Top-Five in Chicago Boosts Lofton to 10th in Points Justin Lofton and the No. 7 Red Horse Racing team put together another strong run at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night, finishing fifth in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225. The finish boosted...
Top-Five in Chicago Boosts Lofton to 10th in Points
Justin Lofton and the No. 7 Red Horse Racing team put together another strong run at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night, finishing fifth in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225. The finish boosted Lofton to the tenth position in the point standings.
"I'm really proud of all of the guys on the VisitPIT.com No. 7 Toyota Tundra. They did a great job all weekend. This is really what we needed to keep going into Kentucky and the rest of the year," Lofton said.
The finish was Lofton's third top-five run, and fourth top-10 spanning the last five races.
Entering the race weekend, the Mark Rette led No. 7 team had momentum courtesy of their recent streak, in addition to Lofton's successful history on the 1.5-mile Chicago-area track. In 2009, Lofton earned the ARCA Racing Series win at Chicagoland Speedway. The confidence carried the team through two practice runs, which left them solidly within the top-10 on the speed chart both times.
Qualifying was much of the same for Lofton, as he laid down a solid lap, giving him the 10th starting position for the 150-lap race.
Once under green, Lofton held the position, relaying to Rette early in the run that the truck was consistent, running just a little loose on entry through the turns, and tight on exit.
A caution flag 30 laps into the event opened the door for Lofton to make his first trip down pit road. Rette called for a four-tire change. The crew did their job by performing a fast stop, gaining a few positions. Lofton took the restart on lap 35 from the seventh spot.
The race was a quiet one, with just five caution flags waving over the field. Lofton maintained his position within the top-10 through the majority of the race, noting late in the running that the truck continued to be just a bit tight through the center of the turns. Rette kept him on track, guiding him to try different lanes in the No. 7 Toyota for an advantage.
The caution flag dropped with 25 laps left to run, giving the No. 7 crew another opportunity to service their Toyota. Lofton pulled down pit road, taking on fuel and two right side tires. He pulled back on track for the restart on lap 130 from the fifth spot.
With two laps remaining, the caution waved yet again, forcing a green-white-checkered flag finish. Lofton took the restart in the high lane, mixing it up with the leaders in the closing laps. He challenged in the closing laps, crossing the stripe to claim his second straight top-five finish.
"Mark told me early that we had good tire wear, and the truck ran great all night long. We were in the top-10 most of the night. After that long run, I knew it was going to play right into our hands and it really did," Lofton said. "It feels really good to have these finishes coming together. I'm excited for the next one."
Lofton and the No. 7 team will next head to Kentucky Speedway for the Built Ford Tough 225 on Friday, September 3rd.