Townley Scores Top 25 in First Outing with RCR at Daytona Although a pit road mistake and slight damage from a multi-car incident hindered John Wes Townley's performance in Saturday's Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, the young...
Townley Scores Top 25 in First Outing with RCR at Daytona
Although a pit road mistake and slight damage from a multi-car incident hindered John Wes Townley's performance in Saturday's Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, the young driver and championship crew chief-led team held their heads high and brought home a top-25 finish. Townley is in his first year with Richard Childress Racing and has been paired with 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion crew chief Dan Deeringhoff for the 2010 season. The young driver has 30 career Nationwide Series starts, and recently came off a career-best third-place effort in last weekend's ARCA Series event at the 'World Center of Racing.'
Constant rain showers over the Daytona Beach area throughout much of the day on Friday forced NASCAR to scrub the time trial session for Saturday's 300-mile event. Per the rule book, the 43-car field lined up according to the final 2009 owner point standings, with the red and yellow Chevy fifth on the starting grid.
In front of an estimated crowd of 80,000 race fans, the Watkinsville, Ga., native held his own in the opening 33 laps. He raced between the fifth and eighth positions before heading toward pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 43. But, as Townley made the left-hand turn to enter pit lane, contact with the commitment line cone caused NASCAR to issue a pass-thru penalty that resulted in a loss of one lap.
Despite returning to competition 35th in the running order, Deeringhoff rooted on his young driver as he tried to compete for the Lucky Dog position.
However, Townley's RCR-fielded entry sustained slight right-front damage nine laps past the event's halfway mark saw a 12-car melee. The Zaxby's team was able to repair the injured fender after multiple trips to pit road. The 20-year-old returned to action 29th on the leaderboard on lap 78, despite being two laps down to the leader.
Townley spent the remaining laps running at a competitive, yet cautious, pace and, in the process, was able to avoid another multi-car incident on lap 91 and pick up six positions to finish 23rd.
Tony Stewart captured the season-opening Nationwide Series victory, beating Carl Edwards to the line by less than half a second. Kevin Harvick, Justin Allgaier and Brian Vickers rounded out the top-five finishers.
Next weekend, NASCAR's junior circuit makes a westward trek for its first of two stops in the Golden State.
JOHN WES TOWNLEY:
"The Zaxby's Chevrolet was really good in the beginning of the race. I made a mistake coming on pit road, which placed us a lap down. We hoped to race for the Lucky Dog spot, but the No. 21 Chevy got some damage when the big accident happened in front us and we had to come down pit road multiple times for repairs. I'm happy that Dan (Deeringhoff, crew chief) and the rest of the team kept fighting with me and I'm more proud that we finished the race and made the most of the situation we were in."