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Police: Ex-driver murdered in separate wife’s dispute


Police in Georgia say former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot to death over a brawl that involved an ax after showing up at a home occupied by his wife and another man.

Athens, Ga. – Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot and killed over the weekend during a brawl that involved an ax after showing up at a home occupied by his estranged wife and another man, police said Monday.

The Athens-Clark County Police Department said in a statement that 31-year-old Townley, who raced eight seasons, had the weapon before being fatally wounded by Zachary Anderson, 32, of Dunwoody, Georgia. Laura Townley, 30, was shot and wounded, it said.

John Wes Townley died after being taken to the hospital. Police said the woman was seriously injured, but she is expected to survive.

A police spokesman, Lieutenant Sean Barnett, said investigators were trying to determine whether Townley was married, but they had apparently separated. The relationship between Laura Townley and Anderson was also unclear.

No immediate charges were leveled in Saturday night’s shooting and the investigation continued. Barnett said police were trying to find out whether Townley had brought the ax into the house.

Townley made 186 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR’s bottom two national divisions. His win in the Truck Series in Las Vegas on Sunday six years ago was the only National Series win of his career.

Townley drove a car owned by his father, Tony Townley, who helped found the vehicle’s primary sponsor, Zaxby’s restaurant chain.

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