Salem II: Eddie Sharp Racing preview

ESR Heads to Salem for Short Track Showdown DENVER, N.C. (September 11, 2008) -- Scott Speed, Justin Lofton, and Ken Butler, III return this weekend to Salem Speedway for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 by Advanced Auto Parts. The pressure is...

ESR Heads to Salem for Short Track Showdown

DENVER, N.C. (September 11, 2008) -- Scott Speed, Justin Lofton, and Ken Butler, III return this weekend to Salem Speedway for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 by Advanced Auto Parts. The pressure is on the talented trio as the conclusion of 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season approaches. ESR has packed a punch this season with a grand total of five wins, six pole positions, 14 top-5 and 27 top-10 finishes in 17 races.

Speed heads to Salem with a 50-point margin separating him from second-place Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in the chase to the Championship. Speed also continues to lead the pack for SunTrust Rookie of the Year and Superspeedway Challenge honors. Crew Chief Patrick Donahue is leading the Cometic Crew Chief of the Year standings. Speed's inaugural visit to Salem in April marked the former F1 driver's first short-track stock car start. Speed qualified and finished in the fifth position. Speed has led 395 laps in 13 of the 17 races this season.

Lofton made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Salem in April. The Westmorland, California-native returns to the 0.555-mile paved oval 13th in points after only 16 starts. Lofton has come a long way since that cold and rainy April afternoon. With one win (MIS) and a SIM Factory Pole Award (Cayuga) this season, Lofton is looking forward to returning to Salem where he was very competitive in his debut. Dominating over half of the 200-lap event in the top-10, green flag repairs caused the Lofton Cattle Dodge to fall 12 laps behind the leader and take the checkered flag in the 19th position.

This weekend marks KBIII's fourth start at the Southern Indiana short track in the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota. In last year's fall event, the No. 22 started in the thirteenth position and after a well-fought effort, took the checkered flag in the eleventh place. KBIII and his Aaron's Lucky Dog team knew they had a car that could win in April 2008. Contact in a multi-car accident put the No. 22 over 40 laps down as the team worked return KBIII to the track. KBIII remained a fast car and finished in the 20th position. KBIII found his first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory lane last year at a short track (Toledo Speedway) and is hungry for his second career win. Following last weekend's tenth-place finish at Chicagoland, KBIII jumped into the 7th position in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship point standings.

The ESR drivers are ready to beat and bang in the final 2008 short track showdown at Salem Speedway. Here are some quotes from each of the ESR drivers:

Scott Speed (No. 2 Red Bull Toyota):

"We literally have got to use the best cars we have at the shop each week. We cannot have any mistakes these last four races. If something goes wrong that is out of our control, then so be it, but we have all got to stay calm and do our jobs and hopefully it comes together in the end."

Justin Lofton (No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge):

"I'm really looking forward to returning to Salem. We were really strong in April but just didn't get the finish the car was capable of because we had to pit under green when we had a tire go down. It will be nice to return to where it all started this year and with the experience that I and the team now have under our belts."

Ken Butler, III (No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota):

"With the experience we have as a team now on the short tracks, I am confident that we can run the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota right up to the front this weekend. At any short track, you need to play it smart, keep the fenders on, and dig deep for patience. We're planning to do just that and make our move at the end."

ARCA RE/MAX Series practice runs from 1:05 p.m. to 2:35 p.m. on Saturday, September 13, 2008. SIM Factory Pole Qualifying follows at 3:30 p.m. Drivers will sign autographs on the Salem Speedway front stretch from 4:45 p.m. until 5:15 p.m. The green flag for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 by Advanced Auto Parts drops at 7:15 p.m. All times listed are EASTERN.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Scott Speed , Ken Butler III , Justin Lofton