AceShowbiz - Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has tragically passed away at 31 years old. The former professional stock car racing driver was killed on Saturday, October 2 in a double shooting in the Athens Five Points area, Georgia.
John and a 30-year-old woman were shot just before 9 P.M. in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points neighborhood, Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson told the Athens Banner-Herald. John was transported to a local hospital where he later died of his injuries, while the woman's injuries are described by police as "serious."
ACCPD spokesperson Lt. Shaun Barnett said police have spoken to the suspect, a 32-year-old Dunwoody man. They believe the shooter knew the victims and are suspecting that the shooting had to do with a domestic violence issue of some sort. Currently there are no charges against him while the investigation is ongoing.
John's death is mourned by the NASCAR community. Current NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace, who raced against the late driver, tweeted, "Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking." NASCAR reporter for Fox Sports also posted on Twitter, "Shocking and sad news. RIP … Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley shot, killed in Athens."
John raced eight seasons and made 186 starts across the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR's lower two national divisions, in 2008-2016. He won the 2015 Truck Series race in Las Vegas in what was his only national series NASCAR win.
His father Tony is a co-founder of the Zaxby's chain of chicken restaurants, who was the primary sponsor of his car. In January 2017, John announced his retirement from motorsports and Athenian Motorsports, which is owned by his father, would subsequently be shutting down operations.
His career aside, John announced his engagement to girlfriend Laura Bird in the fall of 2016. It's unclear if they were still together at the time of his passing.