JOLIET, Illinois — Justin Lofton claimed his fourth ARCA RE/MAX Series win of the season on Friday night in the Ansell Cut Protection 150 at Chicagoland Speedway and in doing so, reclaimed the lead in the point standings. The 23-year-old dominated the 100-lap event in the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota after starting from the third position. He led a race-high 55 laps and held off a hungry Grant Enfinger following a restart just one lap from the finish.
"Mark (Rette, crew chief) and all of the guys did an awesome job giving me a great racecar, as usual. I knew we had a car that was capable of winning from the start of practice on Thursday," Lofton said.
"It was a good, fun race. We led a lot of laps and the car handled so well. The right rear is down to nothing. I spun the tires on those last two restarts but the car was good, and they were battling behind me, so it all worked out."
Lofton initially took the lead on lap 25, making the pass over pole-sitter Brian Ickler, flying by on the high side. 10 laps later, the caution flag waved and Lofton then led a string of lead lap cars down pitroad for an exchange of pitstops.
With a slightly loose racecar, shot-caller Rette opted for a chassis adjustment and a new set of Hoosier tires on the No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing machine. The pit crew peeled off a fast stop, maintaining the lead for Lofton.
Looking to save his tires and fuel, Lofton surrendered the top spot to pole-sitter Ickler for a portion of the event before turning up the wick as the laps clicked down. On lap 63 of the 100-lap race, Lofton pounced on Ickler following a restart, dropping to the inside as he made the pass. Ickler charged back but Lofton masterfully wheeled his machine as they battled over position, dropping his Toyota to the apron to complete the pass.
Lofton staked his claim on the lead, holding the position for all but four of the remaining laps.
There were seven caution flags throughout the event, lining the field up on Lofton's bumper as the laps clicked down. The final caution flag waved with just four laps remaining. That set the field up for a one-lap shootout, as Lofton took the white and green flag simultaneously.
Despite a late challenge from Grant Enfinger, Lofton held a .074-second lead at the finish.
The win was Lofton's fourth of the season, the fifth of his young career. He's won three of the last four events including Berlin, Pocono and Chicagoland. After the first 15 races of the 21-race schedule, Lofton has 13 top-10 finishes and a series leading 11 top-fives.
The win also catapulted Lofton back to the top of the point standings. He now holds the position by 55 points over Parker Kligerman.
"Eddie, Mark, all of the guys on this team work so hard. We've got a great group over here and we want this championship," Lofton exclaimed.
The next race for Lofton and the No. 6 team is Friday, September 4 at Toledo Speedway.