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Trucks: Lofton wins at Charlotte

Justin Lofton claimed his maiden win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, holding on with limited fuel to beat Brad Keselowski to the chequered flag.
26-year-old Justin Lofton finally found his way to victory lane for the first time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, after winning the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Friday night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It's been a long time coming,” admitted Lofton, who has had 55 starts in the series before claiming his maiden win.

Lofton had started the race on the front row of the grid alongside polesitter Ty Dillon, who led for the first 25 laps of the 134-mile, 201-lap race on the 1.5-mile paved oval considered to be the 'home' of NASCAR itself.

After a series of early cautions - the first being a spin for Brennan Newberry across the path of David Reutimann on the frontstretch, the second for oil on track dropped by Ross Chastain's truck, and the third for an accident by Daytona winner John King in turn 4 on lap 25 - James Buescher claimed the lead at the restart on lap 31 ahead of Brad Keselowski, Johnny Sauter, Ty Dillon, Ryan Sieg, Matt Crafton and Jason Leffler. Lofton had already dropped way back.

"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," Lofton said later.

Keselowski soon took the lead from Buescher but was himself deposed from the front by Ron Hornaday Jr. before the next caution on lap 72 for a second spin of the night for Newberry in turn 4.

An accident in turn 2 on lap 85 saw a spin for Paulie Harraka who caught the back of Buescher's truck, with David Reutimann getting drawn in; Justin Lofton was back in front for the restart and for the next 33 laps through a debris caution.

But Keselowski remained the main threat and was in front again by the time Nelson Piquet Jr. exited the race on lap 121 in a hard hit against the wall on turn 1 that brought out the penultimate caution of the night. That left Keselowski and a fuel-stretching Lofton squaring off at what looked the crucial restart of the night on lap 125 that was then restaged just moments later after a brief debris caution intervened.

Given his form earlier in the night, no one was banking on Lofton to nail the restarts: “I had terrible restarts all night,” he admitted. "The first two restarts we had we were trying some different stuff and I didn't know how to start," he added. But he was a quick study: "The stars aligned, I figured out what I needed to do."

When it mattered, he found his restart mojo and was able to pull away from Keselowski both times for the win.

"I think I had some help from Ron Hornaday, when he and Keselowski got in a little battle," he said. Once I got out front, I knew I was okay. There was a short amount of laps left that I knew I could stay out front. I surprised myself, definitely."




Related Pictures

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Justin Lofton, driver of the #6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo credit: 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 credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brennan Newberry, driver of the #14 The Jeremy Staat Foundation Chevrolet, spins in front of David Reutimann, driver of the #92 FleetHQ.com/BTS Tire & Wheel/QMI/Fatbacks Tire Chevrolet, after an on track incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, lead the field past the green flag after the initial caution ended during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, pits his car damaged by a jet dryer early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, lead the field past the green flag after the initial caution ended during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, poses in Victory Lane with the trophy after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Gray Gaulding, driver of the #20 Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme Chevrolet, is involved in an on track incident with Brandon Jones, driver of the #33 EXIDE Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota No. 1 For Everyone Sales Event Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, is hit by Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, as he pulls into his pit box during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton ready for racing at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton in action at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, lead the field to turn one during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, take the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The #2 Wurth Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski (not pictured), goes through technical inspection during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2014 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)

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