Driver Justin Lofton and team owner Eddie Sharp parted ways following the 2009 racing season. At the time, there wasn't much left for the two to accomplish. After all, they had just won the ARCA Racing Series championship in dominant fashion. Spanning the last year and a half since their separation, Lofton and Sharp ventured separately into NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) competition. Despite trying to beat each other on track during that time, their friendship and the fire to recapture their winning ways brought the two back together, as Lofton will take over behind the wheel of Sharp's No. 46 Toyota when the trucks hit the track in Kentucky on July 7th.
"I am really excited about it. It feels like we're going back home. I had so much success with Eddie, and we have a great relationship beyond an owner-driver working relationship," Lofton said of his return to Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR).
"When you run the Truck Series, it is so competitive. You can't be off with the setups or communication. One little thing can throw everything off. Working with Eddie eliminates all of that."
Lofton first teamed up with Sharp in 2008 after three seasons in the K&N Pro Series West. After just eight ARCA Racing Series starts behind the wheel of a Sharp entry, the California racer made his first trip to victory lane at Michigan. Through 20 races, he earned three top-five and five top-10s.
The following season in 2009, the Sharp-Lofton pairing dominated the series by earning 15 top-fives and 19 top-10s spanning the 21 race schedule. They visited victory lane six times, after leading over 1,000 laps of competition.
Lofton moved full-time to NASCAR in 2010, running three Nationwide Series events and the entire Camping World Truck Series schedule. He earned four top-five and eight top-10s, with a best finish of third. At the same time, Sharp narrowly missed his second ARCA championship, falling a mere 20 points shy of the top spot following the season finale in Rockingham. Once the ARCA season concluded, Sharp ventured into the Truck Series.
2011 marks ESR's first full season in NCWTS competition. After the first nine races, the team has a best finish of ninth and shows 23rd in the owner standings. Lofton has a best finish of 10th and is 18th in the driver point standings.
The competitor in both Sharp and Lofton strives for more, which is what led to the discussion of a possible reunion.
"When the call came in, it felt like all of the pieces fit. I was working on filling the seat and everything just fell together. It speaks volumes for the relationship and trust that was built between us. I know this is what we both need," Sharp said of Lofton's return.
"We have a few weeks to get everything in order behind the scenes, but overall, it's like we never missed a beat. I'm really looking forward to seeing him climb behind the wheel of my trucks."
Justin Lofton Racing PR