Toledo II: Justin Lofton race report

Flat Tire Ends Charge for Victory Lane at Toledo for Lofton TOLEDO, Ohio (October 14, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton and his Lofton Cattle team had the car to beat this weekend in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season finale at ...

Flat Tire Ends Charge for Victory Lane at Toledo for Lofton

TOLEDO, Ohio (October 14, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton and his Lofton Cattle team had the car to beat this weekend in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season finale at Toledo Speedway. Qualifying on the pole position and setting a new track record, Lofton led the most laps of the Hantz Group 200. A flat tire ended the hopes of a win in the final race of the season with Lofton taking the checkered flag in the 12th position.

"What a disappointing way to end the season," said Lofton. "It was such a great car. We were so fast and if that tire hadn't gone down, we were going to be in Victory Lane, I have no doubt about it. I want to thank the Lofton Cattle team for a great weekend and a fantastic year! I really appreciate the opportunity that Eddie Sharp gave me and the chance to run as well as I did."

Saturday afternoon, Lofton set a new track record qualifying the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge for the SIM Factory Pole Award with a 15.860-second lap around the 0.5-mile speedway.

When the green flag fell on Sunday for the 21st and final race of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Season, the Lofton Cattle Dodge jumped out to a commanding lead, often leading ESR teammate Scott Speed by 20 car lengths. Lofton held the lead until lap 73 when he came down pit road under caution. The Red Bull pit crew, who came down to the Lofton Cattle pit stall to help their ESR teammates, jumped out and put on four fresh tires and fuel.

Lofton restarted the race and quickly climbed his way back to the top-5 by lap 105. Lofton worked past eventual race winner Justin Allgaier for the third position and raced Matt Carter hard to move into second. On lap 169, race leader David Ragan suffered a cut tire and Lofton moved to the first position. With only 31 laps remaining, the Lofton Cattle team held their breath. The team's win at Michigan International Speedway also came as Lofton chased a leader who suffered the same tire fate. Two laps later, Lofton radioed his team that his right front was down. Having to pit under the green flag was costly, putting Lofton two laps down to the leader and ultimately finishing in the 12th position.

Leading 75 out of 200 laps, Lofton was awarded the Aaron's Lap Leader award for most laps led in the Hantz Group 200.

"Justin Lofton represents everything this company stands for," commented Team Owner Eddie Sharp. "He is a great kid and he's fast in a race car. He is definitely on his way up. It was an honor to have him as a part of our program. I would love to do more with him in the future."

"I am still working on my plans for the future," added Lofton. "I hope to have some announcements over the next couple of months. As for immediate plans, I will be racing the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Chevy Trophy Truck in the Baja 1000 in November. I'm really excited about that. We're testing next week actually. Should be a lot of fun!"

Next Stop: Justin Lofton will drive the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Chevy Trophy Truck in the Tecate Baja 1000. Race dates are November 20-23, 2008 in Ensenada, Baja California. Lofton is testing his Chevy next week in Plaster City, CA.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Scott Speed , David Ragan , Justin Allgaier , Justin Lofton