Why throw away a perfectly good career like that? He was supposed to be one of the up and comers in the Nationwide Series. Read on to see what happened.
|John Wes Townley in his better years.|
Sherriff’s deputies found the disoriented Townley “swaying from side to side and bleeding from his bare feet.” On top of the DUI charge, he was also charged with weaving in the roadway. The car’s airbags deployed in the crash and blood was found on the seats of the car.
The 22-year old was trying a NASCAR come back after seemingly giving up his dream of racing last year. This is not the first incident for Townley, who after getting a break and driving for Richard Childress Racing was charged with underage possession of alcohol in 2010. He was later let go from RCR after poor performances up to that point, and that charge did not help things. He later came back to racing for RAB Racing, who he drove for before RCR, but disappeared during the Richmond race weekend last year. RAB Racing was giving him a second (well technically third) chance by putting together a Camping World Truck for him this year. No word on his status with the team after this.
It is interesting that the last driver before Townley to have troubles with the law regard driving under the influence, was another driver with a family tie to his sponsor. Michael Annett was that driver, but his status of driver for Rusty Wallace, Inc. was not in question, neither was his family sponsorship of Pilot Travel Centers. Townley, son of Zaxby’s co-founder Tony Townley, finds himself in a similar situation. Despite his past of sometimes erratic behavior, still finds a job because he brings money with him. You can’t fault someone for using their connections or family money to help them race, but it doesn’t mean other more talent drivers should get passed up because they don’t have that privilege. Odds are Townley will go through the motions of being remorseful, realizing what he did wrong, and come back and race. Which is good, except he said the same thing back in 2010 after his underage possession charges. He left RAB Racing to go to RCR, then burned them when he came back in 2011, and now is putting them in another awkward position. They should let him go, but we all know money talks and he’ll be in that seat for Daytona.
John Wes Townley’s NASCAR comeback is on hold after he was suspended by RAB Racing after being arrested for DUI early Friday morning in Georgia.
Townley crashed his car into a pole and was arrested after knocking on the door of a nearby residence.
In a statement Friday afternoon, RAB Racing with Brock Maggard owner Robby Benton said that Townley would be suspended indefinitely. Townley, 22, was set to drive in the Camping World Truck Series in 2012.
“Obviously, this is an unfortunate situation,” Benton said in the release. “However, we have to react to the severity of the incident accordingly. His actions do not reflect those of RAB Racing, nor the sponsors associated with the team.
“John Wes has accepted full responsibility, and will take the necessary personal steps in order to correct his actions, among other internal sanctions,” Benton continued. “We stand by John Wes, and will welcome him back to the team at the appropriate time.”
After scoring a ride with Richard Childress Racing to start 2010, Townley parted ways with the team after five races, and came back and ran four more for RAB in the latter half of the season, before leaving the team. He didn’t race in 2011.
|John Wes Townley (#09) racing Michael Annet (#62)|
Last year, Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett was arrested for DWI shortly before the season-opening race at Daytona and was not suspended by Rusty Wallace Incorporated, his team at the time. (Annett will drive for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2012).
Unfortunately, this isn’t Townley’s first incident involving alcohol. While with Childress in 2010, he was cited for underage possession of alcohol during the Las Vegas race weekend. At the time, Townley said that he learned a “valuable lesson” from the incident.
Bravo to Benton and the rest of RAB Racing for making the right decision in suspending Townley, one made more obvious by the fact that this is Townley’s second alcohol-related offense in the past two years. And we hope that Townley can seek the appropriate help and treatment and eventually resume his racing career.
In sports, people are watching you all the time…whether you like it or not. If you do something stupid like drink and drive…while being a NASCAR race car driver, people will notice. John Wes should have watched himself a little better. He won’t have a shot at the Sprint Cup Series for quite some time.