Lofton Has Frustrating Day at Pocono; Finishes 11th Long Pond, Penn. (August 2, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton did not have the weekend at Pocono Raceway that he had anticipated. With strong momentum going into the weekend, the...
Lofton Has Frustrating Day at Pocono; Finishes 11th
Long Pond, Penn. (August 2, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton did not have the weekend at Pocono Raceway that he had anticipated. With strong momentum going into the weekend, the ninth place start and the 11th place finish for the Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono Raceway simply did not meet the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Team's high expectations.
"It was an unfortunate weekend for us," said Lofton. "We didn't show our true game. We will regroup this week and head to Nashville and pick up there."
Lofton fought a tight car during qualifying on Friday afternoon, running a 54.881-second lap to qualify the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge in the ninth starting position for Saturday's race.
Saturday morning teams were greeted by a torrential rainstorm that delayed the race for one-hour. Shortly after 2:00 p.m. ET the green flag flew for the start of the Pennsylvania 200. Lofton reported early that his Charger was tight going into the tricky triangle turns and loose driving out. During each pit stop the team made a variety of adjustments in hopes of freeing up the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge.
Lofton continued to wrestle the ill-handling car around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. A solid pit stop on lap 49 moved the No. 20 up five positions into the ninth position; however Lofton was fighting the car to stay in the top 10. Lofton and Crew Chief Wayne Carroll weighed their options over the radio during the lap 60 caution and finally decided to make a risky last pit stop if there was another caution in hopes of securing a better finish.
"Right now I'm coming off the turns in a four-wheel drift," said Lofton. "I'm so tight in that it is so loose off."
On lap 68 a multi-car wreck brought out the sixth caution of the day. The race was red-flagged on lap 69 for almost 15 minutes. The team agreed that with the current handling, the team would be lucky to get a tenth-place finish.
When the red flag was lifted and the race returned to pace-lap speed under the yellow flag, Lofton brought the Lofton Cattle Dodge to pit road on lap 70. The team made aggressive changes and sent Lofton back out to restart on lap 72 in the 20th position.
Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off. The race did not remain green for the final eight laps. The seventh and final caution of the day came at lap 73. Lofton had already climbed to the 17th position. When the race restarted with a green-white-checkered finish, Lofton put the hammer down and brought the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge in the 11th position.