Townley Earns Career-Best Nationwide Series Finish at Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Richard Childress Racing development driver John Wes Townley, behind the wheel of the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet, earned his best career NASCAR Nationwide Series finish...
Townley Earns Career-Best Nationwide Series Finish at Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Richard Childress Racing development driver John Wes Townley, behind the wheel of the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet, earned his best career NASCAR Nationwide Series finish of 15th in Saturday's Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The top-15 finish moved the Watkinsville, Ga., native six positions, to 21st, in the NNS point standings.
Townley and the No. 21 team began the weekend by posting the 27th-fastest time in Friday's opening practice session. Later that afternoon, their speed improved as they ended the final practice session 11th on the scoreboard. The good run translated over to Saturday when the 20-year old driver laid down a solid qualifying lap that was good enough to start the 300-mile race on the outside of row seven in 14th.
Cool temperatures and cloudy skies greeted the estimated 45,000 race fans on hand to watch 200 laps of NNS racing Saturday afternoon. Townley was a mainstay in the top 20 in the opening 17 laps before the event's second yellow flag was displayed.
Crew chief Dan Deeringhoff elected to put the Zaxby's team on a different pit sequence than the rest of the field during the caution period and brought Townley down pit lane for routine service. Townley restarted 29th on lap 21 and picked off seven positions over the next 11 circuits.
As the rest of the leaders began their green-flag pit stops on lap 54, Deeringhoff's previous pit call paid dividends. Townley took the lead on lap 66 and held the top sport for 10 laps before making his second pit stop of the day, this time while under green.
After pit stops cycled through, Townley was scored in 21st, one lap down to the leader. However, a caution on lap 85 allowed for another sharp call from atop of the pit box, with Deeringhoff deciding to keep the No. 21 on the track.
Townley restarted 18th on lap 92 and never raced outside the top 18 for the remainder of the race.
A slight rain shower slowed the field just past the race's halfway point, but it didn't stop the progress of the Zaxby's racing driver.
Townley was running comfortably in the top 15 by lap 150 and was scored 12th 25 laps later. He faded slightly over the final 25 laps before taking the checkered flag in 15th.
Kevin Harvick led 82 laps en route to his 35th career NNS victory. He was chased to the finish line by Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards. Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers rounded out the rest of the top-five finishers.
JOHN WES TOWNLEY: "We had a good run today. I'm proud to be part of a team that supports me and works so hard. Dan (Deeringhoff) and the guys on the Zaxby's team helped get my No. 21 Chevrolet dialed in and it showed as our speed improved throughout the weekend. Our primary goal was to start the race, finish all the laps and make a run at a top-15 finish at the end. I'm glad we were able to accomplish them both and earning my best career Nationwide Series finish was special. Now, we can enjoy some time off with our family and friends before we get back to racing in three weeks at Bristol."
NASCAR's junior circuit will enjoy two weekends off before heading to Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of Townley's second-best career NNS finish (16th).