Richard Childress Racing announced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway that 19-year-old John Wes Townley will join the team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the 2010 season. Said Townley, "I look forward to the opportunity to drive for Richard Childress Racing next year. It's a thrill to be part of their organization. They have such a well-respected history and have produced solid results over the years. I'm confident we'll run well next season."
The team will have its work cut out for it if it hopes to fulfill Townley’s goal of running well next season. Considered by reporters and fans to be one of the worst drivers in the sport, Townley has 10 DNFs, seven wrecks, six DNQs and numerous crashes in practice and qualifying in one year in the Nationwide Series.
Despite those statistics, Townley has the sponsor support needed to secure a ride in today’s NASCAR and that advantage has paid off once again. For Townley, that financial backing comes from the “fast-casual” chicken chain his father Tony helped create, Zaxby’s.
"Zaxby's has experienced significant growth over the past several years and we attribute part of that to greater brand awareness from our association with NASCAR," said Molly Huff, Zaxby's director of marketing. "This sponsorship has given us invaluable exposure with new and existing audiences, and we are thrilled it will continue in 2010. Richard Childress Racing has a great reputation for success, and we're happy to be working with them for Zaxby's fourth season in NASCAR."
Townley sure has given Zaxby’s plenty of TV time and exposure, mainly in the form of wrecked race cars and poor performances.
Following the announcement, Brad Coleman
, another young driver who is trying to find a ride in the Nationwide Series, let his voice be heard on his Twitter page. Coleman wrote, “The sad fact about the sport now is that you can't do a thing without money, and if you have money, you can do anything!"
Coming off a championship last year in the Nationwide Series, RCR has just two wins between five drivers in 2009. The team is going through a company-wide overhaul and the addition of Townley only seems to add to that workload. Either way, the team is pleased to welcome the financial support Townley brings to the table.
“We are proud to welcome Zaxby’s to the RCR family of partners, and John Wes Townley to our driver lineup for 2010,” team owner Richard Childress
said. “Zaxby’s was started with little more than a dream and desire, much like RCR was in 1969, and has become a great success story throughout the Southeast. John Wes is just getting started in his NASCAR career, and will benefit from the on-the-job training he’ll receive from RCR’s veteran lineup of drivers.”
Hopefully for Townley, having veteran teammates will help move the young driver to the next stage of his career and away from the butt of so many jokes.