Justin Lofton closed out his rookie season in the Camping World Truck Series with a strong top-10 finish on Friday night at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lofton started the Ford 200 season finale from the sixth position and despite a few challenges, including a flat tire, Lofton ended the year by crossing the finish line in seventh.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of Mark Rette and all of the guys on the No. 7 visitpit.com team. We grew together as a team all year and it feels real good to close out the season with another top-10,” Lofton said.
After taking the green flag, Lofton remained within the top-10 through the first 30 laps before dropping his No. 7 Toyota Tundra down pit road for his first pit stop of the evening. Shortly after taking the restart, Lofton drifted back in the field, maintaining within the top-15 through the next round of pit stops on lap 75.
Before pulling down pit road for another stop, Lofton reported that through the last run, the truck was “uneasy in the corner.” Due to the handling, crew chief Mark Rette called for a wedge adjustment, four tires, and fuel. After the stop however, the team noticed that Lofton had a right rear tire going down. Since the team was unaware of the deflating tire at the time of the pit stop and the chassis adjustment, the handling of the truck remained a bit off.
Luckily, another caution flag waved just 10 laps later, allowing Lofton to pit again on lap 88. The team again swapped out tires, added fuel, and redid the wedge adjustment.
With a repaired race truck, Lofton took the restart from the 19th position for the restart on lap 93.
As the next yellow waved on lap 105, Lofton stayed out as other lead lap cars opted to pit. With only 10-lap old tires, Rette made the call to keep his driver on track. The call moved the rookie racer to third on the board with just 24 laps left to run.
The field then saw a red flag period following a single truck incident, which brought the restart with just 20 laps remaining.
The trucks with fresher tires however, were able to maneuver by Lofton as he slipped from third to eighth. Despite a call over the radio that the rear end of the No. 7 Toyota was lacking the right feel, Lofton dug in and reclaimed a position in the final laps to close out the season in the seventh spot.
The finish boosted him one position in the final driver standings, leaving the California native 12th in the final rundown. He ended the season with four top-five and eight top-10 finishes, with a best showing of third in Dover.