(LONG POND, Pa. - June 5, 2013) - There are some familiar faces walking around here Wednesday at Pocono Raceway for open testing. And one is doing more than walking the walk. Justin Lofton, the 2009 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion, shook down the car for SCOTT Rookie and championship contender Mason Mingus.
"This is just plain fun." said Lofton, who also won the ARCA race at Pocono in August of 2009.
"Absolutely no stress. Just get in the car and drive. I've always enjoyed sharing what I've learned over the years, and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do that."
Mingus has never circled the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle until today's open test. Lofton is here to serve in an advisory role for Mingus.
There is also a common bond between Lofton and Mingus, and that common bond just happens to be a very key component to Mingus's team - Win-Tron Racing. Mingus's crew chief Mark Rette served as Lofton's crew chief during his ARCA championship run in ‘09.
"When we started thinking about who would be available to help Mason here, the first guy I thought of was Justin (Lofton)," Rette said.
"He's a great friend of mine, and obviously the success we've had together is key. It's really working out well. They're about the same size, so we really didn't have to change a lot."
Lofton, after racing several full seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since his ARCA tenure, has been racing in Robby Gordon's new Stadium Super Truck Series this year, in conjunction with a handful of NASCAR Truck events .
"My background is off-road racing, and Robby's such a good friend of mine, so racing in the Stadium Super Truck Series is a great fit for me, and heck of a lot of fun," Lofton added.
"We're going to race Saturday night inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis."
From the 20 drivers who are here testing (13 different teams), Mingus was 11th quickest overall on the morning speed charts.
"Justin has been very successful here, so he's really been able to help me out," Mingus said. "He went out and baselined the car, so I'm just kind of taking mental notes from there. I'm picking his brain every chance I get, and I'm getting more comfortable with the track. I'm listening to everything he says, and I'll just take it from there.
"This track is amazing," Mingus added. "It's got so much grip. I have no idea what it was like before they repaved it, but I'm getting a good feel for it now. It's so much fun to drive. I've got a lot to learn, so this test day is really critical."
Mingus is currently second in championship points, 60 points away from nine-time champ Frank Kimmel. While Mingus will be making his career-first start at Pocono in this Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200, Kimmel will be making his 41st start on the Long Pong, Pa. superspeedway. Kimmel is also a three-time Pocono winner.
Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200, the 56th ARCA race on the Pocono triangle since 1983, is live on SPEED at 1:00 p.m.