Lofton Makes Gains In Kentucky With 11th Place Run
Despite the chilly weather at the Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, things heated up for Justin Lofton and the No. 6 CollegeComplete.com Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team. The 25-year-old Lofton knocked out his highest qualifying effort of the season by starting the Kentucky 225 from the fifth position. After consistently running within the top-10, and racing his way as high as second, Lofton and the Dan Bormann led ESR team ended the night in the 11th position.
"Dan and the guys did such a great job on pit road. We mixed it up with different calls, but we really didn't need to do any major adjustments. The No. 6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet was fast and was a lot of fun to drive," Lofton said.
Shortly after taking the green flag for the start of the 150-lap race, Lofton radioed to crew chief Bormann that the truck was a bit tight after entry through the turns. When the second caution flag of the race fell on lap 22, Bormann called Lofton down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
With some other lead lap teams calling for fuel only or two tires, Lofton took the restart from the 21st position. 20 laps later the yellow flag waved yet again. Lofton had climbed his way into 14th at the time of the yellow, but relinquished the spot for another trip down pit road. This time, his ESR crew opted for fuel only as the other teams now took on four tires. The calls on pit road played into the team's hands, with Lofton lining up for the restart from the fourth spot.
Pit strategy came again on lap 67 when Bormann opted to top off on fuel again under another caution flag, and by the time the race hit the halfway mark on lap 75, Lofton showed in the seventh position.
Laps later, on lap 80, Lofton dropped down pit road yet again, this time telling Bormann that his No. 6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet was running "a half percent tight in the corners," adding, "new tires will probably fix it." After getting four fresh tires, he rejoined the race in 18th.
With the fresher tires, Lofton got up on the wheel and raced his way back into the top 10 with 57 laps remaining.
The race stayed under green for the remainder of the race, giving the field their only round of green flag pit stops. Bormann kept Lofton on track until laps 130, before calling him down for the final pit stop of the night. After relinquishing the second position on track, the ESR crew swapped out right side tires, added fuel, and sent Lofton on his way for the final 20-lap run. One lap later however, NASCAR called Lofton back down pit road in order to serve a drive through penalty for speeding down pit road.
With an extremely fast truck, Lofton didn't let the penalty get him down. With just 14 laps left in the race, he clocked in his fastest lap of the race. He also picked up three positions in the closing laps, moving him to 11th at the checkered flag.
The strong result boosted Lofton to 14th in the driver point standings and also moved team owner Eddie Sharp up a position in the owner point standings to 17th.
Justin Lofton Racing PR