A SOLID RUN IN THE AARON'S 312 YIELDS BIG GAINS FOR TOWNLEY AND RAB RACING Talladega, AL (4-26-09) -- John Wes Townley put in a solid effort in the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford Fusion and came away with a 18th-place finish in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega...
A SOLID RUN IN THE AARON'S 312 YIELDS BIG GAINS FOR TOWNLEY AND RAB RACING
Talladega, AL (4-26-09) -- John Wes Townley put in a solid effort in the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford Fusion and came away with a 18th-place finish in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday.
The top 20 effort lifted the No. 09 from 35th to 32nd in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner standings. The team is now just 39 points outside of the top 30.
The 19-year-old Raybestos Rookie contender was the 37th car out of 47 to take time during Friday afternoon's time trials. His quick lap of 52.421 seconds (182.675 mph) was good enough to lock the Watkinsville, GA native into the field with a 31st place starting position.
Townley and his other 42 competitors took the green flag for the 117-lap event just past 2:30 p.m. ET before an estimated crowd of 70,000 race fans. However, prior to rolling off the starting grid the Zaxby's Racing team discussed a strategy for the day; fall to the back, avoid the "big one" and be there at the end. Townley stuck to his plan of attack and brought home his second top-20 finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.
In the early goings Townley found his way to the bottom and stayed just outside his starting position of 31st for the long green flag run and opening 40 circuits. At lap 39 the leaders started making their way down pit road, but it wasn't until lap 40 that crew chief Brad Parrott called the No. 09 machine down for four Goodyear tires and fuel. Townley was down and away and scored in the 31st position on lap 42 when green flag pit stops circled through.
When the afternoon's first caution fell on lap 55 for an accident in turn 2 Townley was scored in the 30th position dangerously close to going a lap down to the leaders. Parrott called the yellow and blue Zaxby's Ford down pit road again for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Excellent work by the Zaxby's crew had Townley restarting in the 26th position on lap 58.
Just past half-way Townley set sail to the front of the pack and was sitting in the 15th position on lap 78 until the Raybestos Rookie Contender radioed in that his water temperature had reached 270 degrees. Unfortunately, this was critically high for the Zaxby's Ford Fusion and Townley was forced to fade back for clean air and cooler temperatures.
When the afternoon's second caution flag was waved for debris on the race track Townley was scored in the 26th position running in the back of the lead pack with Carl Edwards. Parrott chose to bring the No. 09 machine down pit road for a third and final stop for four tires and to pack the Zaxby's Ford full of fuel. Townley would restart 23rd with just 25 laps remaining.
Four caution flags including the "big one" on lap 106 halted Townley from gaining momentum and finding his way back to the front. Townley and the No. 09 team would gain just five more positions and take the checkered flag 18th behind race winner David Ragan.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will head to Richmond International Raceway next weekend for the Lipton Tea 250 on Friday, May 1st. John Wes Townley and RAB Racing will make their debut at the .750-mile D-shaped oval.