@JWTownley has come a long way.
The Georgia native changed the entire perception of his career in 2015 as he put together a solid string of consistent runs with 15 top-15 finishes in 23 races and finished eighth in points. One of those strong runs was a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after leading 23 laps.
After a solid season, Townley will return to the series on a full-time basis, once again driving for Anthenian Motorsports.
“We have been working on some things, and we’re looking forward to the season, and hopefully getting some wins,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Got great people working for us and we’ll see what comes of it.”
The belief the 26-year-old has in his team is so paramount, he’s confident they will be one of the teams battling for the championship come Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. In fact, Townley feels if you take out the way the first quarter of last year went, with a pair of finishes outside of the top-15, including a crash at Daytona, it would’ve put him up in the top-five in points.
For that reason, the focus is honing in the consistency they were able to develop the second half of the year.
“If we can do that, then hopefully we’ll get better and get some wins,” he said. “With that in mind, it’ll give us a run for the championship. That’s the goal for 2016.”
There’s also confidence in knowing 2016 it will be his second season with Michael Shelton. Although the two found instant chemistry together last year, they will continue to build on it going forward, which will only make the team stronger.
“Everybody knows each other now and knows what each other needs,” Townley said. “We can kind of read off of each other, and that helps go a long way in making adjustments in the car and how far to go, based on somebody’s look. That’s what comes with time and having a year under the belt with the success, feeling pretty confident in that.”
Beyond running the full Truck Series schedule, Townley will also be returning to the XFINITY Series.
Athenian Motorsports tried to run both schedules last year but pulled out of the XFINITY Series partway through the season. The decision came about as a result of wanting to focus on the Truck Series program.
“I think the XFINITY Series is something that we figured out last year that the top-15 cars are affiliated with Cup teams,” Townley said. “So what that means is you have to look at the millions and millions of dollars that they can put into R&D for those cars, which we don’t have. The guys that finish each race in the top-15 have some Cup affiliation and knowledge to pull from to acquire those finishes.”
With money on their mind, Athenian has chosen to take a step back, as Townley put it. The main focus will continue to be the building of their Truck Series program and competing for a championship, while picking a handful of XFINITY Series races to run in hopes of having some success, rather than stretching their resources thin.
It’s the mentality that could elevate this program into serious contenders in 2016.
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