Michigan: Lofton wins ARCA race

ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Justin Lofton led the final 11 circuits Saturday at Michigan International Speedway to win the Racing For Wildlife 200.

Lofton, in the Lofton Cattle Dodge, capitalized on the late-race misfortunes of Sean Caisse and then kept Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. at bay to earn his career-first series victory in only his eighth series attempt.

"I came into this series as a young driver from California," said Lofton. "I knew that I had the talent to be successful here, but I came in a little too aggressive and trying too hard. The last couple of weeks I just relaxed, spent some off-time to myself, and regrouped. I came into this a lot more relaxed and just let the race come to me. Also, honestly I had Eddie Sharp as my crew chief the last two weeks, and Laurin Ranier as my spotter. Eddie Sharp is the best crew chief and car owner in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. This was an emotional win for us."

Lofton, who earned the SunTrust Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race award, became the eighth different winner after nine events in 2008. The Westmorland, California driver also established a new race record with an average speed of 150.596 mph, surpassing the old mark of 145.956 set by David Stremme in 2006.

Caisse, who led 51 of 100 laps, was leading with 12 laps to go when the Pelham, New Hampshire rookie made an unscheduled pit stop to replace a left-rear tire that had gone flat. Caisse, in the Shigeaki Hattori-owned Toyota, went one lap down in the exchange and finished 19th. Despite Caisse's misfortunes, he earned the Klotz Halfway Leader award and the Aaron's Lap Leader honors for leading the most laps.

Stenhouse, in the Roush Fenway Racing Ford, finished second nearly two seconds behind the winner. The Olive Branch, Mississippi driver also padded his point lead.

"We definitely didn't start where we wanted to (21st), but we knew we had a good race car," said Stenhouse. "We drove up through there to the first caution. I think we got up to 12th, then Lumpy decided to make a two-tire stop there. We got out in first and got the five points for leading a lap. The top three cars got by us with new tires, but we could stay right with them and they started coming back to us. Then we came in for our four-tire stop and got back out in the lead. It just wasn't too good on new tires but it was pretty good on old ones."

Frank Kimmel, who started 15th, steered the Ford Drive One-ECC Ford to the finish in third.

"We're really happy with it," said Kimmel. "It's the third race with this car for us and we're still learning on it. It's a car we got from (Jack) Roush. It's a really a nice race car; it's a lot better than we are right now."

Scott Speed, who fought a tight condition much of the race, finished fourth in the Red Bull Toyota. He also earned the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race award.

Brian Scott, in the Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, battled back from a lap down to finish fifth.

SIM Factory Pole winner Speed led the first 14 circuits before Scott took control on lap 15. However, Scott gave up the lead to Stenhouse during first round pit stops when Stenhouse got off pit road first. Stenhouse led just two laps before Scott reassumed command. Then Caisse passed Scott for the lead on lap 31 and began to pull away from the field. Caisse led up through lap 59 before giving the lead back to Stenhouse during second round pit stops. But with Caisse on the continual charge, Stenhouse did not lead long before Caisse made the pass for the top-spot on lap 68. From there, Caisse continued to pull away from Lofton, who by then had also passed Stenhouse for position. But with a tire going down, Lofton quickly caught Caisse inside of 12 laps from the finish.

Patrick Sheltra finished sixth in the Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge in front of Ken Butler III, who finished seventh in the Aaron's Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota. Jesse Smith finished eighth in the Lloyd's Barbeque-Hormel-Spam-Jones Group Dodge. Dexter Bean was ninth in the Glock Chevrolet. AJ Henriksen, who started 30th, finished 10th earning the Casite Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.

Lofton's crew chief Eddie Sharp earned the Cometic Gaskets Crew Chief of the Race.

The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Cayuga ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Cayuga Motor Speedway in Nelles Corners, Ontario Sunday, June 29th.

Top-10 Unofficial Points After the Racing for Wildlife 200 at Michigan Int'l Speedway (6-14-08): 1) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 2015; 2) Scott Speed 1920, 3) Matt Carter 1890; 4) Frank Kimmel 1845; 5) John Wes Townley 1725; 6) Justin Allgaier 1680; 7) Patrick Sheltra 1675; 8) Tom Hessert III 1670; 9) Tayler Malsam 1660; 10) Ken Butler III 1640.



