Kentucky: Justin Lofton race report
Lofton ends nine race stretch with another solid run; 11th in Kentucky Justin Lofton and the No. 7 Red Horse Racing team have showcased consistency over the last month, and added yet another solid showing to their credit on Friday night at ...
Lofton ends nine race stretch with another solid run; 11th in Kentucky
Justin Lofton and the No. 7 Red Horse Racing team have showcased consistency over the last month, and added yet another solid showing to their credit on Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. Lofton started the Built Ford Tough 225 from the seventh position, and ran as high as second before fuel mileage altered the end result. Despite dropping down pit road with less than 15 laps to go, the Raybestos Rookie of The Year contender Lofton wheeled his No. 7 Toyota Tundra to a solid 11th place finish.
"We've put together a string of strong runs and it feels good to close out this stretch with some good finishes under our belt. The guys all worked really hard these last few weeks," Lofton said. "We ran stronger than where we finished on Friday, but caution flags and strategy shook things up a bit."
Shortly after taking the green flag from the seventh position, Lofton radioed to crew chief Mark Rette that the truck needed help through the center. The first caution flag of the race waved on lap 21, allowing Lofton to drop down pit road for the first stop of the night. Rette called for fuel only and a chassis adjustment to help the handling. Lofton took the restart from the ninth spot.
Lofton then got to work, racing his way to the front. While running the low lane on lap 36, Lofton made an impressive double pass, picking up two spots as he moved into the sixth position. 10 laps later, the caution flag waved for the second time, allowing Lofton to make yet another pit stop. This time, Rette called for four fresh tires in addition to another adjustment.
Under the stop, some teams, who were pitting under different strategies, stayed on track. The shake-up up front lined Lofton up in the seventh spot for the restart.
Three more caution flags waved through the race, with teams continuing to play out different pit calls. Rette stuck to his original game plan, keeping Lofton on track through their pit window. Despite the multiple caution flags early in the running, the field stayed under green for the final 55 laps. The long run forced the race leaders, including Lofton, to pit under green flag conditions.
As the race ran its course, Lofton continued to contend, and by lap 80, he was solidly running within the top five. With 50 laps remaining Lofton radioed to the crew that he was running the track wide open, and holding the throttle more than he had in qualifying. His efforts paid off as he showed fourth on the scoring pylon.
On lap 136 of the 150-lap race, Lofton relinquished the second position in order to take on five seconds of fuel in order to go the distance. Back on track, Lofton clicked off the remaining laps, crossing the finish line in the 11th position.
"I wish there would have been a caution flag there at the end because it is always tough to give up track position, but those are the cards that we were dealt with the fuel mileage. All in all, we've had a good stretch and the guys have worked really hard. It's nice to enter the off week with some solid results behind us," Lofton said.
The No. 7 team will enjoy the open week in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition before heading to New Hampshire on September 18th.
Standings after Kentucky
Series driver, Jack Smith suspended indefinitely