Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley killed in shooting

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot and killed Saturday night after an altercation. Townley was 31.

A press release from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department stated that police responded to a shooting at 8:44 p.m. ET Saturday night.

The report states that the initial investigation indicates that John Wes Townley arrived at the residence of ex-wife Laura Townley and Zachary Anderson. A police report states that John Wes Townley attacked Laura Townley and Anderson with a hatchet.

The report states that Anderson fired several shots. The report states that John Wes Townley was shot through the chest and Laura Townley was accidentally struck in the abdomen. John Wes Townley died at a hospital from his injuries. Laura Townley sustained serious injures and is expected to survive.

The investigation is ongoing.

Townley competed in NASCAR from 2008-16. He ran 110 Camping World Truck Series races and 76 Xfinity races. He had one career victory, a win in the Truck race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 3, 2015.

Townley took the lead with five laps to go on a fuel gamble and won.

“That was the hardest five laps of my life,” Townley said after that race.

In 2016, Townley fought Spencer Gallagher after an incident in a truck race at what is now World Wide Technology Raceway.

Townley’s father, Tony, is the co-founder of the chicken chain Zaxby’s.