The weird story that is the NASCAR career of John Wes Townley took another turn, and not the left kind of a race track. Jeff Gluck of SBNation.com is reporting, via the Athens Banner-Herald, that the current Camping World Truck Series driver was charged with driving under the influence after crashing his 2012 BMW into a telephone pole in Georgia. UPDATE: On Friday RAB Racing suspended Townley indefinetly.
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.