By Cole Cusumano
If you were the grandson of a NASCAR Hall of Famer in the ARCA Menards Series event at Phoenix Raceway, it was a spectacular night for racing. While Ty Gibbs stole the show in the General Tire 150, Thad Moffitt — whose grandfather is seven-time champion Richard Petty — had a silently impressive performance.
By virtue of opposing strategy to front runners Corey Heim and Gibbs, Moffitt was able to be a contender in the latter stages of the race at Phoenix by opting for track position instead of fresh tires. This in turn helped the 20-year-old lead his first laps since 2018 and notch a career-best finish of third in the ARCA Series.
“I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed in myself after that next to last restart,” Moffitt told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Ultimately, I think that’s what lost us the race — I know the 18 was the car to beat all day — but my guys put me in position to do that, and that one’s on me.”
Moffitt is alluding to the restart on Lap 133 where he was the control car, but failed to get a good jump off the front row. The driver of the No. 46 found solace in being able to advance from fourth to third on the final attempt after fumbling on the one prior.
Regardless of how Moffitt felt post-race, this was a massive leap forward in terms of progression. He’s consistently improved from being a top-15 car, to becoming a mainstay inside the top-10.
This strong run was also necessary to bolster his opportunities. While Moffitt has made the most of his 29 starts over the last five years, it’s all about sustaining pace and keeping active as a developmental driver. As it stands, the No. 46 team is still in need of funding for about six more races, so this performance should turn some heads.
He’ll have 12 more attempts to formulate some consistency and credibility, with the next being at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24. There’s no telling what the future holds for Moffitt, but after posting the best finish of his career in Phoenix, there’s good reason to be excited about his future in racing.