Ponoco II: Justin Lofton race report

Lofton wins Pocono, reclaims points lead For the second week in a row, Justin Lofton started from the pole, dominated the race and ended his day celebrating in victory lane, winning the Pennsylvania ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway on...

Lofton wins Pocono, reclaims points lead

For the second week in a row, Justin Lofton started from the pole, dominated the race and ended his day celebrating in victory lane, winning the Pennsylvania ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday.

"Mark Rette (crew chief) and everyone on the No. 6 did a fantastic job," Lofton exclaimed after notching his second consecutive race win for Eddie Sharp Racing.

Driving the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota, Lofton had to hold off a hungry Steve Arpin twice in the closing laps. A caution flag fell less than seven laps from the finish of the 80-lap race, forcing the restart with just three laps remaining. Arpin and the points leader entering the event, Parker Kligerman, however, got together battling for second, sending Kligerman into the outside wall.

The contact forced another caution to drop, extending the race with a green-white-checkered flag finish. By all appearances the final restart seemed pressure-free for the 23-year-old Lofton as he jumped out to a comfortable lead, but in reality the crew was intensely worried about going the distance on fuel.

Lofton made only one stop throughout the 200-miler, stopping just at the halfway mark in the race. Though multiple caution flags slowed the pace of the race, the track length, measuring 2.5-miles, and the additional laps, left the second-year ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor worried as to just how close they were at the finish.

"I was nervous when that last caution came out. I knew we were on the edge. Mark told me a few times to save as much as I could," Lofton said.

It was Lofton's third race win of the season, the fourth of his career. He dominated the day, leading 65 of the possible 82 laps. The win, in tandem with Kligerman's misfortune, catapulted Lofton back into the points lead. He now leads Kligerman by five points.

Though the ARCA RE/MAX Series has a break in its schedule through the August 23rd race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Lofton will be staying busy and carry his race-winning momentum to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Lofton is set to make his NASCAR debut at Michigan International Speedway on August 15th, driving a Toyota for CJM Racing. Lofton's ARCA crew chief Mark Rette will lead his debut weekend and the No. 6 crew will prepare and pit his car.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Justin Lofton , Steve Arpin , Parker Kligerman