Matt Lofton Making First ARCA Road Course Start Sunday
While gunning for 2012 Team Messina Rookie Challenge honors in his first full-time ARCA season, Matt Lofton has never driven on a road course.
That, however, is one feat that the Roxboro, N.C. native has not let deflate his anticipation for the winding 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park, host of 150 miles for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Sunday afternoon.
Lofton (No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevrolet) has spent much of his spare time studying course maps, racing the track on a video game, and picking the brain of Coulter Motorsports teammate Joey Coulter. Coulter has previously raced at New Jersey, in 2009 and 2010.
Coulter Motorsports will roll out chassis No. 015 for this weekend's 150-mile race. Chassis 015, a purpose-built road course Chevrolet Impala SS has three starts on precariously-styled tracks, two at the 14-turn Millville, N.J. facility. Lofton, who has earned four consecutive top-five finishes, looks to build upon his Bill France Four Crown championship standings position of third, 10 points behind leader Chris Buescher. The award, which is depictive of the series' versatility, is a separate point fund that tests drivers on four different styled tracks: Michigan International Speedway (speedway), New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course), Illinois State Fairgrounds (dirt), and Salem Speedway (short track).
"New Jersey (Motorsports Park) is going to prove to be a challenging yet fun race for everyone involved," said Lofton. "I know a lot of people on the tour don't have a lot of road course experience, but that is part of ARCA's great appeal, the diverse target of tracks we hit in one season. My Coulter Motorsports guys have worked hard to prepare me another great car and I look forward to hitting the left- and right-handed turns this weekend in my No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevy."
ARCA Racing Series teams will practice twice Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway. Practices are scheduled from 11:20 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and 1:40 to 2:40 on Saturday, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 4:30.
The 67-lap, 150-mile race - the fifth for ARCA on the New Jersey course - will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by the ARCA Racing Network available at ARCARacing.com. The ARCA event is one of several races scheduled over New Jersey's All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation.