Rockingham II: Eddie Sharp Racing preview

Last race review: Justin Lofton inherited the pole in Kansas after rain altered the on-track schedule. After quietly hanging around the top three for the majority of the race, Lofton put on quite a show late in the running, taking the lead with 11...

Last race review: Justin Lofton inherited the pole in Kansas after rain altered the on-track schedule. After quietly hanging around the top three for the majority of the race, Lofton put on quite a show late in the running, taking the lead with 11 laps remaining. A late caution flag however, set the field up for a green white checkered flag finish. Lofton's car ran stronger under longer runs and slipped back to second at the finish. Teammate Craig Goess also spent some time out front, leading eight laps during the race before finishing 10th. Tim George Jr. rounded out the ESR trifecta within the top 15 by finishing 15th. Goess and George Jr. both fought for their finishes after being involved in early spins.

Curtain call: This Sunday's race at Rockingham Speedway marks the 21st and final race of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. Eddie Sharp Racing enters the finale with driver Justin Lofton leading the way in the driver point standings. Lofton currently holds a 15-point lead over second place Parker Kligerman. The driver's title would be the first for the second-year ARCA racer Lofton. Lofton's teammates, Craig Goess and Tim George Jr., will put a capper on their rookie seasons as Goess sits fifth in points and George Jr. 11th, trying one final time to break into the top 10.

Additionally, while Lofton battles for the title and George Jr. guns for a 10th place points finish, all three ESR teams are solidly within the top 10 in the owner point standings. Lofton's No. 6 leads the way with a 170-point lead. The No. 81 is sixth and the No. 2 is 10th.

Championship count: Eddie Sharp Racing already has one championship under its belt this season; the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge. Lofton wrapped up the Challenge championship last week in Kansas following his runner-up finish. The Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge consisted of nine racetracks larger than one mile in length. The honor was the second consecutive for ESR. Last season Sharp earned the title with then driver Scott Speed.

Statistically speaking: Lofton, driving the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota, enters the finale with an impressive list of stats en route to his position atop the point standings. So far, he's notched six race wins spanning short tracks to superspeedways, and leads the series with 14 top five and 18 top 10 finishes. Goess, driving the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota, has two top fives and 12 top-10s. George Jr., driving the No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota, has one top five and two top-10s.

What they're saying:

Eddie Sharp, car owner
"Regardless of what happens on Sunday, it's been a wonderful year. We have a pretty good points lead on the owners side. We have to finish 33rd or better to lock it up. I really, really want Justin to be the driving champion. But whatever happens, it's been an amazing season. I tell the guys all of the time, 'It's not the destination, it's the journey. You have to remember the ride.'"

Justin Lofton, driver of the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota
"I'm looking forward to Rockingham. We're going for the win this weekend. That's what we need to do to win this championship. We're prepared. We really want this championship. It would mean so much to me, my crew chief Mark (Rette) and Eddie. We've all worked so hard and had such a good season."

Craig Goess, driver of the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota
"We're taking a different car than what we had at the test. Rockingham is a fun track. Hopefully we can run well there and end the season on a good note."

Tim George Jr., driver of the No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota
"I'm looking forward to going back to The Rock this weekend. I have a good shot at the top ten in drivers points, and our run at Kansas helped this. I felt really good towards the second half of the Kansas race, and I'm looking to start off at The Rock like I finished the Kansas race. We are bringing the same car from Kansas to Rockingham, and it's a nice piece. Finishing the season on a good note is what our sights are set on."

-credit: esr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Scott Speed , Justin Lofton , Tim George Jr. , Parker Kligerman , Craig Goess