John Wes Townley proved on Saturday morning why he considers the super-fast, 2-mile Michigan International Speedway one of his favorite venues on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule.
The 26-year-old Georgia driver paced both rounds of qualifying in his No. 05 Jive Communications/Zaxby’s Chevrolet to earn the pole position for the Careers for Veterans 200. Townley’s other pole came earlier this season at Kansas Speedway.
“Winning the pole was a real shot in the arm,” Townley said. “The entire season has been a struggle for us, but winning a pole is a real confidence booster that we have the ability to run a couple of really fast laps. We’ve just got to continue working to translate that into speed on race runs.”
Following a rain delay of just over two hours, the green flag finally waved over Saturday afternoon’s 100 lap event and Townley settled into fifth during the early going.
As the race stayed green during the opening laps, Townley’s Chevrolet began encountering handling issues that prevented him from running wide open. That forced him back to 15th when the caution clock expired to bring out the day’s first caution flag.
Following a restart just past the midpoint of the event, Townley began to slow as he entered Turn 1 after sensing he had a tire going down. Seconds later, large chunks of rubber from the left-rear tire began trailing his Silverado.
Townley was able to limp back to pit road and speedy service from his Athenian Motorsport over-the-wall team kept him on the lead lap.
Still struggling with the handling of his truck, the team opted to change the two front shock absorbers during the event’s final caution. Townley restarted 20th and climbed to 12th by the final lap. The speed was back but he had run out of laps to charge back into the Top 10.
“It was definitely a thrill to win the pole and start up front, but I hate that we struggled with the setup,” Townley said. “And then we blew that tire halfway through the race. But our guys never gave up. They repaired the fender, changed shocks and made wholesale changes to the truck and really got me going there at the end to finish P12. Unfortunately, we just ran out of time to make a charge.”
Townley will head north this week to compete in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada on Sunday Sep. 4th. The event will air live at 2:30 p.m. eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Athenian Motorsports PR