John Wes Townley overcame a mid-pack starting position to have a strong run in Saturday night's American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway, but problems on pit road, including on a late-race stop, resulted in a 15th-place finish for the Zaxby's team.
Townley recorded the 21st and 22nd-fastest times, respectively, in the dual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions. The 22-year-old driver toured the .875-mile oval in 23.339 seconds during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session to earn the 16th starting spot for the 200-lap event later in the evening.
Upon taking the green flag, Townley quickly demonstrated the strength of his Zaxby's Toyota. Despite losing a handful of positions in the early going of the event, the Watkinsville, Ga. native was able to work his way inside the top 10 as the laps clicked off. Townley held his own as the race continued under green-flag conditions, but experienced miscues not of his own doing when he hit pit road for scheduled service throughout the early going of the race.
The No. 09 advanced to ninth on the scoring pylon, where Townley would maintain position until being called to pit road, under green-flag conditions, for routine service of four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a slow pit stop resulted in the loss of several positions, placing Townley two laps down as the cycle of stops came to completion.
As drivers made daring moves over the final laps of the event, Townley exercised extreme patience, relinquishing positions when necessary, and taking positions whenever possible. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to regain position in the running order and was forced to settle for a 15th-place finished when the checkered flag was displayed.
"We were pretty solid tonight," said Townley. "We struggled a little bit with being loose getting into the corners, but once we got that solved, we were good. It's unfortunate what happened on pit road tonight, but the important thing is we got this Zaxby's Toyota Tundra out of here in one piece and we'll have it for Martinsville later in the season. This is a really good short track truck. I've got faith in it, and I've got faith in these guys and everyone at RAB Racing, and we'll get everything together and we'll go to Kentucky next week and we'll get us a good one."
Next weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers and crews head to Kentucky Speedway for race 16 of 22. SPEED's live television coverage of the Kentucky 200 begins Friday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
RAB Racing PR