Illinois: Justin Lofton race report

Lofton earns pole, leads laps, grabs another top 10 on dirt track On Sunday, Justin Lofton continued to showcase his skills behind the wheel of a stockcar, moving from asphalt to the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in the Allen Crowe 100...

Lofton earns pole, leads laps, grabs another top 10 on dirt track

On Sunday, Justin Lofton continued to showcase his skills behind the wheel of a stockcar, moving from asphalt to the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in the Allen Crowe 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series event.

In what is becoming a usual display for Lofton, he showed early that his No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota was the car to beat. After running consistent lap times throughout the one and only practice session on Sunday morning, Lofton laid down an impressive qualifying lap in 32.552 seconds, a top speed at 110.592 mph, setting a new track record en route to his fifth pole award of the season.

At the drop of the green flag, Lofton guided his No. 6 machine to a lengthy lead, dominating the first 21 laps of the race.

Under the direction of crew chief Mark Rette, Lofton's one and only pitstop fell under a caution flag on lap 22, as he relinquished the lead, for fuel only.

With other lead lap cars opting for different pit strategy, Lofton settled in while stops cycled through. His patience paid off as a caution flag waved just as the race hit the halfway mark. After a restart, Lofton was then able to chase down the leader at the time, Frank Kimmel, making the pass for the lead on lap 69 as the two battled lapped traffic.

Lofton's No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing entry then led the way for the next 18 laps. Gunning for his third straight series win, Lofton gave it everything he had as he battled in the closing laps. But as the racing intensified on the one-mile, clay-surfaced track, the left side tires of Lofton's Toyota suffered a bit of damage after contact with another car while battling for the lead.

The race was extended to 103 laps thanks to a green-white-checkered flag finish following a late caution flag. Despite the damage and used up tires, after leading a race high 40 laps, Lofton guided his machine to another consistent finish, as he crossed the stripe in sixth. The finish provided Lofton with his 12th top-10 run of the season.

"I felt like we hit it pretty good. We got the pole, led a lot of laps, I felt like we were in a good position there. It just fell off a bit towards the end after we got a bit of contact, it just wasn't the same. It's racing. Those things happen. But it really would have been great to get one on dirt," Lofton said.

"We are still within striking distance and we'll take that with us to Chicago and get them there," he added, citing his solid second place position in the point standings.

Lofton and the No. 6 team will next hit the track this Friday, August 28th, at Chicagoland Speedway for the Ansell Cut Protection 150.

-credit: esr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Justin Lofton