Nashville: Nashville: Justin Lofton race report
Track position causes chaos, drops Lofton to 20th at Nashville Justin Lofton's run at Nashville Superspeedway on Friday proved how a simple split second decision can change the complexion of an entire race. After starting a season's best 10th on ...
Track position causes chaos, drops Lofton to 20th at Nashville
Justin Lofton's run at Nashville Superspeedway on Friday proved how a simple split second decision can change the complexion of an entire race. After starting a season's best 10th on the 1.33-mile concrete track, driver Justin Lofton was bit yet again by track position and unfortunate timing, dropping him to 20th at the finish of the Nashville 200.
"One of these weeks we will get the right kind of luck on our side," Lofton said after the event. "The guys have been working so hard. We had a good truck, and we showed that by qualifying in the top 10. But once the green flag drops, it's like a switch flips and luck just runs the other way."
For the second time this season, rookie Lofton was running on a track that he'd raced on previously. In 2008 he ran the ARCA event at Nashville, finishing a solid fifth. With experience, confidence, and hopeful of a little racing luck, Lofton, crew chief Mark Rette, and the entire No. 7 team were eyeing their first top-10 of the season.
After two early practice runs, they had a right to be optimistic. The truck showed consistent speeds throughout, and Lofton climbed behind the wheel for his two-lap qualifying effort. With his familiarity and a fast truck guiding him around the concrete facility, Lofton laid down the 10th quickest time.
With the schedule crammed into one day, it wasn't long before the 24-year-old shifted his focus to the 200 miles of racing ahead of him. Once behind the wheel for the event, Rette reminded him from atop the pitbox that the tire pressures had to build before the handling would settle in for longer runs.
As the laps clicked off, Lofton held his own, running in the 19th spot. On lap 32 the first caution flag of the day waved, with the young racer telling Rette that the truck was running extremely tight.
With a call for four fresh tires and a spring rubber adjustment, the No. 7 crew did their best to get their driver back on track for the restart on lap 37. Unfortunately, with the new double file restart rules, you cannot pass before the start/finish line. This created a problem for Lofton, as trucks were checking up in front of him. In order to avoid contact, he moved out of line and in the process passed some trucks. This brought a pass through penalty to the team.
After the penalty under green flag conditions, Lofton rejoined the race from the 21st position.
With only two caution flags falling throughout the 150-lap race, the team was unable to make up the track position, leaving Lofton 20th at the finish.
"These restarts are tough as it is but with the double-file restart rule, it makes it even tougher. There were only two options, get out of line, or run into the truck in front of you. We didn't have much luck or many options," Lofton added.
The next Camping World Truck Series event is May 2nd at Kansas Speedway. Lofton however, will be taking advantage of the open weeks, by delving into Nationwide Series competition at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17th. Mark Rette and his entire Red Horse Racing team will make the journey with him, running the No. 71 Toyota.
Nashville: Chris Fontaine race report
Toyota Motorsports off-week notes 2010-04-07