Just a day after one of the biggest drivers in the sport called it quits, another one has joined him while also announcing that his family’s racing team is shutting down too.
Yesterday, January 11th, one of NASCAR’s favorite drivers (and one known for his signature winning backflip) revealed he was exiting the sport. Carl Edwards’ announcement came as a hard-hitting shock to the entire NASCAR community – but now, just one day later, another driver has made the same decision.
Best-known for his performance during NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series in 2015, John Wes Townley scored his very first win during the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that same year and earned five Top 5 marks, 24 Top 10 placings, and two poles spanning 110 races. During his run with the XFINITY Series, Townley’s 76 starts never netted him a Top 10 finish.
The 27-year-old racing star suffered from concussion symptoms during this most recent season and they were severe enough to have him benched for two races, while missing another race due to an ankle injury.
Along with announcing his retirement from racing, Townley’s family-owned racing team, Athenian Motorsports also revealed that it was shutting down operations and began to sell their equipment.
A Watkinsville, Georgia native, Townley is said to be putting away his helmet and exiting the driver’s seat in order to finish his college education.
Townley’s name splashed across headlines throughout the United States in mid-2016 after a crash with fellow driver, Spencer Gallagher, ended in a widely-criticized skirmish on the track. The fight at Gatewy International Speedway was picked up by news outlets all over the world and even caught the eye of NASCAR veteran, Tony Stewart who called Townley one of his “top five heroes”, adding “That made my whole day, watching the truck race.”
Townley’s scuffle with Gallagher also caught the eye of NASCAR officials and the governing body slapped him with a hefty $15,000 fine and placed him on a stint of probation that lasted the duration of the season.
Throughout his career, Athenian Motorsports had placed Townley in a wide range of series that included XFINITY, ARCA, Camping World Truck Series, and more, but now it’s the end of the road for both parties.
While not as surprising as Edwards’ decision to retire, it’s a shock nonetheless since he is so young and had been showing some hefty competition the last few years. Townley and his longtime girlfriend announced in the fall of 2016 that they were engaged to be married.
We wish Townley and the family’s team the best in their future endeavors. Watch the video below showing one of this most-talked-about moments from his career.