SPARTA, Ky. (July 19, 2008) – John Wes Townley had a busy weekend at Kentucky Speedway after racing the Zaxby’s Ford Friday night in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and then again Saturday night in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It was Townley’s first truck series start at Kentucky, but he planned to draw from his previous experience after finishing fifth in the ARCA race in May.
After two practice sessions on Friday, Townley qualified 22nd for the Built Ford Tough 225 on Saturday. As the sun went down, the action heated up on the 1.5-mile track. The first caution came only four laps into the race and Townley told his Zaxby’s team the truck was loose in and tight off the corners. Crew chief Chad Norris brought him to the pits during the second caution for fuel and a wedge adjustment to help the handling.
He was 27th for the restart on lap 16 and continued to tell the team the truck was tight in the center of the turns. The team worked on the truck during every pit stop making adjustments to help the handling. Their pit strategy helped Townley gain track position, and he was up as high as 18th several times throughout the race, but eventually the handling forced him to slide back in the field. It also took some time for Townley to adjust to the aerodynamics of the truck on such a large track.
He was 25th at lap 100, but with a long green-flag run the leader was closing in on him. By lap 103 race leader Johnny Benson caught Townley and put him one lap down. A caution on lap 115 for debris brought Townley down pit road for the team’s final stop of the night. He returned to the race in 23rd place, still one lap down.
Several cautions for multi-truck accidents slowed the final 30 laps of the race. Townley was able to gain some track position by avoiding the accidents and finished the race in 21st place.
“I learned a lot tonight about how these trucks handle and how sensitive they are on a bigger track,” Townley said. “The experience I have from the ARCA races definitely helped. I wish we could have done a little better, but we finished the race and the guys did a great job working on this Zaxby’s F-150 all night. The experience I gained here tonight will certainly help me in my next truck race at Nashville next month.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at O’Reilly Raceway Park on Friday, July 25. Bobby East will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 at Indianapolis.