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Moving Up Fast: Teens Moffitt and Rudolph land top rides for 2009

By Jason Christley, NASCAR
November 11, 2008 - 1:37pm

A pair of championship contending teams will see new faces in the driver’s seat for 2009.

Andy Santerre Motorsports recently announced that 16-year-old Brett Moffitt will fill the seat for at least seven races of the NASCAR Camping World Series season. And Erick Rudolph, also 16, reached a deal to drive a partial season for Ed Bennett Racing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Rudolph, who made nine starts in 2008, will combine his time with Ed Bennett with his ride with DeLange Racing to compete in the full schedule next year.

Moffitt, from Grimes, Iowa, will run in the NASCAR Camping World Series West race at Phoenix International Raceway and run the remaining six races in the NASCAR Camping World Series East. They are pursuing sponsorship in an attempt to run the complete East schedule.

“This is the next step up in my career so I’m really excited to get the opportunity to drive for someone like Andy Santerre. He is obviously well respected in the series for the things he’s done as a car owner and driver. He’s won a lot, so there’s no one better to learn from,” Moffitt said in a team release.

Moffitt became the youngest winner of the Harris Clash at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway in 2007 and was the ASA Late Model North rookie of the year in 2008 after recording five wins. Moffitt caught Santerre’s eye racing against Steve Carlson, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion.

“He drove that car like a veteran,” Santerre said of Moffitt. “I was really impressed with his ability and I have no doubt in my mind that he has the potential to be successful in the Camping World Series.”

Santerre, a four-time champion as a driver, has fielded cars in the past three years for Peyton Sellers, Sean Caisse, Austin Dillon, and Jeffrey Earnhardt. Caisse had back-to-back runner-up points finishes in 2006 and ’07, while Sellers finished off an eighth-place points finish in 2008 with a win in the season finale.

Rudolph had a top five and five top 10s this past season in his first experience on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“I truly believe Erick Rudolph has the talent to race successfully on the NASCAR Modified Tour,” said Bennett in a team release. “I see a bright future for both teams and I'm really looking forward to next season.”

Ed Bennett and driver Matt Hirschman parted ways after the 2008 season. Splitting his time driving for Bennett and Wayne Darling, Hirschman finished second in points behind champion Ted Christopher.

“His equipment is top-notch and his methods are very similar to our team,” Dave DeLange said in a team release. “From a logistical viewpoint this arrangement will allow both teams to put forth a maximum effort at every race to make the most of our results. For our team it will also allow us to race locally more often and meet our commitments to our sponsors and our loyal fans. Both Ed and I see it as a win-win situation.”