John Wes Townley flirted with finishing worse than Danica Patrick in Fontana, but the Chicken Man held off the GoDaddy Girl for 30th place in a fight that took place three laps down.
Townley ran better than his result, but consecutive speeding penalties midway through the race hurt his efforts. Danica was a complete non-factor for most of the day and was two laps down within about 30 laps.
"Having to just stay out of the way and not being able to race is never fun," Townley said. "But we're going to go to Las Vegas and we're going to make the best of that race. We've got a long way to go and we're going to do it."
But Townley wasn't out of the way enough, at least according to Paul Menard. The veteran (who finished 19th) lectured Townley on pit road for racing too hard.
"I was mad at Townley [because] he was three laps down and racing lead-lap cars on the green-white-checkered," Menard said. "He's pretty new at this, but he's been around long enough to know better than that. Whatever. It is what it is, hopefully he'll learn."
Townley was puzzled by Menard's anger, saying, "I can't figure it out, honestly. I'll just have to look back at the tape, but I can't see anything I did wrong."
As for Danica, she led some of the media on an adventure from pit road to her hauler, then took between 15 to 20 minutes to come out and talk.
"It's overwhelming when somebody wants to talk to you when you just get out of the car," she said. "I'm a competitor and I want to run up front and it's shocking when you get that far back. But you know what? This is a whole new ball of wax for me and it's all different."
The media was given strict instructions: Cameras go first, then print reporters. Three questions each.
When a writer attempted to ask a question too early, Danica shot him a look and said, "Are we doing print now, too?"
The score: Townley 2, Danica 0 with 11 races remaining.