By Dustin Albino

Brett Moffitt, AM Racing team owner Kevin Cywinski and team president Wade Moore sat down at a table at Duckworth‘s Grill & Taphouse in Huntersville, N.C. last year. The objective was to create a game plan for the 2023 Xfinity Series season, as AM Racing was starting a new team from scratch.

The trio wanted to hash out all the details for a team making the jump from the Craftsman Truck Series. It needed to map out how to run competitively out of the gate. 

“I wasn‘t sure what their intentions were,” Moffitt recalled of the lunch meeting. “We went to lunch and they basically said, ‘We want to do this and want to do it right and we want you to drive the car for us.‘ From that point on, I was fully committed and thankful everything fell into place the way it did.

Cywinski, former owner of Win-Tron Racing, wanted to make sure the team crossed its T‘s and dotted its I‘s before making the jump. The team surveyed the landscape of manufacturers and agreed that Ford was the way to go. Previously, AM Racing fielded Chevrolets in the Truck Series. With it came an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing, which upped its own program to two full-time teams for the 2023 season.

“It gave us a leg to stand on that there wasn‘t a field full of Fords in the Xfinity Series,” Cywinski stated. “In our mind, it warranted them to look at us if we could back up what we thought we could do.”

Over the offseason, AM Racing made a key acquisition in hiring crew chief Joe Williams, who previously worked with Moffitt at Our Motorsports. To position the right people in the right places was among the main objectives, so the team could come out swinging in its first season. 

AM Racing‘s goal, internally, was to compete for a playoff spot in its first season. While that‘s a tall task for any first-year team, all members of its Xfinity team were up for the challenge.

“Our own expectations are a lot higher than everybody on the outside looking in,” Moffit said. “It‘s gone well and we‘ve shown that we can run great. We‘ve shown that we can have great speed. But as a new team, we‘ve had our ups and downs with execution errors. We‘ve had some of the new-team issues throughout the season, but we‘re growing and getting better each week.”

The team has been competitive more weeks than not. Moffitt highlights the Chicago Street Race of proving the No. 25 team is capable of competing for wins, as he was a staple inside the top five and finished a season-best fourth. In 24 races, the team has seven top-10 efforts. 

Cywinski isn‘t all that surprised with the team‘s ability to put full races together. 

“We thought with Brett‘s talent, the backing that we were able to put in place with the team, our goal still is to make the playoffs,” he said. “We feel Brett can win as much as anybody in the next few races and win our way in. We have the opportunity to win a race this year, so we set our goals as making the playoffs. That was making it and if we finished last in the playoffs, that was a win. That‘s the top cog of what we were trying to achieve this year.”

Moffitt took a chance on AM Racing. At the end of the 2021 season, he began working as Hendrick Motorsports‘ simulator driver. He was primarily tuning in setups for the Next Gen car and would share data with the team‘s drivers. 

With the switch in teams and more importantly manufacturers, Moffitt had to give up that duty. He lost his ride at Our Motorsports in the middle of the 2022 season to Blaine Perkins who brought in funding, but he remained employed by HMS. That was comforting for the 2018 Truck Series champion. 

Ah, yes, Truck Series champion. It might feel like a lifetime ago, but it was only a handful of years ago that Moffitt was dominating the Truck Series en route to the title with limited sponsorship at Hattori Racing Enterprises. He was replaced the following season and joined GMS Racing before moving to the Xfinity Series with Our. Once again, he was replaced for money. 

Now, Moffitt can showcase his talent. But contentment doesn‘t cross his mind. It can‘t. 

“The bad days are still bad; we‘re all competitive,” he noted. “But when we go out and prove what we can do, it‘s a great feeling. Until we‘re collecting trophies, we‘re never going to settle.”

With how top-heavy the Xfinity Series can get, Moffitt considers a successful day when he can run inside the top 10 without any attrition. The path the No. 25 team is on is similar to recent upstart teams such as Kaulig Racing or Big Machine Racing, which is battling for its first postseason berth in its third year. 

“It‘s taken a lot of these teams a lot of years to be able to [run inside the top 10],” Moffitt said. “They are to the point now where they win races, but it‘s a three to five-year project to do that. It‘s been tough, but we‘re doing well.”

Moffitt doesn‘t believe the No. 25 team has any glaring weaknesses. With only 20 minutes of practice for the majority of races, whether the team is successful or not comes down to if it unloads fast and executes a full weekend.

The next step is to run inside the top 10 regularly and compete for top fives and wins. But as Moffitt said, that‘s a huge step.

“We want to be a winning race team,” he added. “The goal is to have nobody surprised when we‘re doing that. Doing it on a regular basis, win races and fight for a championship.”

AM Racing is also interested in starting a second team. The original plan was to debut the entry during the 2023 season, but it will likely wait for the new year to start. An announcement on that team is expected to come soon. 

“I think the sky is the limit for us with the way we performed this year and with what we‘ve got working for us for 2024,” Cywinski said.

First up are races at Darlington Raceway and Kansas Speedway, two racetracks that Moffitt has run well at in the past. This time around, he will need to be perfect in order to get the No. 25 team into the postseason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *