DOVER, DE - 26-year-old Justin Lofton backed up his race win from Charlotte with another solid run up front at
the "Monster Mile" that is Dover International Speedway on Friday. Driving the No. 6 College Complete (http://ww.collegecomplete.com, 877-543-2655) Chevrolet, Lofton moved from his 16th starting spot to the lead in the Lucas Oil 200, before ending the day in 10th when rain cut the race short 53 laps from the finish.
"I feel like we let one get away here, but it is good to know that it was nothing I did, nor my crew did. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control," Lofton said. "We had a great truck. I really believe that if the race had stayed green, we easily could have gotten back up there."
With dark clouds covering the one-mile track, crew chief Dan Bormann knew at the start of the race that strategy may play a role in the outcome of the race. After taking the green flag, Lofton picked up a handful of positions, moving into 14th on lap 24. As the second caution flag of the race waved, Lofton and Bormann opted to make the drive down pit road on lap 25 for their first pit stop of the day. Lofton's crew swapped out four tires and added fuel to the No. 6 College Complete Chevrolet, and sent him back on track.
Two laps after lining up for the restart, the caution fell again. This time, Lofton stayed on track while the remainder of the lead lap trucks pit. That moved him to second for the restart on lap 32. One lap later, he made the pass for the lead.
With a fast truck leading the way, Lofton held off numerous charges by Kevin Harvick, before surrendering the position on lap 54. Clearly the fastest of full-time series contenders, Lofton settled into the second position as the race hit the
halfway mark on lap 100, making the race official, per NASCAR's rulebook. Minutes later, the yellow flag waved for an accident on the backstretch. While under yellow, rain began to fall and halted the race. Following a 15-minute red flag, the drivers were told to re-fire their engines.
Before taking the green, Lofton dropped down pit road with other leaders for a pit stop. After changing right side tires, the crew moved around to the left side, but the rear changer's impact (air) gun broke, forcing the front changer to finish his work, and move to the rear to change that tire as well. The issue caused Lofton to rejoin the race in 15th.
With two caution flags waving within the next dozen laps, Lofton did the best he could with the time he had, climbing back into the top 10 for a restart on lap 140. Unfortunately, just four laps later, rain began to fall yet again. Unlike the first weather forced caution, this time the rain did not stop and only got heavier, forcing NASCAR to cut the race short on lap 147 of the originally scheduled 200.
The 10th place finish was Lofton's sixth top-10 of the six-race deep season. He continues to hold the point lead by one point over Timothy Peters.
Lofton's next drive behind the wheel of the No. 6 College Complete Chevrolet will be next Friday, June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway.
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