NASCAR: Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer to sub for Townley in today’s Truck race

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer will suit up for Athenian Motorsports in today’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Bowyer, who runs for Michael Waltrip Racing at NASCAR’s top level, is replacing John Wes Townley in the No. 05 Zaxby’s Toyota Tundra for the Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m. ET., check local listings).

Townley is being held out of today’s race after hitting Pocono’s Turn 2 wall hard in yesterday morning’s ARCA qualifying session. The Georgia driver was transported to a local hospital but has since been released.

A release from Athenian says that Townley is in “good health” but as tweeted yesterday by his account, he’ll be sitting out of competition for the next seven days as a precaution. He hopes that he’ll be cleared to compete in next weekend’s ARCA race at Berlin Raceway in Michigan.

As for Bowyer, he’s now set to make his first Camping World Truck Series start since 2011. Overall, he has made 12 CWTS starts in his career, with three wins coming at Texas in 2006, Phoenix in 2010 and Kansas in 2011.

Qualifying for the Pocono Mountains 150 is scheduled for later this morning at 10:10 a.m. ET.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.