Moffitt leads wire-to-wire in K&N Pro Series East opener

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Brett Moffitt started off 2011 the same place he ended last year: in Victory Lane. The only difference was the uniform.

In his first race for Michael Waltrip Racing, Moffitt won the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 Saturday night at Greenville Pickens Speedway. Moffitt led all 150 laps in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at the historic half-mile.

“This was an amazing win,” Moffitt said. “Luckily we were able to put it on the pole – I was very excited about that – and then after that being able to lead green-to-checker is just awesome.”

Moffitt closed out the 2010 season with a win at Dover International Speedway with for Joe Gibbs Racing. He took over the No. 00 at MWR, and replaced two-time series champion Ryan Truex who moved up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Moffitt won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light earlier in the day Saturday and became the first driver since Ryan Moore in July of 2005 to lead every lap.

“Being able to start the season like that is amazing, and hopefully we never look back,” Moffitt said.

Coleman Pressley challenged Moffitt for the lead on Lap 136, and looked to have the line to move up front, but the caution flag came out which reverted the field back to the last completed green flag lap. Moffitt was too strong on the final restart and the closing laps, and Pressley had to settle for a runner-up finish in his K&N Pro Series East debut.

“We put ourselves in a good position, and there at one time I thought we had the lead from Brett, but cautions and restarts didn’t fall our way,” said Pressley, the son of past Greenville Pickens track champion Robert Pressley. “For the first time out for X Team Racing, we’ll take it, and go to South Boston and go for the win.

Rookies Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott finished third and fourth, respectively. Matt DiBenedetto, a teammate of Pressley and Bowman with X Team Racing, rounded out the top five.

Defending race winner Darrell Wallace Jr. was sixth, followed by Sergio Peña, Brandon McReynolds, Brandon Haley and Cody Hodgson.

Four months after his 15th birthday, Elliott also became the youngest driver in series history to take a green flag. With a finish of 22 positions higher than his starting spot, he took home the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award. Wallace was the Featherlite Most Improved Driver with a finish 19 spots better from the previous race while Bowman earned Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors as the highest finisher among the 18 rookies in the event.

There were a total of 12 drivers that made their first K&N Pro Series East start in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150, which saw 11 caution periods for 57 laps. Twenty-one cars finished on the lead lap.

The 2011 edition of the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 marked this sixth year in a row the series opened its season in Greenville. Each event has produced a different race winner, but Moffitt became the first to earn more than one pole as he was also the fastest qualifier in 2009.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to the track for the South Boston 150 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway on Saturday, April 16.