Saturday, May 19, 2012

Justin Lofton - First-Time Winner

For the third time in five races, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series produced a first-time winner, as Justin Lofton drove the No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing Chevrolet to victory lane Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway following the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.

"This is amazing," Lofton said. "I really don't know what to do."

After a restart with five laps remaining, Lofton got out front while the rest of the frontrunners raced hard for second. Todd Bodine in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota got by the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ram on that final restart to claim the second position, but Keselowski took it back with two laps to go to finish second.

"We had a great Cooper Standard Ram," Keselowski said after the race, but he took exception to the final restart when contact was made between his truck and the No. 9 Joe Denette Motorsports Chevrolet of Ron Hornaday.

"They did everything they could to wreck me," Keselowski said.

Bodine finished third, Jason Leffer was fourth in the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota and Hornaday rounded out the top-five.

Ty Dillon started the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on the pole with Lofton alongside in second. But on the green flag, Lofton fell back several positions and lost several more spots on a restart following a caution that came out on lap three.

"I was worried the first two restarts we had," Lofton said.

The yellow flag waved three times in the first 24 laps of the 134-lap event. On the third caution, the leaders headed down pit road for the first time. James Buescher, who had pitted under one of the earlier cautions, stayed out in his No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet to inherit the lead.
Soon after the restart, Keselowski raced his way up to second.

The field began cycling through green flag pit stops with 65 laps remaining, but that cycle was interrupted by the yellow flag that came out for one of multiple spins throughout the race by the No. 14 truck of Brennan Newberry.

Timothy Peters had yet to pit his No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, so he stopped for service during the caution and came back out on the track with the lead and Lofton restarted second.

While most of the field headed down pit road to top of with fuel when the yellow flag waved again for an incident involving the No. 5 truck of Paulie Harraka and Buescher a few laps later, Lofton, Bodine and others opted to stay out. That handed the lead back to Lofton and second to Bodine.
The caution came out three more times, allowing Lofton and others who stayed out to go the distance on the fuel they had.

Keselowski moved his way back toward the front in the closing laps, getting by Hornaday for second with 30 laps remaining and then back into the lead by passing Lofton for the top spot with 16 laps to go.

Right after Keselowski retook the lead, the yellow flag waved for the seventh time, brought out by the No. 30 truck of Nelson Piquet Jr. Lofton reassumed the lead and Jason White's No. 23 truck moved into second on the following restart. Keselowski quickly moved back up to second, only to see the yellow flag wave for the eighth and final time for debris with nine laps remaining.

Lofton took to top spot on the final restart to drive on to his first win as the rest of the field behind him battled three and four wide for second.

The win was also the first victory for Eddie Sharp Racing.

To be notified when new articles are posted, follow me on Twitter @NASCARexaminer, like NASCARexaminer on Facebook or follow RacingMedia on Digg.

By Amanda Vincent  NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Examiner

No comments: