Justin Lofton holds off Keselowski for first Trucks win

Justin Lofton, driver of the #6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Justin Lofton, driver of the #6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

CONCORD, N.C. — With Brad Keselowski dogging him to the finish line, and with just enough fuel to make it to the end of the race, Justin Lofton held off Brad Keselowski to win Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The victory was the first in the series for Lofton, who arrived at the finish line .261 seconds ahead of owner/driver Keselowski, who was trying to score his first NCWTS win. Lofton took over the series lead by one point over Timothy Peters.

Todd Bodine ran third, followed by Jason Leffler and Ron Hornaday Jr. After the race Keselowski had a heated exchange with Hornaday, stemming from contact between their trucks on the next-to-last restart with nine laps left.

After a lackluster start to the race, when he quickly dropped from second to seventh in the space of three laps, Lofton began learning.

“I had had terrible restarts all night,” Lofton said after the race. “The truck was not bad on the very first start of the race — I just had that bad a (start) and fell back that far. But the stars aligned, I figured out what I needed to do, and the best thing is, I outsmarted him (Keselowski).

“I think I had some help from Ron Hornaday, when he and Keselowski got in a little battle. Once I got out front (with four laps left), I knew I was OK. There was a short amount of laps left that I knew I could stay out front. I surprised myself, definitely.”

Keselowski had just cleared Lofton for the lead entering Turn 1 on Lap 119 when Nelson Piquet Jr. caused caution for the second straight time when he pancaked his No. 30 Chevrolet against the Turn 1 wall.

But Keselowski lost the lead on the restart on Lap 125 of 134 when Hornaday, who lined up behind him, ran into the back of his No. 19 Ram. To Keselowski, the contact was unjustified.

“I came on the radio and asked him, ‘Hey, man, I’ll play it cool; just be nice and smooth, and we’ll both have great days,” Keselowski said of his communication with Hornaday before the restart. “Instead he decided to be a jackass and just run me over.

“And it cost him what would have been an easy second place, and then it obviously cost me the win, so we both lost out on the deal.”

For Hornaday, who scored his first top-five finish with Joe Denette Motorsports, time was running short with just nine laps left.

“They stopped and played jackrabbit,” Hornaday said of Lofton and Keselowski, “and somebody got into the back of me, and I just had to go, too. Sorry about that to him, but we’re all looking for spots — and it’s pretty cool for Joe Denette Motorsports to get a top five.”

Lofton held the lead when caution flew for the eighth time with four laps left for debris in the form of a bumper bar in the racing groove. Keselowski fell back on the restart and didn’t have time to catch Lofton before the finish.


1.  (2) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 134, $42,625.
2.  (9) Brad Keselowski, RAM, 134, $25,765.
3. (17) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 134, $21,235.
4.  (5) Jason Leffler, Toyota, 134, $15,825.
5. (15) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 134, $14,900.
6.  (7) Jason White, Ford, 134, $12,200.
7.  (3) Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, 134, $11,700.
8. (21) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 134, $14,800.
9.  (4) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 134, $11,475.
10.  (1) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 134, $14,950.
11. (14) Parker Kligerman, RAM, 134, $10,950.
12. (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 134, $10,775.
13. (24) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 134, $10,650.
14. (12) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 134, $10,550.
15.  (6) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 134, $11,325.
16. (22) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 134, $10,550.
17. (34) David Starr, Toyota, 134, $10,300.
18. (31) David Reutimann, Chevrolet, 134, $8,000.
19.  (8) Cale Gale, Chevrolet, 134, $10,200.
20. (26) Bryan Silas, Ford, 134, $10,775.
21. (35) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, 134, $7,830.
22. (10) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 134, $8,775.
23. (28) Jake Crum, Chevrolet, 132, $7,750.
24. (23) Max Gresham, Chevrolet, 131, $8,725.
25. (13) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 127, $8,825.
26. (25) Jennifer Jo Cobb, RAM, 126, $7,650.
27. (29) Brennan Newberry, Chevrolet, 125, $7,625.
28. (27) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, Engine, 101, $7,600.
29. (16) Nelson Piquet Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 98, $7,550.
30. (20) Paulie Harraka, Ford, Accident, 84, $8,025.
31. (30) Chad McCumbee, Chevrolet, Overheating, 61, $7,500.
32. (32) Chris Fontaine, Chevrolet, Engine, 40, $7,450.
33. (19) John King, Toyota, Accident, 24, $7,425.
34. (36) Dennis Setzer, Chevrolet, Overheating, 19, $7,400.
35. (18) Ross Chastain, Toyota, Engine, 12, $7,370.
36. (33) Clay Greenfield, RAM, Power Steering, 6, $7,350.


Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.786 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 49 Mins, 51 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.261 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 36 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Dillon 1-25; R. Sieg 26-30; J. Buescher 31-40; B. Keselowski 41-66; R. Hornaday Jr. 67; T. Peters 68-84; J. Lofton 85-118; B. Keselowski 119-124; J. Lofton 125-134.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Lofton 2 times for 44 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 32 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 25 laps; T. Peters 1 time for 17 laps; J. Buescher 1 time for 10 laps; R. Sieg 1 time for 5 laps; R. Hornaday Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: J. Lofton – 200; T. Peters – 199; T. Dillon – 184; J. Buescher – 182; P. Kligerman – 170; R. Hornaday Jr. – 169; J. White – 158; N. Piquet Jr. – 155; T. Bodine – 151; J. Coulter – 145.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.