Posted by: lori on Jun 06, 2011
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Lofton Leads Some Laps, Tallies Solid Finish in Devil Brigade Tundra in Kansas
Kansas City, KS. - Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 was a special race to Justin Lofton and the No. 77 Germain Racing team. After a visit to nearby Fort Riley on Thursday, Lofton climbed behind the wheel of his race truck at Kansas Speedway with a special paint scheme in honor of his new friends within the Devil Brigade; the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. With 45 soldiers showing their support on Saturday, Lofton led some laps, contended within the top-10, and despite a late race pit road penalty, nailed down a solid 19th place finish.
"I had so much fun at Fort Riley on Thursday. I went last year and it was nice seeing some old faces as well as meeting some new ones. They came out in full force today and it was really a lot of fun to have them out here. After they let me go through some of their training sessions, it was neat to show them what I do," Lofton said of the soldiers within the Devil Brigade.
"We put on a show for them with the No. 77 Devil Brigade Tundra leading some laps. It was really hot out there and the track was slick, but the truck was a lot of fun to drive. We got caught up there on that last stop, but overall, it was a good day."
Prior to taking the green flag, Lofton met with members of the Devil Brigade, signing autographs, taking photos, and thanking them for their service. After a few photos by the truck, Lofton climbed in, rolling off of the grid from the 18th spot.
After an early caution flag just 18 laps in, and while some leaders opted to stay on track, Lofton dropped down pit road for four tires and fuel. Four laps after the restart, he had climbed from 21st to 17th.
As the laps clicked down, Lofton continued his climb through the field, moving into the top-10 by lap 50. By that point, some trucks elected to make green flag pit stops. Having pit under the first yellow, the No. 77 Devil Brigade Toyota was able to stay on track, inheriting the lead on lap 55.
After holding the position for just over six laps, Lofton prepared to drop down pit road for his stop. Simultaneously, a caution flag waved, allowing Lofton to make his stop under yellow. The pit crew sprang into action, swapped out the tires, added fuel, and sent Lofton back on track. For the restart, the No. 77 machine lined up from the fourth position.
As the race hit the 100-lap mark Lofton showed in the 12th spot as he informed his crew that the truck was handling a bit tight. Two more pit stops allowed the crew to tune on the truck, with the final stop falling under the seventh and final caution flag of the race on lap 133. The team made spring rubber and track bar adjustments in addition to adding four fresh tires and fuel. Unfortunately, NASCAR clocked the No. 77 Devil Brigade Tundra running slightly over pit road speed on the exit. The penalty dropped Lofton to the back of the pack for the restart.
With the final 30 laps staying green, Lofton reclaimed as many positions as possible, crossing the finish line in 19th at the drop of the checkered flag.
"It was a tough race out there, battling the heat all day, but the truck was good. I feel like we could have gained some of those spots back if we had a few more laps. The most important thing is that we've got a good truck and a lot to grow with next week in Texas," Lofton said.
Lofton and the No. 77 team will next hit the track on Friday, June 10th at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Justin Lofton Media Relations