WEST ALLIS, Wisc. (June 20, 2008) – John Wes Townley fought a tight truck all night, but brought the Zaxby’s Ford F-150 home in one piece in the 18th position for his best NASCAR finish.
From the very beginning of Friday night’s 200-lap event, Townley struggled with the handling of the Zaxby’s Ford. He remained quiet on the radio, but when the caution flag was displayed at lap eight, Townley had a chance to diagnose the problem. He reported to crew chief Chad Norris that he was tight in the center and off the turns, and that he wasn’t able to run the line he would have liked. When the race restarted at lap 12, Townley’s struggles became apparent as the Zaxby’s F-150 began to backslide through the field.
Townley did what he could to hold off his competitors, but as the laps clicked off and the handling problems worsened there was little he could do to keep them at bay. As the green flag run continued, the race leaders began to catch the tail end of the field. At lap 47, Townley went a lap down to race leader Johnny Benson. The driver of the Zaxby’s Ford did what he could to stay in contention for the “lucky dog” free pass if the caution came out, but at lap 75 had to give up his track position to come to pit road for service. Norris made the call to take on four tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. Just as the Zaxby’s team completed their service, the No. 40 truck came to a stop on the backstretch, forcing NASCAR to throw the caution flag. The timing of the caution resulted in the No. 09 Ford being trapped another lap down to the race leaders.
Once the race restarted, Townley reported that it felt as if his F-150 got tighter every lap. The Zaxby’s team got a break when the caution flag was displayed at lap 94 for debris, allowing them to come to pit road for additional adjustments. Norris elected to take on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help loosen up their F-150. When the crew completed its service, they found that the left-rear tire had gone flat and likely contributed to their handling issues.
Just as quickly as the race restarted, the yellow flag was thrown again as several trucks tangled in turn four. The field resumed racing under green-flag conditions at lap 105, with Townley showing in the 24th position, two laps down to the race leader. Townley held the position over the course of the next run, until lightning brought out the caution flag at lap 145. With many of the leaders coming to pit road for service, Townley followed suit. The Zaxby’s crew again took four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment. Once the pit stops were completed, the field was brought to pit road again, but this time under the red flag for severe lightning in the area.
Once the storm passed and the field went back to racing, Townley slowly began to gain positions. With only a handful of trucks on the same lap as him, he did his part to stay out of the way of the leaders but pick up positions where he could. Townley took the checkered flag in the 18th position, recording the best finish of his brief Craftsman Truck Series career.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 28. Bobby East will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 next weekend.
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 and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.