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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)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, and Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with a burnout after the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with the trophy in Victory Lane during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #51 ARRIS Toyota, and John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, lead a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR XFINITY Series DAV 200 Honoring America`s Veterans at Phoenix International Raceway on November 14, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, leads the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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