Loftin Captures Win at Caraway
April 7, 2012 | 10:08 P.M. EST
Brian Loftin celebrates his win in the Farm Bureau Insurance 150 at Caraway Speedway on Saturday. (Photo: Jason Smith/pixelcrisp)
It was an emotional Victory Lane, marking Loftin's first win since the passing of his wife a year ago. The win gives the Lexington, N.C., driver a tour-leading eight victories at Caraway and marked his 12th career tour win overall.
Loftin, who started third on the field in his No. 23 QMF Metal & Electronic Solutions/L&R Transmissions Chevrolet, took the lead from Frank Fleming a third of the way through the 150-lap event and then held on through four restarts in the second half of the race to score the win.
It was an emotional Victory Lane for Loftin who picked up his first tour win since Aug. 29, 2009.
“I Can’t thank my crew enough,” Loftin said. “This past year has been pretty tough and they’re the real reason why I am still here. I didn’t know if I would ever be back here (racing) to be honest with you. They gave me an awesome race car and I can’t thank them enough.”
Loftin remained near the front early in the race and moved up through the field passing pole sitter Tim Brown for second and eventually getting past Fleming for the lead on Lap 48 where he remained the rest of the race.
Loftin felt he had one of the best cars he has ever driven at Caraway in any of his previous seven race wins at the track.
“Tim (Brown) had a fast car, but I don’t think anybody had anything for this car tonight,” Loftin added. “Anytime the guys wanted me to push the button it would just go and go. It was an awesome car.”
L.W. Miller followed Loftin across the finish line in second to become the only driver to finish in the top three in both races this season and feels a win is not too far away in his No. 88 Taxslayer.com/Speedco Chevrolet.
“The Taxslayer.com/Speedco Chevrolet ran good all night long,” said Miller. “We are just missing the mark by a tick. We tried a little different set up than last week and I feel we made a gain on it but we didn’t gain as much as we needed to. The No. 23 car was strong all night long. I don’t think we had anything for him. We just have to keep digging. We had a third last week and a second this week, that means we just need to go out and get a win next week.”
Daniel Hemric finished third, with Brown rebounding from a flat tire to finish fourth and rookie Danny Bohn taking fifth.
For Hemric, it was his best finish of the young season in his first full-time year with Hillbilly Racing and good enough to give him Miller Lite Rookie of the Year honors for the second time in as many races this season.
“It all goes back to Roger and Sandra Hill giving me the opportunity and they put their heart into this deal and they thrive on being out here every week and I appreciate the opportunity,” Hemric said. “This run is for Roger and I hope we can build on this moving forward the rest of the season.”
Hemric knows he has a car capable of winning in the No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light/ LeBleu Water Pontiac.
“They say good people can take you far and I am just glad to be a part of it,” Hemric said. “I thought we did all we could to save our tires and we improving every week and that is our goal (for the season).
Completing the top 10 were Patrick Emerling, defending champion George Brunnhoelzl III, Jason Myers, Burt Myers and Andy Seuss.
This was the 41st NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race at Caraway Speedway, the unofficial home track of the tour, and the second of five visits to the venue this season. The tour opened its season at the .455-mile track last week.
Thomas Stinson rebounded from last week’s early accident to finish 11th which gave him Featherlite Most Improved Driver honors while Emerling was the highest finishing driver who advance 10 positions in the race to win the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award.
With his victory in the Farm Bureau Insurance 150, Loftin locked up a spot in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race at the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway next February during Speedweeks.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will return to action for the South Boston (Va.) 150 on Saturday, April 14. It will be the first of two visits to the state for the tour in 2012.