Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley killed in Athens, Georgia shooting


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John Wes Townley, a former NASCAR driver who enjoyed an extensive career across the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series from 2008 to 2016, was shot to death Saturday in a double homicide in the Five Points area of Athens, Georgia. He was 31.

According to a report by the Athens Banner-Herald, Athens-Clarke County police responded to a report of a shooting just before 9 p.m. Saturday night. Townley and a 30-year old woman had been shot and both were transported to a local hospital, where Townley died of his injuries. The woman’s injuries were described as “serious”.

A police investigation is currently ongoing, with a 32-year old Dunwoody man known to the victim suspected in the case. The preliminary investigation suggests that the homicide was related to domestic violence.

Townley, the son of Zaxby’s co-founder Tony Townley, raced in NASCAR throughout the late 2000s and 2010s mostly with the backing of his family’s chain of fried chicken restaurants. After developing a penchant for crashing cars early in his career, Townley would eventually develop into a respectable driver that enjoyed most of his success in the Truck Series.

Townley had a best finish of 8th in the Truck Series points standings in 2015, a year which saw the proudest moment of his career when he took the checkered flag for his first and only victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Upon retiring at the end of the 2016 season, Townley was credited with one victory, five top 5s, 24 top 10s, and two poles in 110 starts. He also made 76 career starts in the Xfinity Series with a best finish of 13th on multiple occasions.

In addition to his NASCAR pedigree, Townley also enjoyed the thrill of victory at the Daytona International Speedway, winning at the speedway twice in the ARCA Menards Series. Townley won the ARCA race at Daytona in 2013 for his first career win, and then did so again in 2016.





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