BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 20, 2008) – John Wes Townley made his first start at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday in the O’Reilly’s 200. Bristol is a challenging track, and often not kind to rookies. Early in the race Townley said that the truck was just a little loose. Crew chief Chad Norris and the team worked hard to correct the problem, but trouble on lap 78 ended the night early for Townley and the Zaxby’s team.
Wednesday afternoon Townley qualified 18th to start the race. On the first lap he moved up to the 17th position. He then bounced around from 17th as far back as 21st when the second caution came out on lap 41. Townley told the crew that the truck was tight in and loose off. He pitted for new tires and fuel, and as well as an air pressure adjustment. He lost two positions in the pits, restarting in 23rd on lap 44.
Searching for his line Townley worked with both his spotter and crew chief achieving consistent lap times. Just two laps after the restart Townley gained a position to put him in 22nd place. Then on lap 54 the No.88 and No. 41 trucks got into each other bringing out the third caution of the night. Electing to stay out, Townley used his time to talk to Norris about strategy.
Shortly after the restart Townley gained another position putting him in 21st. The handling was still not what he wanted, but Townley kept the truck running decent laps times. Then on lap 78 a truck in front of Townley spun. He saw a hole on the low side of the track, but by the time he reached it the hole closed up, causing him to spin and hit the wall. With significant front-end damage there was no way for Townley to return to the race, which ended his night sooner than expected.
“I was behind the No. 07 as we came out of the corner and he started to spin,” Townley said. “I dove down for the bottom, but, unfortunately, it was just too sharp of a turn and it started to go around on me. I was disappointed because I was so sure I had it saved, but it was just too sharp of a corner and I couldn’t avoid it. I’ve got to thank Zaxby’s, Ford and Roush Fenway for giving me such a good truck. We had a pretty fast truck. We struggled a little bit in practice, but we got it right for qualifying. We’ll just keep working on it and get a better finish next time.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis on Saturday, September 6. Bobby East will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 at Gateway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.