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TOWNLEY MOVES TO TOP OF FINAL TRUCK SERIES PRACTICE CHART
Determined to notch his second career victory, John Wes Townley dropped defending Rattlesnake 400 champion Matt Crafton from the top of the speed chart during Thursday’s second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.
Townley toured TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile speedway in 30.097-seconds and 179.420 mph during a 90-minute session run in conditions that will be similar to Friday night’s Rattlesnake 400. Townley was the only driver to crack the 179 mph barrier during Thursday’s revised schedule of two practices.
Townley, driver of the No. 05 Jive Communications/Zaxby's Chevrolet, scored his breakthrough NCWTS victory last season at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a sister facility to TMS. Townley finished third in last June’s truck series standalone event and has two top-fives and three top-10s in eight career starts in Fort Worth. Townley currently sits 19th in the standings with a high finish of seventh at Atlanta Motor Speedway, another 1.5-mile layout in O. Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc., family of tracks.
Townley was third in the opening practice at 178.412 mph.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year point-leader William Byron was second fastest in the evening practice with a best lap of 30.176-seconds and 178.950 mph in the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. Byron, who has a three-point lead in the rookie race over KBM teammate Christopher Bell, ran a session-high 51 laps.
Spencer Gallagher placed third at 178.855 mph in his No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet fielded by Maurice Gallagher Jr. Ben Rhodes, of ThorSpot Racing, was fourth at 178.625 mph in the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota, just ahead of teammate Crafton at 178.577 mph in the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Toyota.
Intermediate track ace Crafton set the pace during Thursday afternoon’s opening practice at 178.950 mph on the fourth of only five laps run in mid-90-degree ambient temperatures. Crafton has won the last two truck series races this season and the past two June contests at TMS heading into Friday’s annual 167-lap/250.5-miler (8 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1). In 30 career starts at Texas, Crafton owns two wins, 11 top-fives, 19 top-10s and a 9.7 average finish. He has placed in the top-10 in each of his last nine starts in Fort Worth. Crafton also counts three runner-up results at “The Great American Speedway!”
Rookie Rico Abreu, the two-time Chili Bowl Nationals champion, fell from ninth (177.113 mph) in the opener to 23rd in the nightcap (174.831 mph) in his No. 98 Satellite Auto Glass/Curb Records Toyota.
A total of 34 trucks took part in the evening session, a prelude to NCWTS Star-Telegram Qualifying Day at 5 p.m. (CDT) Friday.
Tickets for the Rattlesnake 400 are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.