Through competing for a decade in professional racing circuits such as the Camping World Truck Series, John Wes Townley became synonymous with NASCAR as a whole. His yellow Zaxby's-branded car was a staple of the racetrack and his unique style of racing earned him the respect of some of the biggest names in the sport.
Some questions have emerged regarding what exactly happened to John, and the details are a bit bleak, to say the least. Keep reading to find out what's currently known about the former NASCAR star.
What happened to John Wes Townley? He died at just 31 years old.
News broke on Oct. 2, 2021, that John had passed away at just 31 years old in Athens, GA. The racer, who retired from the sport back in 2017, had kept a relatively low profile since receding from the spotlight. Nonetheless, he maintained a devout group of fans and followers, thanks to his work in NASCAR over the previous decade.
John began racing professionally in 2008, participating in the Nationwide Series where he drove in three races for RAB Racing. All three races ended in DNFs (did not finish), but that didn't discourage John from continuing his pursuit of professional racing success.
In 2009, he returned to the Nationwide Series and qualified for 26 races, completing 16 of them and averaging 23rd overall in points.
Per Wikipedia, his controversial style of driving resulted in him being nicknamed "John Wrecks Weekly" thanks to his numerous crashes while racing.
John's father, Tony Townley, is the co-founder of Zaxby's, the Athens-based chicken chain that has grown to wide popularity across a majority of the American South. John raced with sponsorship from the brand, his yellow car emblazoned with their logo across the entire side of it.
What was John Wes Townley's cause of death?
The former NASCAR racer was killed in a double shooting in Athens' Five Points area. Per the Athens Banner-Herald, local police responded to a shooting that occurred in the Five Points neighborhood just before 9 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2021. John and an unnamed 30-year-old female were the victims of the attack. Both were transferred to a local hospital — John died of his injuries and the other victim remains in "serious" condition.
The publication mentioned that a 31-year-old male suspect from Dunwoody, GA. is under investigation, although no formal charges have been levied against him yet. As of now, local police believe that the shooting was domestic violence-related and have established a connection between the shooter and John, although details of that connection haven't been shared.