John Wes Townley to debut ..


John Wes Townley makes his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Mansfield Motorsport Park in Ohio. Townley shares driving duties of the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 with Travis Kvapil and Bobby East.  The 18-year-old, a full time driver for RAB Racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, is fifth series in points, just 90 markers out of first.  Townley talks about missing his high school graduation ceremony at North Oconee High School [Georgia], racing and goals for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

ON HIS NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES DEBUT. “I feel pretty confident.  We’ve been here [Mansfield] before in our Hooters Pro Cup car [2007], so I have some experience with this track.  We also did a couple of test sessions in the truck.  We did one at Caraway [Speedway, Asheboro, NC] and one in Martinsville, so I’m pretty confident about this weekend.  You can’t set too high an expectation just because it’s my first race in the truck series, but we’re gonna go into this thing with all I’ve got and we’ll see what we look like in the end.”

HOW IS YOUR COMFORT LEVEL IN THE FORD F-150 NOW THAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH THE FIRST PRACTICE? “It’s increased a lot from the time I hopped into the truck. I really didn’t know what to expect.  I knew I had a pretty good feel for this track.  I didn’t know how much of a difference that it was going to be.  Now that I have a couple of laps out there, it kind of feels the same.  I feel pretty confident.”

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS RACE? “A great goal for me at the end of the day would be a top-15 finish.  I’d be eternally grateful for that.  It would be a great first race.  Anything ahead of that, we’ll take what we can get.  We’re going into this race with a positive attitude.”

SINCE YOU’VE RACED HERE BEFORE, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN?  “I just think to run every lap like it’s qualifying, but you’ve just got to be cautiously aggressive.  And that’s a tough thing to do when you’re out here racing.  I’d like to stay on the lead lap and get as many positions as I can and be there at the end.”

DO YOU THINK TRACK POSITION IS A KEY FACTOR HERE? “It is here.  It will be so hard to pass.  You get a certain percentage of cars that are pretty easy to pass just because you have a difference in speed.  But when you get people that are pretty close to you, it’s just really tough to pass here.  You’ll just heat your tires up trying to do it and then you’re a couple of car lengths back.  It is a challenge here.”

YOU SEEM VERY CONFIDENT IN BOTH YOURSELF AND THE EQUIPMENT.  DO YOU CREDIT THAT CONFIDENCE TO HAVING THE SUPPORT OF ROUSH FENWAY RACING? “Yes, I would say so.  It is a very well organized company.  We really are proud to be a part of it.  I’m really lucky to get this and hopefully we can stay with it.”

ARE YOU MISSING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TO RACE TOMORROW? “Yes, I am.  I think my Mom is more upset about it than I am.  Actually, it’s just an honor to be here but it is also an honor to graduate.”

MORE ON RACING. “I’m really glad to be here.  I’m really excited.  I’ve been looking forward to this day and my first truck race.  I’ve just got my sponsor to thank for it – Zaxby’s.  I’m just proud to be with Roush Fenway Racing and really happy to be here.”

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