NASCAR driver John Wes Townley will be retiring from racing immediately.
According to sources close to Athenian Motorsports, the 27-year-old from Watkinsville, Georgia will be hanging up his helmet and plans to pursue college courses. Meanwhile, Athenian Motorsports will also be closing its doors.
The team, which was owned by Townley’s father Tony, had fielded entries in the NASCAR Xfinity, Camping World Trucks and ARCA Series since 2014.
Townley started off 2016 by scoring his second career ARCA victory in the series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, his second career win at the storied Florida raceway.
From there, he would compete mainly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, scoring two top 10 finishes and two poles at Kansas and Michigan.
But he missed several races due to injuries, including the last three for an ankle injury suffered outside of racing.
His most visible moment of 2016, unfortunately, was due to a scuffle following a crash with Spencer Gallagher at Gateway International Speedway that was caught live on television and replayed countless times on various media outlets. That incident left him with a $15,000 fine and probation until the end of the season.
Townley began his career racing in Bandolero competition at tracks like Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Georgia around 2000. From there, he began driving on the short tracks around the south, competing in what is now the CARS Racing Series, the PASS North and South Series, the Georgia Asphalt Series, along with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at Lanier.
He scored his first big asphalt Late Model Series victory in 2007, when he beat out the late Beau Slocumb for a home state win at Georgia’s Senoia Raceway in ASA Late Model Series South competition.
The following year, Townley made his first starts in the NASCAR Xfinity, Camping World Truck and ARCA Series. In 2013, he scored the first of his two ARCA series victories at Daytona, becoming the first driver from the state of Georgia to win the event.
In 2015, Townley scored his only Truck Series victory in dramatic fashion, as he won the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by saving enough fuel to go the final five laps after two-time series champion Matt Crafton had to stop for gas.
Athenian Motorsports is now working to sell off its inventory. Sources say the team does not plan on issuing any formal statement.