Lofton Keeps Consistency in Nashville with 15th Place Run
Justin Lofton and the No. 6 CollegeComplete.com Eddie Sharp Racing team have been the epitome of consistency since reuniting three races ago. Friday night's race at Nashville Superspeedway was no different, as Lofton drove his way to another solid top-15 finish.
"We're building and learning every week. We kept adjusting on the CollegeComplete.com Toyota under the stops because we were having a bit of an issue through the center of the turns. Dan (Bormann, crew chief) got it going in the right direction, but we just ran out of laps. We needed one or two more restarts to get up there," Lofton said.
After running the No. 46 for the first two races since joining ESR, Lofton donned his old, familiar No. 6 in Nashville. Lofton and Sharp earned the ARCA Racing Series championship with the No. 6 in 2009 and decided to revisit their past by reclaiming the number.
With the No. 6 back on the side of his machine, Lofton had a busy day ahead with two practice runs, qualifying, and the 150-lap race on tap for Friday. Following the final practice run, he and the Dan Bormann-led team showed 12th on the speed chart.
After his two laps of qualifying later in the day on the 1.33-mile concrete track, the 25-year-old reported a slight loose condition, but muscled his CollegeComplete.com Toyota to the 20th starting spot on the grid for the Lucas Deep Clean 200.
Once under green flag conditions, he maintained the same message, stating to Bormann that the truck needed more grip through the center of the corners. Spotter, championship racer David Green, agreed with the loose condition, citing his view from above. He then did his best to give Lofton pointers about trying different lanes around the race track.
Lofton's first chance for relief fell under an exchange of green flag pit stops on lap 56. Bormann called for four fresh tires with an air pressure adjustment, fuel, and adding spring rubber to help the handling for Lofton. The additional adjustments took a little extra time, leaving Lofton 19th by the time the stops cycled through on lap 65.
Lofton's second stop came on lap 104 under the second yellow flag of the night. At that time, Lofton said the truck took the previous changes well, but began to fall off as the long run went on. Knowing there were less than 50 laps left in the race, Bormann opted to keep the final stop simple by swapping out the tires, switching up the air pressure, and adding enough fuel to go the distance.
At the time, the No. 6 CollegeComplete.com entry showed 18th on the scoring pylon, one lap down. Within laps however, the yellow flag would wave again, making Lofton the beneficiary of rejoining the lead lap.
Lofton took the final restart from the 17th position with 37 laps remaining. He quickly got to work, picking up as many spots as he could in the closing laps. After an intense three-wide battle with Ron Hornaday and Ricky Carmichael, Lofton prevailed, moving into 15th, where he remained through the closing laps.
"I feel like if we would have had a few more laps and maybe another restart, we could have picked up a lot more spots. The truck really came to us there at the end," Lofton said.
Following Nashville Lofton moved up a spot to 17th in the driver point standings and team owner Eddie Sharp also gained a position to 19th in the owner standings.
Justin Lofton PR