Sources tell Frontstretch John Wes Townley has NOT been released as driver of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevy in the Nationwide Series. After a hard wreck at Phoenix, Townley was replaced for Friday’s race by Cup driver Clint Bowyer, leading to rampant speculation about his future. ESPN reported that Townley had been fired, a claim adamantly denied by Richard Childress Racing.
Instead, the plan is to “put him in timeout,” according to a source, making the 20-year-old sit and stew over an ugly early season start. So far this season, he’s without a top-10 finish while spinning out in four of five races, picking up an underage drinking citation in Las Vegas along the way. So RCR has informed him someone else will drive the car at Texas, evaluating the program before Townley will return to the seat at Talladega the end of the month.
There’s no word yet on who that replacement will be, but it’s widely expected to be RCR’s Bowyer or Jeff Burton. Zaxby’s is also expected to continue funding the car for Texas and beyond. Townley’s father is one of the founders of Zaxby’s restaurants, which came over in a package deal with his son to keep Childress’s Nationwide Series team afloat in 2010.