Justin Lofton and the No.20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet team played their numbers right and brought home a second place finish in the 18th annual WinStar World Casino and Resort 400.
Lofton started the weekend off turning three laps in Thursday's opening sixty minute practice session posting the 7th quickest time of a 30.598. "It's too hot to go out there and burn up tires"said crew chief Jeff Hensley. Therefore they elected to sit out the rest of the first practice.
When final practice got underway Lofton was one of the first trucks back on track. After turning 24 laps and posting a time of 31.080, Lofton knew they had a strong NTS Motorsports Chevrolet for qualifying and for Friday night's WinStar World Casino and Resort 400.
Friday's first on track activity would be knockout qualifying. With Texas Motor Speedway being a 1.5-mile oval, NASCAR would use the three 25 / 10 / and 5 minutes sessions, to set the starting lineup. In the opening 25 minute session, Lofton posted the third quickest time. In round two, Lofton posted the second fastest time. In the third and final round, Lofton posted a 30.054 posting the fastest time in the final round and receiving the Keystone Light Pole Award.
This would be Justin Lofton's second career Keystone Light Pole Award in 82 races and his first at Texas Motor Speedway. This would also mark crew chief Jeff Hensley's fifth pole award at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Justin Lofton would lead the field to the green flag for the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400. After choosing the outside row and having the No. 88 below him, it was a race into turn one. Lofton would fight hard with the No.88 but would lose momentum through three and four, allowing the No. 88 to move in front of Lofton and lead the first lap.
Lofton stayed silent on the radio until lap 15, when he noted his No.20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet was getting tight, as he would try to get back to the throttle. When the first caution flag flew at lap 34, Lofton brought his Chevrolet Silverado to the attention of his crew for four tires, two cans of Sunoco fuel, and a chassis adjustment. Lofton would restart 10th at lap 39. Lofton would continue to run inside the top-10 and would pit under the next caution at lap 58 for fuel and a track bar adjustment.
When the field went back under green at lap 64, Lofton was lined up 4th. With teams opting to try several different strategies, it would be interesting to see how this played out. At lap 87, Lofton radioed in "it feels like I'm sliding the right side tire."Lofton would hold on and just as the crew had planned for green flag pit stops, the fourth caution of the evening came out, "just the break we needed"said Lofton.
Lofton would hit pit road at lap 106 with 61 laps remaining for four tires, Sunoco fuel, and a slight chassis adjustment. As soon as the jack dropped, Lofton was immediately told to start saving fuel. The green flag flew for the final time at lap 109, Lofton stayed silent on the radio, running his own race. Lofton was able to save enough fuel and as several trucks had to come to pit road for fuel, he was able to stay out and pick up positions. Justin Lofton brought his No.20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet home with a second place finish in the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400.
Next time out for the No.20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet will be with Gray Gaulding in the Drivin'for Lineman 200, Saturday June 14th at Gateway Motorsports Park.
NTS Motorsports PR