Tire Troubles Hinder Lofton from Strong Finish Four flat tires in one race were too much for the driver and the ...
Tire Troubles Hinder Lofton from Strong Finish
Four flat tires in one race were too much for the driver and the #66 Lofton Cattle team to overcome, but Justin Lofton still managed a 12th-place finish in the Dan Gamel RV Centers 200 at Altamont Motorsports Park. The never-quit attitude solidified Lofton's 6th place in the season standings.
The Westmoreland, CA, driver was quick in the final practice Saturday morning and 17th among 31 drivers to make a qualifying attempt on Tracy's half-mile oval. Lofton turned a time of 18.062 on his first lap, at just under 100 mph to place the #66 Lofton Cattle/Cometic Gasket/Klotz/Eibach Ford Fusion on the inside of row two for the 200-lap event. Lofton came up a half-lap short of winning the Altamont Motorsports Park race earlier in the year. Expectations were high for another great showing on Saturday night.
The green flag waved at 7:30 (PST) before the large crowd on a crisp, cool night in northern California. The #66 Ford Fusion quickly moved into the top-five before the driver radioed in with a right front flat. The crew got the tire changed and back on the track, but lost two laps due to the green flag stop. The car was fast, and no changes were made during the half-way break. Lofton managed to recoup one lap before additional rocks on the track cut down the right rear tire. Precedent was set at that point with others suffering the same issues, and Lofton continued to battle toward the front in an attempt to regain as many positions as possible; however, on lap 195 the exasperated driver informed the crew there was yet another cut tire. The 21-year-old maintained his composure and finished the race in 12th position with two tires going down.
"I was very happy with how the car ran this weekend," said the driver. "We had a good car and a good run; we just couldn't recover from all of the tire problems we had. We'll be looking forward to the Showdown next month so we can really show what this team has accomplished this year," concluded Lofton.