Fort Mill, SC – The Best In The Desert (BITD) Series travels to Parker, Arizona this week where Team GT driver Justin Lofton will lead a convoy of drivers on General tires into a two day affair. In a unique format, Lofton and his Team GT teammates will complete 150-miles across two days with the ability to make adjustments to their vehicles following the first day. While moving between paved ovals and the demanding desert terrain is no easy task, Lofton makes it look effortless.
Usually found gracing the pavement of a NASCAR track in the Camping World Truck Series where he’s currently vying for a championship with one win, four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes under his belt, Lofton will spend this weekend in the deserts of the southwest. Lofton returns to his roots at an off-road course considered by many to be his “hometown track” (he hails from just outside Blythe, AZ right down the road). And with notable landmarks like The Matterhorn, The Snake Pit, The Haunted House, and The Bunny Jump, the Blue Water Desert Challenge course is sure to challenge the patience and endurance of every driver, including Lofton.
While it’s rare to find Lofton sitting still but in between last week’s race at Talladega, and a quick off-road test session, we here at General Tire were able to spend a few minutes with him to get the scoop on a two-day format, NASCAR vs. off-road, and The Offspring. Check out this week’s Q&A with Lofton:
Q: You race in NASCAR’s Truck Series and are currently contending for a championship. How do you balance your NASCAR responsibilities with your off-road responsibilities?
A: Luckily our schedules allow me to do both series with little issues. I was not able to make The General Tire Vegas to Reno race but I had a great person to fill in for me…my Dad.
Q: Is there anything on the NASCAR track that translates over to off-road and vice versa?
A: Sensation of speed from the CWTS (Camping World Truck Series) really helps me out in the off-road car. When you’re used to going 180+ mph with trucks all around you, it really helps speed your mind up for desert racing. From desert to CWTS, car control is the number one thing I can take and apply. Learning your balance traction versus wheel spin, sliding, and being able to adapt to changing track conditions is also translatable.
Q: How are you preparing for Blue Water? Do you pre-run, test, etc.?
A: I am planning on running the car Tuesday afternoon until I feel comfortable.
Q: This week’s race is broken down into two days. How do you prepare for a two day event versus a one day event?
A: It definitely presents a different challenge, a one day race. The biggest thing is trying to determine how hard to push the first day. It will be important to find the right balance in order to have a good enough vehicle to go for the win overall on the second day.
Q: What are the some of the challenges of racing on two days versus one? Any particular strategy?
A: Conserving equipment will be imperative. The only strategy I have is to start up front on four General tires and stay up front where Jimco, General Tire, Speed Energy and Chevy belong.
Q: Have you raced this course before? What are some of the bigger challenges the course presents?
A: I have not raced this course before. I’ve seen pictures, especially ones of my Dad flying upside down through the air, so staying out of that hole is a priority. Another challenge is judging how big everything will be on the first lap of the second day. After getting to know the course and the holes on the first day, the second day will be tricky. You will have to be careful on flying through some of the holes on the second day that might not have been as big on the first day.
Q: Blue Water is kind of your “hometown” track as far as off-road racing goes. Is there more pressure to do well because of that?
A: I really enjoy getting to race in front of family and friends since I don’t get to very often. It also makes racing in Parker fun because we get to stay with family and friends in Blythe along the river.
Q: If you could listen to your iPod during the race, what would be on your playlist?
A: I really wouldn’t ever play anything while I race. I’d just zone it out. But while I wait I would play either The Offspring, Fun, or Skrillerex.
For more information on this weekend’s BITD race visit www.bitd.com.
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