While many competitors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) are gearing up for the 2013 race season, Justin Lofton decided to return to his racing roots and compete in the Best In The Desert (BITD) “Blue Water Resort and Casino Parker 425.” Driving the Unlimited Jimco No. 1577 Class 1500 car, sponsored by General Tire, Speed Energy, Impact, Fox Racing Shocks, Baja Designs, Rockwell Watches, and Jimco Racing Inc; this race being the first race coming off of knee surgery. Lofton and navigator Derek Balcunas qualified an impressive 10th place with 40 registered vehicles in their 1500 class.
The green flag fell shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Saturday afternoon in the Parker, AZ downtown. The Parker 425 included three laps around an approximately 142-mile loop across the Nevada desert, with an 8-mile in-field spectator area. Lofton and Balcunas were faced with large rocks, steep drop-offs and cliffs, this does not include the stout field of drivers and their machines.
The first two laps went smooth, Lofton and Balcunas made up positions and only a few minor tire issues.
“We had a great pace going; I remembered this particular corner from the Blue Water race in October and had a line I wanted to try. I guess I landed to hard on the right rear and blew our [General Tire] Grabber right off the wheel!”
There was a miscommunication and the duo drive a total of seventy-miles without a good spare tire in the rack. They finally stopped at pit 2 for 3 fresh General Tire Grabbers and fifty gallons of fuel and they set sail to make up the time that they lost.
By lap 3, Lofton had drove his way up to first in class 1500 and was in a tight battle with fellow competitor Jason Voss for the overall second position, when Lofton’s power-steering pump broke. He continued to drive an impressive thirty-miles with zero power-steering, where his pit crew was able to get the pump replaced and back on the race track in under twenty minutes. While Lofton was the second class 1500 car through the General Tire finish line, through time intervals he finished an impressive fifth place in class 1500.
Next up, Lofton will return to NASCAR to drive his #6 Chevy Silverado in the “Nextera Energy Resources 250″ in Daytona, Florida Friday, February 22, 2013 followed up with the Best In The Desert “Mint 400″ in Las Vegas, Nevada March 20th – 24th, 2013.