laps
  • Champ Karts – 25 laps
  • INTERMISSION – Kalt Life
  • Mini Stock – 30 laps
  • UCars – 30 laps
  • Street Stocks – 30 laps

Statement by Richard Petty Regarding Loss of Sponsor

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 12, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) was recently notified that its current partner, Smithfield Foods, will not return to the team next season. Aric Almirola will also not return to the No. 43.

A statement from Richard Petty:

“We have had numerous discussions with Smithfield Foods regarding the extension of our relationship dating as far back as February. Over the past few months, Smithfield had continually told me they wanted to be with us, and I recently shook hands on a deal to extend our relationship. I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. I’m sad to see this is where we are now. This decision is very unexpected, and we are extremely disappointed in this late and abrupt change of direction.

“Losing a sponsor of this magnitude in September is a significant set-back to Richard Petty Motorsports, but Andy (Murstein) and I are committed to moving forward with the No. 43 team. We have a lot of great partners who have expressed their continued support, and our fans will rally around the No. 43. We’ve been around since 1949, and we’ll be around a lot longer.”

 

About Richard Petty Motorsports

A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields one team in competition in the NASCAR premier series with driver Aric Almirola. Almirola will return to the iconic No. 43 Ford with partners Smithfield Foods, STP and United States Air Force. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.

 

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PARALYZED VETERANS AND WAFFLE HOUSE TO HOST BREAKFAST AND ANNOUNCE A SPECIAL CAMPAIGN TO RAISE FUNDS FOR PARALYZED VETERANS

BREAKFAST TO FEATURE SPECIAL GUEST, “THE KING” RICHARD PETTY

WHAT:

Representatives from Paralyzed Veterans of America and Waffle House will join “The King” Richard Petty for a special breakfast and media announcement this Friday at the Waffle House in Sandston, Va.  The announcement will detail a new campaign to raise funds for paralyzed veterans.

 

WHO:    Richard Petty, Co-Owner, Richard Petty Motorsports, Robert Satterwhite, Mid-Atlantic Chapter President,  Paralyzed Veterans of America, Pat Warner, Director of Public Relations and External Affairs, Waffle House

WHEN:   Friday, September 8, 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Waffle House,   5414 Williamsburg Road,  Sandston, Va.

 

A Richard Petty Driver Development Team