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Former NASCAR driver shot, killed in Athens, Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was killed Saturday in a double shooting that occurred in the Athens (Georgia) Five Points area, Athens-Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson confirmed to the Athens Banner-Herald.

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 are “serious,” according to Athens-Clarke County police department spokesperson Lt. Shaun Barnett.

Townley spent nearly a decade competing in multiple NASCAR national touring series, most notably winning a Camping World Truck Series race in Las Vegas in 2015.

Athens-Clarke County police responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points neighborhood just before 9 p.m. on Saturday, according to Barnett.

John Wes Townley, shown here on Aug. 27, 2016 after winning the pole for the NASCAR Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

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

The investigation is ongoing, and according to preliminary information, appears related to domestic violence, according to Barnett.

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

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