Lofton 11th in Loudon Justin Lofton and the No. 7 visitpit.com team continued their string of solid finishes on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, adding an 11th place finish to their record. Lofton started the 175-lap race from the 10th...
Lofton 11th in Loudon
Justin Lofton and the No. 7 visitpit.com team continued their string of solid finishes on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, adding an 11th place finish to their record. Lofton started the 175-lap race from the 10th position, and despite a challenging handling issue on his Toyota, wheeled his way to his ninth top-15 finish of the season.
"I'm really proud of all of my guys on this No. 7 team. We worked hard all weekend to get it dialed in. We fell a little bit short but Mark Rette did a great job, as always, making changes to help. We were scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do on the truck, so to come out of here with 11th, that isn't so bad," Lofton said.
Lofton, running the 1.058-mile New Hampshire track for the second time this season within NASCAR competition, noted throughout both practice sessions on Friday afternoon that the truck needed help with its rotation. Shot-caller Mark Rette read up on his notes and tweaked on the machine a bit before qualifying, making the right calls as Lofton laid down a speed good enough for a top-10 start.
Once racing began, an early caution flag at the start allowed Lofton to radio to his crew that he had noticed that the front tires were chattering a bit through turn 1, adding that the truck was overall pretty good.
On lap 10 and again on lap 28, the California native relayed that he felt like he was really using up the right front tire. Rette coached him to hit his marks on track, but to be as easy as he could on the entry into the corners.
After an extended green flag run, the next caution flag opened the door for the No. 7 crew to make their first pit stop of the day. Lofton, looking mainly for help with the rotation of the truck, guided his Tundra down pit road as his pit crew sprang into action, giving him four fresh tires and an adjustment by way of a track bar adjustment and air pressure.
Rette promptly climbed off of the pit box and looked over the old tires, informing Lofton that the tire wear on the right sides looked good, despite the feel of the truck. Lofton continued on, showing in the ninth spot for the restart on lap 66.
As the race hit halfway, Lofton continued to challenge within the top-10, running as high as seventh. Multiple yellow flags slowed the pace of the race, with another waving on lap 130, allowing the team to make another pit stop. Again, they swapped out all four tires, and made another slight chassis adjustment. This time, Lofton took the restart from the 11th position.
Shortly after the restart, he radioed to his crew that the truck running ahead of him leaked fluid all over his windshield, hindering his view. Unable to forfeit track position, Lofton stayed on track, relying heavily on spotter Jeremy Brickhouse.
Thanks to the guidance of his eyes in the sky and his stellar ability behind the wheel, Lofton was able to maintain his position. Fortunately, he was able to pit again on lap 160 when another yellow waved. This time, the crew swapped out only the right side tires, with yet another chassis adjustment, as they looked for a boost over the final 15 laps.
One more caution flag slowed the race, leaving a three-lap dash to the checkered flag. Lofton took the final restart from the 14th spot, dug in, and despite the ongoing handling woes, wheeled his way just outside of the top-10 in 11th.
Lofton and the No. 7 team will next hit the track on Saturday, September 25th in Las Vegas, NV.