John Wes Townley Wins First Truck Race in Dramatic Finish at Vegas
By Lori Vizza
9:50 pm - Good Night!
That will do it for this year's Rhino Linings 300. Congratulations to John Wes Townley and Athenian Motorsports on their victory.
Thank you for joining us.
9:17 pm - John Wes Townley Wins First Truck Race in Dramatic Finish at Vegas
John Wes Townley hung on at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to record his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in an event that came down to fuel mileage.
Matt Crafton started on the pole and led the most laps but had to dive down pit road for a splash of fuel with less than five laps to go. Townley inherited the lead and held on from there to take the checkers in his 89th career series start.
"I would have run myself out of gas if it weren't for (spotter) Terry (Cook)," said Townley, who started 2nd and was in contention all race. "I just tried to take care of this thing (No 05 Chevrolet) and it took care of me."
Timothy Peters finished 2nd, 3.827 seconds behind Townley.
"I wish my race would have been a little bit better but I guess second isn't so bad," said Peters. "(The truck) was kind of a little better at the beginning. There at the end it got really tight."
Ben Kennedy, John Nemechek and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five.
There were 15 lead changes among 8 drivers and 3 cautions for 19 laps.
The Truck Series teams will take two weeks off before heading to Talladega Superspeedway for Race #19.
8:57 pm - The Finish - Townley Wins
Lap 146 - Hayley is out of fuel and coasting - E Jones is out of fuel
John Wes Townley hangs on to win the Rhino Linings 300
2nd-5th - Peters, Kennedy, Nemechek, B Jones
8:52 pm - Lap 137 – Update
10 laps to go. Crafton is still hanging in there and has stretched his lead to 1.4 seconds.
Lap 142 – Crafton gives up the lead to come to pit road
Townley inherits the lead but slows dramatically
Lap 144 – Top 5: Townley, Hayley, E Jones, Peters,
8:50 pm - Lap 130 – Update
Crafton is still out front.
Crafton and Haley have both been told by their crew chiefs to conserve fuel.
On Lap 132 - Crafton crew chief tells him he's not going to make it and they're probably going to need a splash of fuel.
8:45 pm - Lap 120 – Update
Crafton continues to lead and has a 1.2-second advantage over Townley.
3rd-5th – Hayley, Bell, E Jones
There are 9 trucks on the lead lap
8:30 pm - Lap 94 - Update
We're in the middle of green flag pit stops.
Crafton was the first to come in.
Hayley slides through his pit and needs to be pushed back. That will cost him position on the track.
Sauter inherits the lead but has yet to come in for his stop. He gives up the lead on Lap 100 to make his stop.
After green flag stops - Lap 102 – Top 5: Crafton, Townley, Bell, E Jones, Hayley
8:26 pm - Lap 90 - Update
Still under green and closing in on green flag pit stops if we don't see a caution.
Top 5: Hayley, Crafton, Townley, Jones, Bell
8:21 pm - Theriault Medical Update
Theriault was transported University Medical Center and so far the only word we have is he is awake and alert.
8:20 pm - Lap 69 - Update
Hayley takes the lead from Crafton on Lap 69
Lap 70 – Top 5: Hayley, Crafton, Townley, Bell, E Jones
Lap 72 – We're in the longest green flag stretch we've had so far tonight – 19 laps and counting.
8:15 pm - Lap 60 - Update
Sauter managed to stay on the lead lap after that crash and is running 9th.
Lap 62 - Top 5: Crafton, Hayley, Peters, Bell, Townley
8:00 pm - Yellow #3 - Lap 49
Nemechek gets loose between Turns 1 and 2 and collects Sauter. Sauter hits the wall and receives damage to the left rear while Nemechek drives away with minimal damage to the right front.
Edwards get a lap back.
Back to green on Lap 53
Crafton takes the lead from Peters on that restart.
7:40 pm - Yellow #2 - Lap 38
Under caution for the 2nd time - Forrister's truck is smoking. He comes to pit road and his crew pushes the truck behind the wall.
Everybody comes back down pit road.
Poole's team has a tire get away from them - that will be a penalty
After pit stops - 1st-5th - Peters, Crafton, Nemechek, B Jones, Gallagher
This time Crafton takes fuel only
Back to green on Lap 42
7:48 pm - Lap 33 Update
Sauter takes the lead from Townley
3rd-5th - Hayley, Peters, Nemechek
7:45 pm - Theriault Medical Update
Theriault is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
7:37: pm - Lap 22 Update
Still under caution. Everybody comes down pit road for service.
Townley comes off pit road in 1st place
2nd-5th - Hayley, Sauter, Peters, B Jones
The leaders took fuel only. Crafton takes 4 tires and restarts 10th.
