Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot and killed at a home in the Five Points area of Athens, Georgia, on October 2, 2021.
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, 31, and a 30-year-old female had been shot and were transported to a local hospital. Townley died of injuries at the hospital and the woman's injuries were described as "serious". It is still unknown what, if any, type of relationship existed between Townley and the woman.
Townley's Death Related to Domestic Violence?
The shooter was identified as a 32-year-old male with a Dunwoody, Ga., address. As reported by The Associated Press, police have spoken to the shooter, who knew the victims. The shooting appeared to be domestic violence related, Athens-Clarke County Police Lt. Shaun Barnett said
No charges have been filed but the investigation remains ongoing.
Townley made 76 career starts in the Xfinity Series and 110 in the Truck Series between 2008 and 2016. His only win came in 2015 in the Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to Motorsport.com.
Townley was one of the first young drivers in the late 2000s who advanced to the top levels of NASCAR powered by family funding, according to Yahoo Sports.
Townley's father is the co-founder of Zaxby's restaurants and the chicken chain sponsored him through the entirety of his career. That funding got Townley a full-season Xfinity Series ride at the age of 19 and he failed to finish seven of his 26 starts due to crashes.
Townley and the Zaxby's sponsorship moved to Richard Childress Racing in 2010 but he ran just five races for the team before he was replaced behind the wheel.
That moment could have marked the end of a brief NASCAR tenure for Townley. But he kept racing part-time in the Xfinity Series and started running full-time in the Truck Series in 2012, reported the website.
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, reported CBS Sports Network.