USAR: Iowa CS: Matt Lofton race notes

Lofton Has Solid Top-Five Finish in Iowa; Remains in Championship Hunt Newton, Iowa (September 19, 2009) -- The 2009 USARacing Pro Cup Series has been a year of ups and downs for many teams on the circuit, but for Matt Lofton and his ...

Lofton Has Solid Top-Five Finish in Iowa; Remains in Championship Hunt

Newton, Iowa (September 19, 2009) -- The 2009 USARacing Pro Cup Series has been a year of ups and downs for many teams on the circuit, but for Matt Lofton and his Strutmasters.com crew, it has been a year of continuous progress. Lofton continued his improvements with a solid fourth place finish in Saturday's Pork 200 presented by Cookies Sauces and Seasonings at Iowa Speedway.

There was one minor drawback early in the day when Lofton drew a poor qualifying draw, which the team felt hindered their qualifying efforts, leaving them with a sixth place starting position. But the Strutmasters Chevrolet rallied back and remained one of the quickest cars on the track come race time.

"We had an awesome car all weekend and we unloaded fast. We had a little bit of a bad draw in qualifying though. We went out second and qualified sixth. That wasn't near as good as we ran in practice, but we were able to run well all race long."

This was Lofton's second appearance at Iowa Speedway, and although he didn't have the best finish last year, knew that he was going to run well this time around. Lofton ran a smart patient race in the early laps of the event, and picked up the pace after a few great pit stops in the last half.

"It's really difficult to pass here, so the first part of the race we just kind of rode around there in fifth," commented Lofton. "We had some good pit stops there at the end of the race and even had a chance to lead. We restarted second with about 60 or 70 laps to go, but had a bad restart and dropped back to seventh. We were able to work our way back up to fourth in the last 50 laps. We just kind of ran out of time by then."

This top-five finish keeps Lofton in the Championship hunt with just two races left. A disappointing finish at the Championship Series opener at Concord [N.C.] Speedway when a late race wreck left him with a finish just outside the top-ten after running competitively all night long. But Lofton bounced back at Iowa and is now within 78 points of the point leader. Lofton and his crew feel they are just as much in the running as anyone else.

"We have to keep it consistent. We had a great run going at Concord, but a late race incident took us out of the running there. We did everything we had to do at Iowa to keep ourselves in it. If we have two more races like that, then we really have a chance [a Championship]," explained Lofton. "As good as we were at Iowa; I feel really confident going into Rockingham. We have a chance at Rockingham and we always have a chance at South Boston. So if we have an opportunity to run in the top three at these last two races, and I can minimize any mistakes, we can win a championship."

Lofton has two weeks off before traveling to Rockingham [N.C.] Speedway for the Aaron's 150 presented by Black's Tire & Auto on Oct. 10. The season concludes Oct. 31 at South Boston [Va.] Speedway when the series champion will be crowned.

-credit: mlPR

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Series STOCKCAR