Lofton Wins ARCA RE/MAX Series 250
Justin Lofton refused to let go of the lead for the final 46 laps of Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. And then he refused to let go of the winner’s trophy.
Lofton held off 59-year-old Bill Baird and Alabama native Grant Enfinger following a late-race restart to win for the first time this year and only the second time in 24 career ARCA RE/MAX Series starts. Afterward, he happily clutched his winner’s trophy through a round of media interviews.
“This is phenomenal,” Lofton said. “We had an awesome car, an awesome race. This car really deserves to be in Victory Lane.”
Lofton grabbed the lead away from female driver Alli Owens midway through the race and never relinquished it. He said when the green flag waved for a restart with only two laps remaining, he was confident nobody would be able to pass him.
“My spotter came on and told me to start visualizing Victory Lane,” Lofton said. “When the last caution came out, I knew we pretty much had it in the bag, because I was getting really good restarts all day and our car was really good right off the get-go.”
Baird said he was hoping to get a push from Enfinger in order to attempt a pass, but the two cars never were able to hook up properly in the draft.
“(Lofton) was strong, but we’d been running with him all day,” Baird said. “We made runs on him, but we just never could get a real consistent push.”
While Baird said he would “take second at this race track anytime,” he admitted it was disappointing to miss out on picking up his first career victory at Talladega Superspeedway.
“Talladega is everybody’s dream to win. It’s always been mine,” Baird said. “I just fell a little bit short. It’s still my goal to win this thing.”
Enfinger, meanwhile, was thrilled with finishing third in only his second ARCA RE/MAX Series start and his first visit to Talladega Superspeedway. A native of Fairhope, Ala., Enfinger is running on a four-race deal through a sponsorship with Montgomery-based law firm Beasley-Allen.
“Being in front of the home crowd makes it even more special,” said Enfinger, who estimated that more than 40 people from Fairhope and Montgomery made the trip to watch him race. “Talladega is the biggest, fastest track in the country. A few weeks ago we were racing at a small track in Opp, Alabama.
“A good run here maybe makes our future a little bit brighter. I don’t know how many more opportunities we’ll get this year, but I appreciate everybody coming on board and making this day special. We just had a great run.”
Mikey Kile finished fourth, Frank Kimmel was fifth and Owens came in sixth. Rounding out the top-10 were Parker Kligerman in seventh, Joey Coulter eighth, Kelly Bires ninth and pole-sitter Tom Hessert 10th.
James Hylton, who won a NASCAR Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1972 and will turn 75 years old later this year, finished 15th, his best ARCA RE/MAX Series showing in 12 years.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009. Tickets are still available for Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 and Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office, located in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.