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October 4, 2021

Former driver John Wes Townley, 31, dies in Georgia shooting

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John Wes Townley, who made nearly 200 NASCAR national series starts from 2008-2016, was killed Saturday night in a shooting in Athens, Georgia. He was 31.

The Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald first reported Townley’s death Sunday. The newspaper reported that Townley and a 30-year-old woman had been shot and transported to a local hospital, where the former driver later died of his injuries. An investigation is ongoing, police said.

RELATED: Career stats for John Wes Townley

Townley, a Georgia native, competed primarily in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, running on a nearly full-time basis from 2012-2016. He scored his lone Truck Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015, which was also his best full season with an eighth-place finish in the series’ standings.

Townley also competed part-time in the Xfinity Series, making 76 starts, and he was a two-time winner of the ARCA Menards Series’ season-opening race at Daytona. He announced his retirement before the 2017 season, and his family-run Athenian Motorsports team ceased operations.

His father, Tony Townley, was co-founder of the Zaxby’s fast-food chain, which was a frequent sponsor of the younger Townley’s racing efforts.