John Wes Townley stretches fuel to score first career truck win
John Wes Townley rolled the dice in Las Vegas, and it paid off.
Stretching his last tank of fuel to the finish when other frontrunners ran dry in the final laps, Townley collected his first career Camping World Truck Series win on Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Timothy Peters, Ben Kennedy, John Hunter Nemechek and Brandon Jones completed the top five.
Reigning series champion Matt Crafton started from the pole and led a race-high 69 laps but was forced to come to pit road for fuel with five laps to go, handing the lead to Townley who throttled way back the last few laps to conserve fuel.
Championship leader Erik Jones (one lap to go) and Cameron Hayley (two laps to go) both ran out of gas after moving into second in the final laps.
"These guys did an awesome job with this thing," said Townley after pulling into Victory Lane for the first time in 87 starts. "It’s been awesome this year. We just stayed up there all day, and I took care of this thing and it took care of me."
Crafton finished eighth and moved to within four points of championship leader Jones.
"All in all, not a bad day," said Crafton. "It could have been a lot better. It could have been a lot worse, too."
"Just a lot of ups and downs, I guess you could say," Jones said. "I was saving and saving and trying to get to the end, and just tried to hustle it and hoped it was going to make it, and unfortunately it didn’t. It ran out coming to the white (flag). At least we kept our points lead at a decent margin."
The race was slowed by three cautions for a total of 19 laps.
The first of those caution flags — on Lap 15 of 146 — waved for a violent crash triggered when Brad Keselowski Racing driver Tyler Reddick wrecked in Turn 4 and came down the track into the path of teammate Austin Theriault, who then slammed the wall head-first.
Theriault was awake and alert but was transported via helicopter to a hospital for observation.
Reddick recovered to finish seventh, and is third in the standings — 16 points behind leader Jones.