DISAPPOINTING END TO NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT FOR JOHN WES TOWNLEY AND RAB RACING CONCORD, NC (9/22/08) John Wes Townley and the No. 09 RAB Racing team showed signs of a promising NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend, but was ...
DISAPPOINTING END TO NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT FOR JOHN WES TOWNLEY AND RAB RACING
CONCORD, NC (9/22/08) John Wes Townley and the No. 09 RAB Racing team showed signs of a promising NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend, but was sidelined just past half-way due to engine troubles during Saturday afternoon's Camping World RV Sales 200 at Dover International Speedway.
The goal's set by crew chief Blake Bainbridge for the team's series debut at Dover was simple; qualify well, stay out of trouble and gain the most experience possible. So, despite engine troubles at lap 143, Townley was able to meet his goals set-forth by his team.
The 18-year-old rookie driver spent Friday's practice session's familiarizing himself with the "Monster Mile", and posted the 25th fastest lap in both sessions.
During Saturday morning's time trials, the Watkinsville, GA native toured the 1-mile concrete oval in 24.037 seconds (149.769 mph), posting the 21st- fastest qualifying time overall and third-fastest of the "go-or-go-home" teams.
The 43-car field took the green flag just after 3:30 p.m. before an estimated crowd of 52,000 when Townley faded back as far as 25th in the early goings. The rookie driver radioed in to crew chief, Blake Bainbridge that the Zaxby's Ford was developing a tight-handling condition on corner exit.
When the caution flag waved at lap 71 for an incident with Kelly Bires in turn 3, Bainbridge chose to bring the No. 09 machine down pit-road for 4- tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and track-bar adjustment in an attempt to free up the Zaxby's Ford Fusion.
The field went back to green at lap 77 with the Zaxby's Ford scored in the 26th position.
A loose-handling race car on new tires caused Townley to loose a few more position, and when the second caution flag of the day was waved at lap 89 for debris, Townley was scored 1 lap down in the 27th position. Bainbridge chose to keep the No. 09 machine out during this caution to gain valuable track position and the team restarted 24th.
Running 25th with a little over 100 laps remaining in the 200-lap event, the rookie driver noted that the handling on the car was getting better, but at this point the No. 09 machine was two laps down to the leaders. At lap 99 when the third of seven cautions was brought out for an accident involving the No. 40 of Bryan Clauson, Bainbridge opted to come down pit- road for four tires, fuel and a round of wedge in the left rear, hopefully helping Townley's loose handling feeling on new tires. Townley would restart the event in the 25th position.
Back under green Townley raced in the top-25 for the next 37 laps when he radioed in to his team that he felt like the car was losing power. Fortunately, at lap 140 the fourth caution flag of the race flew and Townley was able to bring his yellow and blue Zaxby's Ford down pit road. Bainbridge called for four tires and fuel. Townley went back out into the field and one-lap later came back down pit road for what would be his final stop of the day to diagnose an engine problem. It was then that the team realized the Zaxby's Ford had likely broken a valve spring and needed to bring the car behind the wall. At lap 143 the team announced they were done for the day due to the problem.
The team would finish in the 30th-position in their first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover Int'l Speedway.
Next up for RAB Racing is the Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. This will mark the third appearance for the team in NASCAR's No. 2 division.