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Ex-NASCAR driver John Wes Townley, 31, is killed in ‘domestic violence’ double shooting in Georgia


Ex-NASCAR driver John Wes Townley, 31, is killed in ‘domestic violence’ double shooting that also left woman, 30, seriously injured in Georgia

  • Townley, 31, was shot 9pm on Saturday on Morton Avenue in Athens, Georgia
  • Townley and a woman, 30, who was also shot were rushed to a local hospital 
  • Suspect, a 32-year-old man, was known to Townley. He has not been arrested 
  • Police said early indications were that this was a ‘domestic incident’ 


A former NASCAR driver has been killed in a ‘domestic violence’ double shooting that also left woman, 30, seriously injured in Georgia. 

John Wes Townley, 31, was shot just before 9pm on Saturday in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points area of Athens.

Townley and a 30-year-old woman who was also shot were rushed to a local hospital.

The ex-race driver died of his injuries, while the woman remains in a ‘serious’ condition, according to police. 

The suspect, a 32-year-old Dunwoody man, was known to the victim and there are currently no charges against him. Police have spoken with him. 

John Wes Townley, 31, was shot just before 9pm on Saturday in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points area of Athens. Townley raced eight seasons and made 186 starts across the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR’s lower two national divisions (pictured: at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida in July 2014)

The shooting took place in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points area of Athens (pictured)

The shooting took place in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points area of Athens (pictured)

Athens-Clarke County Police Department spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett said that the investigation was ongoing but early indications were that it was a ‘domestic incident.’

Townley raced eight seasons and made 186 starts across the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR’s lower two national divisions.

His victory in the Truck Series at Las Vegas six years ago Sunday was the only national series win of his career.

Townley drove a car owned by his father Tony, who was a co-founder of the vehicle’s primary sponsor, fried chicken chain Zaxby’s. 

Figures from the sport, including former drivers and journalists who knew Townley have paid tribute to him online.

Current NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace, who raced against him, tweeted: ‘Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking.’

Townley drove a car owned by his father, who was a co-founder of the vehicle's primary sponsor, fried chicken chain Zaxby's

Townley drove a car owned by his father, who was a co-founder of the vehicle’s primary sponsor, fried chicken chain Zaxby’s 

NASCAR reporter Chris Knight wrote: ‘I knew John Wes Townley since he entered the sport. He always treated me well, said hi and we checked in with each other once in a while when he left the sport.

‘I am saddened to hear about what happened and my thoughts and prayers are with all the parties involved.’  

Fox sports host Kaitlyn Vincie tweeted: ‘Heartbroken for John Wes Townley’s family. Absolutely devastating. Godspeed JWT.’ 

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