Back to green on Lap 26
7:25 pm - Yellow #1 - Lap 15
Crash on the frontstretch involving Theriault and Reddick
Reddick got loose first to start that incident. Theriault had nowhere to go, clips Reddick's left front fender and went nose first into the outside wall. The safety crew helps Theriault out of the truck and loads him into the ambulance for a visit to the infield care center. Theriault is alert and able to give the crowd a thumbs up as he's put into the ambulance.
Up front: Townley took the lead from Crafton a couple laps before that caution as he went three-wide between Crafton and the lapped truck driven by Ogata.
Running order under caution: Townley, Crafton, B Jones, Sauter, Hayley
BJ McLeod gets 1 lap back.
7:24 pm - Lap 10 Update
E Jones has already moved from the tail end of the field to 16th.
Top 5: Crafton, Townley, B Jones, Peters, Hayley
7:20 pm - Green Flag!
Matt Crafton pulls out front out of Turn 2 and takes the lead on Lap 1.
2nd-5th: Townley, B Jones, Peters, Hayley
5:29 pm - No 4 Team Changing Engines
Erik Jones' team discovered a problem with the engine in their Toyota after qualifying so they are busy swapping in a new one. That means Jones will have to start at the rear of the field after posting the 15th fasting qualifying speed.
Ray Black, Jr. missed today's driver's meeting, so he'll also start at the back. His qualifying speed was 22nd fastest.
5:20 pm - Starting Lineup
1 88 Matt Crafton
2 05 John Wes Townley
3 33 Brandon Jones
4 17 Timothy Peters
5 54 Christopher Bell
6 13 Cameron Hayley
7 29 Austin Theriault
8 15 Mason Mingus
9 11 Ben Kennedy
10 23 Spencer Gallagher
11 19 Tyler Reddick
12 14 Daniel Hemric
13 98 Johnny Sauter
14 21 Brennan Poole
15 4 Erik Jones
16 8 John Nemechek
17 31 Travis Pastrana
18 51 Matt Tifft
19 16 Chad Boat
20 02 Tyler Young
21 07 Ray Black Jr
22 36 Justin Jennings
23 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb
24 45 BJ McLeod
25 08 Korbin Forrister
26 74 Jordan Anderson
27 0 Calen Roark
28 94 Wayne Edwards
29 63 Akinori Ogata
30 50 Tyler Tanner
31 6 Norm Benning
5:15 pm - Crafton Wins the Pole
Matt Crafton continued his domination through qualifying with a pole-winning speed of 176.396 mph. He was the only one of 32 drivers to break the 176 mph barrier. It marks his first pole at LVMS, his second of 2015 and his 9th overall in 356 series starts.
John Wes Townley lines up next to Crafton after posting a lap at 175.758 mph. The second place qualifying effort is his first top-10 start at LVMS in 4 attempts.
Rounding out the top five were Brandon Jones, who is the fastest qualifying rookie, Timothy Peters and Christopher Bell.
Las Vegas native Spencer Gallagher starts 10th while defending race winner Erik Jones takes the green flag from 15th on the starting grid.
4:10 pm - Qualifying is Underway
Today's qualifying session is underway with Caleb Roark the first driver on the track. They'll go in reverse order of how they ended up after this morning's practice session
3:45 pm - Gallagher Returns Home
Spencer Gallagher cut his racing teeth in Las Vegas when he got his start at the tender age of 12 competing in the Bandolero Bandit Series. The Palo Verde High School graduate made his first truck series start in 2014 when he started 6th and finished 13th. This year, he returns as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and he would love nothing more than to give his hometown fans something to cheer about when the checkers fall.
His GMS Racing team is coming off a victory last weekend at New Hampshire with driver Austin Dillon.
"Last year was our (team's) first full year in the Truck Series," said Gallagher. "We're an upstart team. Everything we put together, we do in-house. So, to go from the start of 2014 and figure out how to try and spell car to winning a race in under two years is such a great achievement."
3:20 pm - What's a Minor to Do?
Not a single one of Kyle Busch Motorsports' drivers are of legal age to participate in the things most people enjoy doing in Sin City. But that doesn't mean they don't have a plan.
"The first thing I'm going to do when we land in Las Vegas is go to In 'N Out," said Christopher Bell. "Beyond that I'll probably spend most of my time focused on the race. None of my teammates are 21 yet either, so maybe we can figure something out together. In 'N Out is definitely a priority though."
3:00 pm - KBM Gambles on Young Guns
While Erik Jones is going for two wins in a row at LVMS, his teammates Christopher Bell (No 54 Tundra) and Matt Tifft (No 51 Tundra) will be competing here for the first time.
