Kligerman Fights Off Lofton in Fantastic Finish at Kansas; Narrows Point Lead to Rockingham KANSAS CITY KS (10-1-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman, in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, drove past Justin Lofton on the final restart...
Kligerman Fights Off Lofton in Fantastic Finish at Kansas; Narrows Point Lead to Rockingham
KANSAS CITY KS (10-1-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman, in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, drove past Justin Lofton on the final restart and then fought him off over the last two laps to win the Kansas Lottery 150 Thursday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.
The Westport, Connecticut driver also narrowed Lofton's point lead to just 15 points headed into the season championship finale next Sunday at Rockingham Speedway.
"When we were coming to the end of that long green flag run we really tightened up as the track heated up and put rubber down," said Kligerman, who earned his eighth victory of the season. "We were really good for 25 lap runs and then after that we start to lose the right front and I did everything I could but Justin (Lofton) was coming on strong, really strong. Finally he got by me and I just tried to stay close enough. I was able to jump a little bit and he spun the tires (on the restart) and he kind of went to the inside when he spun it and I just went straight to the outside.
"I was worried about whether or not we were going to be able to hold him off at the end just because of how strong he was prior to that restart. I was just hoping that my car wouldn't tighten up and thankfully we made it past that second lap and won."
Lofton, in the Lofton Cattle Toyota, had a 10-length lead over Kligerman inside of 10 laps to go when a late-race caution came out five laps from the finish. That set the stage for a green-white-checker finish during which the leader Lofton spun his tires on the restart coming to the green flag while Kligerman drove by on the outside. Lofton, who got inside of Kligerman's left-rear quarter panel coming to the white flag, made one last ditch effort to the high-side off turn four coming to the checkered flag but fell short by two lengths at the final stripe.
"Parker (Kligerman) raced me clean at Salem and I was going to do the same thing," said Lofton. "I really had a run going and it could have been very easy for me to just run into his back bumper and just to move him out of the way but he showed me respect last week and I was going to do it this week. I went into the corner and I said I don't have enough room right here; I'm just going to hold the wheel right, stand on the gas and hope for the best, but that's all we had."
Grant Enfinger raced his BeasleyAllen.com Ford from the 29th starting position to finish third.
"We were just a little bit off this weekend but to be a little bit off and still finish third is pretty good especially for our team," said Enfinger. "I was hoping for a little bit better of a restart on the green-white-checker there but I just messed up a little bit. Spun the tires and even went into second gear and I was still spinning the tires so a good job by everyone running behind me for not piling into us."
Frank Kimmel was fourth in the Ansell-Menards Ford.
"Well that's another top-five, so it was a good race for us today," said Kimmel. "We just battled tight all day, but we really worked hard as a team to overcome some obstacles. I'm just really proud of all these guys and proud to be racing this Ansell-Menards Ford Fusion."
Beau Slocumb finished fifth in the Wolfpack Rentals-Red Line Oil Toyota.
Kligerman dominated much of the race, leading 75 of 103 laps, but in the end, it was Lofton who had the faster car. Lofton erased Kligerman's three-second lead inside of 20 laps from the finish and made the pass down the backstretch to lead the 89th lap. From there, Lofton continually pulled away from Kligerman and appeared to be on his way to victory lane before the final caution period changed everything.
Mikey Kile, Joey Coulter, Steve Arpin, Hal Martin and Craig Goess completed the top-10 finishers respectively.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series will wrap up its 2009 season next weekend at Rockingham Speedway where the series will crown the new champion following Sunday's October 11th American 200. Lofton leads Kligerman by just 15 points headed into the big championship weekend at Rockingham.