1 2 20 Justin Lofton/Westmorland CA Lofton Cattle Dodge 100 Running
2 21 99 Ricky Stenhouse Jr./Olive Branch MS RoushFenway.com Ford 100 Running
3 15 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Ford Drive One-ECC Ford 100 Running
4 1 2 Scott Speed/Manteca CA Red Bull Toyota 100 Running
5 3 15 Brian Scott/Mooresville NC Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet 100 Running
6 19 60 Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown FL Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge 100 Running
7 14 22 Ken Butler III/Lilburn GA Aaron's Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota 100 Running
8 11 30 Jesse Smith/Wildwood MO Lloyd's Barbeque-Hormel-Spam-Jones Group Dodge 100 Running
9 17 37 Dexter Bean/Westby WI Glock Chevrolet 100 Running
10 30 7 AJ Henriksen/Mooresville NC Engineered Components Ford 100 Running
11 5 00 Robb Brent/Shelby Township MI Abigayle Place-Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Chev 100 Running
12 16 46 Matt Carter/Denver NC Stine Seed-Hantz Group-Fort Dodge Animal Ford 100 Running
13 8 09 John Wes Townley/Watkinsville GA Zaxby's Ford 100 Running
14 20 66 Bryan Reffner/Stevens Point WI Hendren Motorsports Chevrolet 100 Running
15 26 90 Gabi DiCarlo/Phoenix AZ Great Clips Toyota 100 Running
16 13 32 Chris Wimmer/Wausau WI Win Tron Racing-Red Line Oil Dodge 100 Running
17 22 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Lucas Oil Chevrolet 100 Running
18 23 4 Tayler Malsam/Seattle WA Dodge Driver Development Dodge 100 Running
19 7 01 Sean Caisse/Pelham NH Aisin AW Toyota 99 Running
20 9 45 Michael Phelps/Suwanee GA Dodge-Bowen Family Homes Dodge 99 Running
21 24 11 Bryan Silas/Stuart FL Nortrax-Shell Rotella T Ford 99 Running
22 32 75 Michael Simko/Clarkston MI DenteMax Ford 98 Running
23 18 1 Tom Hessert III/Cherry Hill NJ Maaco Auto Painting America's Body Shop Ford 98 Running
24 27 12 Alli Owens/Daytona Beach FL ElectrifyingCareers.com Chevrolet 97 Running
25 25 8 Terry Jones/Amherstburg ON Jones Group Racing Dodge 97 Running
26 10 25 Ryan Fischer/Surrey British Columbia Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet 96 Running
27 35 23 Donny Kelley/Humble TX Porter Glass Chevrolet 95 Running
28 29 29 Larry Hollenbeck/Kalamazoo MI SWAT Fitness Chevrolet 94 Running
29 12 39 Matt Hawkins/Canton GA JaniKing-Racing Radios Dodge 93 Axle
30 36 26 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI CCM Mold Design & Maintenance Ford 93 Running
31 6 18 Billy Leslie/Algonac MI Titan Tires & Wheels Ford 92 Suspnsn
32 41 08 James Hylton/Inman SC Fubar Energy Drink Dodge 92 Running
33 33 34 Darrell Basham/Henryville IN Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet 91 Running
34 31 24 Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL Just1Shirt.com Chevrolet 87 Running
35 37 06 Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN Star Wheels Skate Center Ford 84 Running
36 28 77 Todd Hansen/Farmington MN Mad Croc Energy Drink-JDRF Chevrolet 84 Running
37 4 16 Justin Allgaier/Springfield IL AG Tech-Hoosier Midwest-Hot Hues Chevrolet 77 Running
38 39 94 Brian Kaltreider/Reading PA Independent Graphics Ford 29 Engine
39 34 84 Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet 28 Oil Pump
40 40 81 Greg Seevers/West Milton OH Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet 1 Vibration
41 38 14 John Graham/Aurora Ontario Kickbutt Energy Ballz Ford 1 Engine

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