Bell is making his four career Truck Series start after winning at Eldora Speedway in just his third series start. His second start came at Kentucky, where he finished 17th.
"I really enjoyed the mile-and-a-half race at Kentucky," said the 20 year old driver. "The air moving the trucks around was something really cool to experience. I'm looking forward to Vega because the aero will be so important there and I got a taste of that at Kentucky."
Nineteen year-old Tifft has 19 starts in four different series in 2015, and seeks his first top-5 finish in the Truck Series. His other starts this season have come in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, ARCA and the K&N Pro Series West. He made his Xfinity Series debut last weekend at Kentucky Speedway. He was in the runner-up position late in the race and ended up with a respectable 10th place finish.
"Working with all of the different teams I have this year has allowed me to gain more seat time and get a lot of feedback from the different crew chiefs and teams, which is very valuable to a young driver."
1:00 pm - Jones Would Be Satisfied with a Pair
Erik Jones will roll off the grid tonight as the defending race winner and if he can make it to Victory Lane, he will be just the third driver to win more than one Truck Series race at LVMS, joining Jack Sprague (1996, 1998) and Mike Skinner (2006, 2008).
Last year's victory was the first at LVMS for Kyle Busch Motorsports, a milestone that Jones was thrilled help the team reach.
"It was just a cool win for us," Jones said. "This is a race we had marked on the calendar last year. I'm just happy to be back out here at a track where we've had success. If can go back-to-back, that would be great for us and everyone involved."
Jones has two victories in 2015 and brings a streak of nine consecutive top-10 finishes into this weekend's race in Sin City
12:30 pm - Crafton Lookin' to Cash in at LVMS
Matt Crafton is still seeking his first LVMS and after leading today's practice session, he has to like his odds of finding Victory Lane this evening. With 14 starts, 6 top-5 finishes and 7 top-10 finishes at LVMS, he leads all active drivers in all three categories. He also has 4 victories in 2015, more than any other driver - and they all came at 1.5-mile speedways. Carl "Junior" Joiner decided to bring the same truck chassis Crafton drove to victory earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, which are both sister tracks to LVMS.
"We haven't been able to get a win (at LVMS), but I have finished second there a couple times," said Crafton. "There was one race there that I had led the majority of the race and got passed on the last lap. It's a little bit of salt in the wound for me, but it happens when you're racing. At least we were in contention."
12:00 pm - Talkin' Points
With six races to go, the battle for the championship is tight with just 19 points separating the top 3. Erik Jones, driver for Las Vegas' own Kyle Busch, leads the way with Thorsport Racing's Matt Crafton just 7 points back. Crafton leapfrogged Tyler Reddick for the runner-up position with a second place finish last weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. Reddick, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing, is third.
11:40 am - Crafton Fastest in Practice
Today's one and only practice session is in the books and nobody could touch Matt Crafton, who led the way from beginning to end. His fastest lap of 177.719 mph is just 0.346-mph off the track record set by Mike Skinner way back in 2006.
2nd-10th: Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters, Brandon Jones, Austin Theriault, Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Cameron Hayley, Matt Tifft and Spencer Gallagher
11:00 am - Break in the Action
We're under a red flag condition with about 30 minutes to go in this practice session. It looks like Tyler Tanner's No 50 Chevrolet just blew an engine. Tyler manages to get back to pit road without further incident.
Meanwhile, a look at the speed chart shows Crafton still leading the way. Johnny Sauter is now second fastest with a 177.556 mph followed by Jones, Hemric and Theriault.
10:05 am - Crafton Still Leading the Way
Crafton is still the fastest driver on the track so far today and he upped the ante to 177.719 mph. Timothy Peters, Brandon Jones, Daniel Hemric and Austin Theriault round out the top 5 with 90 minutes to go in this session.
9:30 am - Practice Update
We're 30 minutes into today's practice session and Matt Crafton is sitting atop the speed chart with a 177.404 mph lap. Rounding out the top 3 are Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric, who is making his first start here at LVMS.
8:45 am - Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway!
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is in town for the 18th race of the season. We've got a beautiful day for a race, which is more than we can say about the poor NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series teams as they slog through the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin.
Weather forecasters tell us to expect clear skies all day and temperatures in the mid-80s. Come out and join us or you'll miss the chance to soak up some sun and watch some exciting on-track activity. If you're stuck inside today, we feel your pain -- but no worries…keep it tuned right here to lvms.com for all the action as it happens.
The drivers will get one 2 ½ hour practice this morning starting at 9 am. Qualifying starts at 4:05 pm and the green flag for tonight's Rhino Linings 350 is scheduled to fly at 7:18 pm.
The drivers will be in the Neon Garage at 2 pm for a 45-minute autograph session and every race ticket includes a Neon Garage pass.