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Lofton takes top spot in second race of 2014 season
Lofton -- filling in for Gaulding -- scored the fastest speed in the second session
What the key parties involved have gone on to do since the incident One year ago, Darrell Wallace Jr . stormed to his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Martinsville Speedway , etching his name in the history books at the sport's oldest big-league track. But behind him loomed a powder keg. Once Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon made late-race contact in a battle for second place, the events that followed ignited a short fuse; the actions of both sides kept it dry, with Harvick offering a scalding parting shot toward Richard Childress -- then his team owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- and his ascendant grandsons, whom he referred to as "punk-ass kids" on his way out of the race track. One year removed from all the hard feelings, bent fenders and name-calling in one of the season's most incendiary moments, the truck series returns to Martinsville for Saturday's Kroger 200 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Neither of the 2013 combatants are entered in the 200-lapper, leaving a large crop of series regulars to fight it out in the tour's 19th of 22 events this season. While there won't be a carbon-copy repeat of last year's melee, all sides have made significant growth from the fireworks that offered an extra layer of heat to the cool autumn weekend in the south Virginia foothills. KEVIN HARVICK His role: Running second with 13 laps remaining, Harvick's NTS Motorsports No. 14 was nudged from behind twice by Ty Dillon 's Childress-owned No. 3, sending both spinning and catching series leader Matt Crafton and rookie Chase Elliott up in the mess. Once righted, Harvick sideswiped Dillon's truck under caution and played bumper cars with his rival before eventually parking, firing off a testy verbal salvo and leaving the track in a huff. Zinger quote: "Exactly the reason why I'm leaving RCR because you've got those kids coming up and they've got no respect for what they do in this sport and they've had everything fed to them with a spoon." Fast forward: Just two weeks later, Harvick and Childress were all smiles and embracing in Victory Lane at Phoenix International Raceway, sharing a post-race toast of celebratory beers and proving that wins go a long way toward shortening memories and allowing bygones to fade. Harvick, who finished third in the Sprint Cup standings in his RCR swan song, joined Stewart-Haas Racing as planned in the offseason and has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of his career, winning eight Coors Light Pole Awards -- two more than he achieved in 13 years with Childress. Harvick is the lone SHR driver still title-eligible in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. He wound up 30th last October at Martinsville and apologized for his comments the next day; he hasn't entered a truck series event since. TY DILLON His role: Dillon's nudge triggered the rapidly escalating conflict, but he claimed later that Harvick may have dragged his brake to initiate contact or stall his momentum. Either way, the youngster wasn't content to let Harvick's retaliation go unanswered. Dillon repeatedly rammed Harvick's truck from behind during yellow-flag laps, including a resounding pop when Harvick slowed to a stop in his pit stall. Zinger quote: "I used to look up to that guy but I guess he doesn't understand the circumstances of what's going on. I understand it's tough racing down there in (turns) one and two at Martinsville. I know we wrecked, but to tear up a truck after the race and act like a punk on the track and on pit road and stop on pit road in my pit stall when my guys were coming out, that was pretty ridiculous. I'm not happy with him. And for him not to stick around, that's pretty sad, too." Fast forward: The 22nd-place finish -- last on the lead lap -- didn't help Dillon's championship hopes; he took second in the season-long standings, 40 points behind eventual champ Crafton. The 22-year-old, who became engaged in the offseason, advanced to the Nationwide Series for 2014 and landed a defining win, driving the Childress No. 3 to victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. The Nationwide rookie ranks fifth in the series standings with three races left. AUSTIN DILLON His role: The older Dillon brother wasn't even entered in the Kroger 200 , but found himself lumped in with Harvick's collective ire in his post-race rant. A Nationwide Series regular at the time, Austin Dillon was already earmarked for Sprint Cup duty with his grandfather's team though the official announcement was still two months away. Zinger quote: "Growing up in the family with RCR and knowing what goes on here on a daily basis, it hurt my feelings. But I forgive Kevin. Kevin's taught me a lot; he's done a lot for our company and stepped in at a tough time for RCR. He's kept us at the forefront of NASCAR. With my grandfather's help he was able to do that. My grandfather gave him that opportunity." Fast forward: Austin Dillon officially took Harvick's place at RCR in December, with the team announcing that it would bring the No. 3 back to Sprint Cup competition for the first time since Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 . The rookie ranks 19th in the series standings with four top-10 finishes in 32 races. The elder Dillon has also dabbled in truck series competition, with five of his seven starts coming with the NTS team that fielded Harvick's truck last October. RICHARD CHILDRESS His role: The veteran team owner was left seething after being summoned to the NASCAR hauler, but did his best to try to calm Ty Dillon in the garage after the late-race dust-up. Childress' team, however, was anything but calm, approaching Harvick's truck on pit road and heaving a heavy rubber mallet toward it. Five days later, the team was penalized, with crew chief Marcus Richmond absorbing a $10,000 fine and crew member Adam Brown suspended indefinitely for the hammer throw. Zinger quote: "I'm disappointed. Very disappointed -- that's all I can say. I've got too much class to say what I really want to say. When I say it, I'll say it to his face." Fast forward: Childress launched its 2014 campaign with a new-look Sprint Cup driver lineup, with Austin Dillon replacing Harvick and Ryan Newman taking over for the retiring Jeff Burton alongside the returning Paul Menard . Newman was the only RCR driver to qualify for the Chase playoffs, and his title hopes remain alive in the eight-driver Eliminator Round. Childress ended his full-time participation in the truck series after 2013, but expanded his Nationwide Series operation to three full-time teams with full-time drivers by promoting truck regulars Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan . Richmond remained in the truck series and joined Red Horse Racing as a crew chief for Timothy Peters . Brown, the only one suspended in the Martinsville aftermath, is listed as a tire specialist for Gaughan's No. 62 team on RCR's website. NTS MOTORSPORTS Its role: Harvick's only two truck starts of 2013 came at Martinsville behind the wheel of NTS Chevrolets, and both races ended in DNFs. Though last October's effort wasn't for championship points, it had the unintended impact of drawing more TV time for Anderson's Maple Syrup, primary sponsor on Harvick's No. 14 entry. Zinger quote: None. Fast forward: NTS Motorsports currently occupies the Kernersville, N.C., racing shop of the former Kevin Harvick Inc., which ceased operations after the 2012 season. Nine drivers have taken the wheel for Bob Newberry-owned trucks in 2014, with the major highlight coming from Justin Lofton 's runner-up finish after starting from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway in June. The team is still looking for its first victory in the Camping World Truck Series. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Justin Lofton clips the No. 07 of Caleb Roark who has a tire going down and the No. 6 is taken to the garage on the hook.
Justin Lofton is sent spinning on the frontstretch and gets airborne after a hard hit from Johnny Sauter.
Brad Keselowski saves it after contact with Justin Lofton on the front stretch.
Justin Lofton conserves enough fuel to hold off Brad Keselowski for his first CWTS victory.
Lofton celebrates his first career CWTS victory after the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
Driver hopes for another full-time shot in Camping World Truck Series