Stellar Start; Rough Finish for Lofton at the "Rock" Rockingham, N.C. (May 4, 2008) -- The temperature wasn't the only thing that was hot this weekend at Rockingham Speedway. Justin Lofton solidly landed the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge landed...
Stellar Start; Rough Finish for Lofton at the "Rock"
Rockingham, N.C. (May 4, 2008) -- The temperature wasn't the only thing that was hot this weekend at Rockingham Speedway. Justin Lofton solidly landed the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge landed in the third starting position for the Carolina 500 at Rockingham Speedway. He moved quickly into second and looked to be one of the dominating factors in Sunday's race. High hopes came to a crashing halt when lapped cars spinning on the backstretch collected Lofton and other front-running cars. The Lofton Cattle team worked to keep the Lofton on track, but succumbed to the damage and retired in the 43rd position.
"It was just a very frustrating day," stated Lofton. "To have such a great qualifying lap and to start on the second row shows the caliber of the team we truly are. It is just so unfortunate that we were caught up in a mess caused by lapped traffic on lap 10. We had a very strong car that was more than capable of contending for the win if we had been there at the end."
Justin Lofton was the second-to-last car to go out for qualifying. The No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge ripped off a 24.693 second lap to put him 3rd on the starting grid. Lofton was all smiles as he climbed into the car and buckled in for the grueling 312 lap race. Only ten laps later, Lofton was limping the No. 20 back to the garage for repairs, a victim of the melee caused by already lapped cars.
The Lofton Cattle team worked feverishly to put the No. 20 back on the track in order to retain as many positions as possible. Knowing they were running at a far slower speed than the leaders, Dan Fusaro, spotter for the No. 20, worked to communicate with other teams as to avoid further conflict. Fusaro received word that one particular team wanted the high side when they came past the Lofton Cattle Dodge. Lofton complied and when the car approached him, he moved to the low side. Unfortunately, the driver dove to the inside, despite the hand gestures of Lofton, directing him to the high side as the spotter had requested. Hard contact between the two ended the day for the Lofton Cattle team.
"It was a very unfortunate day for the Lofton Cattle Dodge and Eddie Sharp Racing," said Lofton. "We had very fast car today. But, there is nothing we can do now. We will pack up, hold our heads high, and head to Kentucky next weekend. As a team we are getting better and better each week. I think we will be very strong at Kentucky and I am really looking forward to racing there."
Next Stop: Lofton and the Lofton Cattle team travel to Sparta, Kentucky this weekend for the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150. The green flag drops at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2008.