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SMART Modified Tour

Carson Loftin claims fifth SMARTY trophy as Baldwin, Newman clash

Carson Loftin continues to impress as a wunderkind Tour Type Modified prospect on the SMART Modified Tour but his win on Friday night at Franklin County Speedway might have been a little fortuitous in the eyes of Luke Baldwin.

The decisive moment of the race came on a restart with 26 laps to go when a leading Luke Baldwin washed up the track into second place Ryan Newman. This is what allowed Loftin to get a run on Baldwin, placing the bumper into Turn 3 and survived an additional restart with seven to go for the win.

He graduates from high school on Saturday morning.

“This is all about them, they bust their tails in the shop every weekend and I can’t ask for a better group,” Loftin said of his team in Victory Lane. “It’s just a pleasure racing with them. We struggled a little bit in practice. We were 15th and I didn’t know how good we would be because we struggled here last year.

“We turned it around in qualifying. We struggled the first part of the race too. We were really bad but made the right adjustments on the pit stop.”

Loftin also felt some remorse for the contact with his friend, Baldwin.

“We all stacked up into (Turn) 1,” Loftin said. “We fired off really tight on the new tire. “It’s a tight race track. I got into the back of Luke going into (Turn) 3. I didn’t mean to get into the back of him that hard. That’s not how I want to race or pass for the lead.”

Baldwin took a playful jab at Loftin on the frontstretch and said he got lucky but congratulated him.

“First of all, just too many mistakes on my part,” Baldwin said. “I drove too deep into 1, slid up into 2 and locked up … If I would have played it smarter, they wouldn’t have had a chance. Restarts weren’t good. Made too many mistakes.”

He also took exception to the debris caution that set up the restart where he lost the lead.

“Wish that caution didn’t come out on the long run because I didn’t see anything on the track. But that’s not an excuse. I said it a lot this this year but I need to clean some stuff up. I’m a little frustrated with my race because I had the best race car here.

“But seriously, congrats to Carson.”

His dad, the legendary Tommy Baldwin Jr. was not as cordial, confronting Newman afterwards.

Ryan Preece contended for the win earlier in the race but fell from second all the way to off the lead lap by the caution with 26 to go. He got the free pass but was then involved in a crash with seven laps to go.

SMART Tour Kenny Minter Classic
Franklin County Speedway
May 24 2024

  1. Carson Loftin
  2. Luke Baldwin
  3. Danny Bohn
  4. Joey Coulter
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Tom Buzze
  7. Brandon Ward
  8. Jason Myers
  9. Patrick Staropoli
  10. Sam Rameau
  11. Daniel Yates
  12. Jake Crum
  13. Burt Myers
  14. Jonathan Cash
  15. Jimmy Blewett
  16. Anthony Bello
  17. Brian Loftin
  18. Ryan Preece
  19. Jimmy Wallace
  20. Jonathan Kievman
  21. Gary Young, Jr.

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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