Team ESR, Lofton tally fifth win, Goess another top 10 at Toledo Eddie Sharp Racing driver Justin Lofton drove to his fifth race win of the season on Friday night at Toledo Speedway, taking the checkered flag in the ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by...
Team ESR, Lofton tally fifth win, Goess another top 10 at Toledo
Eddie Sharp Racing driver Justin Lofton drove to his fifth race win of the season on Friday night at Toledo Speedway, taking the checkered flag in the ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by Belle Tire. The entire ESR organization flexed its muscle on Friday, with all three teams running within the top 10 for the majority of the event. Teammate Craig Goess continued his consistency within the top 10, crossing the finish line behind Lofton in the sixth position. Tim George Jr. was running in the eighth position late in the running before contact hampered his run. He ended the night in 16th.
Lofton started the 100-miler from the outside of the front row in the Valvoline Instant Oil Change sponsored No. 6 Toyota. He first moved into the lead on lap 68. After pitstops cycled through, all three ESR teams found themselves battling within the top 10. As Lofton led the way, teammate Goess ran third in the blue and white Greenville Toyota of N.C. entry while George Jr., who battled his way from a 19th starting position, ran eighth.
Once the race hit the halfway mark, race leader Lofton opted to relinquish his lead in order to make a pitstop for four fresh tires. The restart fell on lap 106 with George Jr. holding down the 10th position with teammates Lofton and Goess chasing him, lingering around the top 15. But it didn't take long for either driver to work their way back into contention.
Having won three of the last four races entering Toledo, and given his history on the short track, Lofton was again a clear favorite. Following a caution flag on lap 142, he took advantage of the restart, jumping to the inside for the second position. Goess followed him through the traffic, and with 50 laps left to run, was fifth on the board.
George Jr., who has a background in road racing, was holding his own as well, running eighth late in the running but contact while battling for position with 25 laps to go, caused his No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota to spin in turn 4. The incident brought out the caution flag and set the field for a restart 21 laps from the finish.
At the drop of the green flag for the restart, Lofton lined up behind pole-sitter and current leader Joey Coulter. A lap down following his spin, George Jr. started to the inside. Coulter led Lofton down the frontstretch for the restart and Lofton quickly jockeyed for position, overpowering the rookie for the lead off of turn 3.
Despite another caution flag dropping in the closing laps, Lofton maintained the top spot and drove off to his fifth race win of the 2009 season. It was the No. 6 ESR team's fourth race win spanning the last five events.
"It was absolutely awesome. The win here has eluded me for the last three races now and I had to pull one off. Especially since it was the last time we're coming here. I'm excited, to win at Toledo, ARCA's home track. It means a lot to me," an elated Lofton said from victory lane.
Goess followed, finishing sixth, securing his tenth top 10 of the season. Following the contact on lap 175, George Jr. finished 16th.
Lofton continues to lead the point standings, now 65 markers ahead of the second place Parker Kligerman. Goess maintained fifth and George Jr. remains within striking distance of the top 10, as he sits 11th.