Justin Lofton and the No. 6 Mercury Marine / Walker's Marine Chevrolet team fought for a 10th place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. With two new sponsors on board, a black and red paint scheme made its debut on the No. 6 Chevrolet showcasing the logos of Mercury Marine and Walker's Marine. In a tight race, Lofton picked up five positions in the final two laps to cross the finish line in the ninth position and record his 13th top-10 finish of the 2012 season. The result ranked Lofton eighth in the final 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship point standings.
In a quick one-day show, competitors in the NCWTS had a busy schedule with practice, qualifying and the race scheduled within a 12-hour period. The schedule meant a busy day for teams as they got a handle on their trucks and prepared for the evening's event. On Friday morning, Lofton and the Mercury Marine / Walker's Marine team spent their only practice session working through setup options to get a handle on the 1.5-mile speedway in southern Florida.
In his third NCWTS appearance at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Lofton qualified 12th for the 201-mile race on Friday evening. When the green flag waved, Lofton began searching for other lines around the race track to help accommodate the setup and improve the handling of his Chevrolet. As the race progressed, Lofton continued to search for grip on the track as he slipped back to the 18th position on the leader board. The driver tried everything from adjusting his line to chassis adjustments, but continued to be ranked around the 18th position.
A series of cautions in the second half of the event provided the Mercury Marine / Walker's Marine team several opportunities to work on their Chevrolet. Lofton visited pit road nearly every time making a series of chassis and air pressure adjustments to fine-tune the handling of their machine. During the final caution on lap 133, the No. 6 team hit on an adjustment that brought their Silverado to life. In the final two laps, Lofton raced from the 14th position up to ninth-place.
"We brought a brand new truck for this weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway," commented Lofton. "It's the first truck that we've built in-house at Eddie Sharp Racing. The guys did a great job building the chassis, hanging the body and working on adjusting it throughout the weekend. It's pretty cool to think that we built this truck from the ground up."
In a banner year, Lofton and his No. 6 team from Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) were able to secure their first NCWTS victory, first Keystone Light Pole Award, and even led the point standings during the summer months. After 22 events, Lofton is scored eighth in the final championship point standings.
"It's been a really special for me to be back with ESR and Eddie Sharp this season," Lofton continued. "After accomplishing so much with this team in 2009 [referring to the ARCA Racing Series championship], it's really cool to come back and earn my first NCWTS win and my first NCWTS pole award with this group of guys. It's been really fun."
Justin Lofton PR