Bristol II: John Wes Townley preview

The No. 09 RAB Racing team was unable to test at Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for this weekend's event, so when the track goes green for practice on Saturday John Wes will be making his very first laps in the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford ...

The No. 09 RAB Racing team was unable to test at Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for this weekend's event, so when the track goes green for practice on Saturday John Wes will be making his very first laps in the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford Fusion.

Townley will be among 20 drivers that have to qualify on time for the Food City 250 this weekend.

John Wes attended his first day of college classes on Monday, August 18th. The 18-year-old, Watkinsville, GA native will take two classes, two nights a week at Gainesville State College.

First Time for Everything: John Wes Townley will be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series and Bristol Motor Speedway debut in this Friday's Food City 250. Although Townley has no prior experience at the .533-mile concrete oval, the 18-year old racer has experience short-track racing. In five starts on a short track this year, Townley has 3 top-10's; Salem, Berlin and Cayuga, an average start of 15.0, an average finish of 10.40 and has completed 99.64% of all laps attempted (1111 out of 1115).

Calling the Shots: Calling the shots this weekend at Bristol is Crew Chief Blake Bainbridge. Bainbridge got started racing with members of the Allison family in his native Alabama. Since then, the young crew chief has worked with such drivers as Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Rick Crawford, and Clayton Rogers in all types of series including USAR Hooters Pro Cup, NASCAR Busch East, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and most recently, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Bainbridge has proven himself in the hot seat by winning poles, races and championships in just his short racing career.

ARCA Points: Currently, Townley is eighth in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Point standings with 3105 points; just 25 points behind seventh place, Tayler Malsam and 610 points behind leader, Scott Speed.

ARCA Stats: In 2008 Townley joined the ARCA RE/MAX Series and RAB Racing. In just his short time in the series Townley has competed on 13 tracks for the first time, accumulating one top-five, five top-10's and 10 top-15's.

Double Duty for Townley in the Thunder Valley: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 09 RAB Racing Ford, Townley piloted Roush- Fenway's No. 09 Zaxby's Ford F-150 in the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 20th. This was Townley's fifth start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Roush-Fenway Racing. He previously raced at Mansfield (27th), Milwaukee (18th), Kentucky (21st), and Nashville (30th).

Watcha Haulin?: Townley will pilot chassis No. 024 in the Food City 250 this Friday night. This is a previous Matt Kenseth chassis from Roush- Fenway racing and is the same car Kenseth drove to victory in 2006 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

What the team has to say: John Wes Townley, Driver of the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford Fusion: "Bristol, where do you start. It seems like one part luck and the other part survival. We have not tested here and I have no prior racing experience at Bristol, but I feel confident in the set-up that my team has provided me with and I just plan to be patient, race smart and capitalize on my short track racing experience."

Blake Bainbridge, Crew Chief of the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford Fusion: "I have been to a few ARCA RE/MAX Series tests and races with John Wes to learn his driving style and have learned quickly that he has talent. My strategy for him this weekend is pretty simple; qualify for the race and stay out of trouble. If he can do that I feel pretty confident in bringing home a top- 15 finish".

-credit: rab

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