Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Former NASCAR Driver John Wes Townley Dies Aged 31 After Shooting

John Wes Townley Dead
John Wes Townley dead at age 31 after a shooting. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

UPDATE Monday, October 4, 2021 11:10 AM ET:

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has issued a field case report on the shooting that killed former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley. According to the report, Townley arrived at the location with a hatchet and attacked Zachary Anderson, a 32-year old man from Dunwoody, Georgia as well as his ex-wife Laura Townley.

Anderson then fired several shots from his gun, one struck Townley in the chest, and one accidentally struck Laura Townley in the abdomen.

Here is the complete field case report from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:

Around 20:50 on October 2, 2021, officers responded to a shooting just occurred at [address redacted], Athens, GA 30601 in Clarke County.

Officers received a call in regards to a female with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Upon arrival on scene, the female was located in the house along with another male who had been shot through the chest. The female was identified as Ms. Laura Townley, and the male with the gunshot wound to the chest was her ex-husband, Mr. John Townley. A third individual on scene was identified as Mr. Zachary Anderson. Ms. Townley and Mr. Townley were transported to the hospital by EMS. Mr. John Townley was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Mr. Townley had arrived at this location and attacked Mr. Anderson and Ms. Townley with a hatchet. The Townley’s divorce had been finalized this week. Mr. Anderson fired several shots from his gun which struck Mr. Townley and accidentally struck Ms. Townley.

The investigation is ongoing with CID.

Recorded on Axon field video.

ORIGINAL STORY Sunday, October 3, 2021 2:52 PM ET

John Wes Townley, a NASCAR Driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from 2008 to 2016, has passed away following a shooting in Athens, Georgia on Saturday.

The first report of Townley’s death was noticed on, which cited information from Athens-Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson. has confirmed the truth of the report with a long-time public relations representative for Townley.

Townley, who was 31-years old, competed in 76 NASCAR Xfinity Series events as well as 110 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races throughout his career. The Georgia-native scored one-career win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which came at at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015.

That day, Townley started second, and led 23 of the 146 laps. Townley would beat out Timothy Peters, Ben Kennedy, John Hunter Nemechek and Brandon Jones for the win that day.

The son of Zaxby’s co-founder Tony Townley, Townley also scored two wins in ARCA Menards Series competition as well.

According to the report from the Athens Banner-Herald, Townley and a 30-year old female were shot. The suspect is believed to be a 32-year old man from Dunwoody, Georgia. The shooting occurred just before 9 PM on Saturday, October 2nd.

A report from states that it is believed Townley and the shooter were known to each other.

According to ACCPD spokesperson Lt. Shaun Barnett, police have had contact with the shooter since the event occurred and charges are not currently levied against him. However, Barnett states the investigation is still ongoing.

This is a truly sad bit of news for the NASCAR racing community.

As more information becomes public, this story will be updated.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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