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John Wes Townley shot dead after attacking ex-wife with axe: NASCAR news

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Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot dead in Georgia, America, after attacking his ex-wife with an axe just days after their divorce was finalised, according to police.

The 31-year-old driver — who retired from racing professionally in 2017 — turned up at 30-year-old ex-wife Laura Townley’s home in Atlanta on the weekend armed with a hatchet, according to the police report.

He then attacked his ex as well as Zachary Anderson, a 32-year-old man who was with her inside the house, the report said.

“At some point during the altercation, Anderson fired several shots with his firearm,” Officer Lt. Shaun Barnett said of the preliminary investigation.

John Townley was “shot through the chest” and was pronounced dead in a local hospital, the police report said.

Anderson also “accidentally struck Ms. Townley” in the abdomen, sparking the initial 911 call, according to the report. She suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive, Barnett said.

The preliminary investigation noted that the Townleys’ divorce had been finalised this week.

There were no arrests or charges, Barnett said, stressing that “the investigation is ongoing”.

It was not immediately clear if any injuries were a result of the reported hatchet attack. Police also did not elaborate on the relationship between the shooter and Laura Townley, saying it was “still under investigation”.

John Wes Townley and former partner Laura together in 2016. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

John Townley had filed for divorce on February 3 on the grounds he and his wife were living in separation and their marriage was irretrievably broken, according to Classic City News, citing court records.

Townley competed in 76 NASCAR races from 2008 to 2016, mainly in the Truck Series. His sole victory came in 2015 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to Motorsport.com.

Townley was one of the first young drivers in the 2000s who advanced to the top levels of NASCAR powered by family funding. His father is the co-founder of Zaxby’s restaurants and the chicken chain sponsored him through the entirety of his career.

That funding got Townley a full-season Xfinity Series ride at the age of 19. He failed to finish seven of his 26 starts due to crashes.

His best points finish in the Truck Series came in 2015 when he was eighth. He had eight top-10 finishes in 23 starts that season in addition to that win in Las Vegas.

Current NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace, who raced against Townley, tweeted: “Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking.”

With the New York Post and The Sun

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Ferrari boss reveals F1 legend ‘can’t communicate’

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The son of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari has provided an insight into Michael Schumacher’s health condition as he condemned some of the language used when referring to the F1 legend.

Schumacher has not been seen in public since suffering a near-fatal brain injury when skiing in the French resort of Meribel in December 2013. His condition has been shrouded in secrecy for the past eight years, thanks mainly to wife Corinna, who has vowed to protect his privacy as he recovers at home in Switzerland.

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Drips of information have come out over time — recently former Ferrari boss and Schumacher’s close friend Jean Todt said he’s hopeful the 52-year-old will recover one day — but on the whole the world has been kept in the dark over Schumacher’s health.

Speaking at an awards ceremony in Rome, Piero Ferrari — vice-chairman of the famous car manufacturer — provided a glimpse into Schumacher’s condition.

“I’m sorry we talk about him today as if he were dead,” he said. “He’s not dead, he’s there but he can’t communicate.”

Piero also spoke briefly about his relationship with Schumacher.

“I had the pleasure of having Schumacher as a guest at home and drinking a bottle of red wine together,” he said.

“He really enjoyed having these moments of intimacy and tranquillity.”

Michael Schumacher is a Ferrari icon. (Photo by Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images).Source: Getty Images

Last month Netflix released the documentary SCHUMACHER, which looks at the German’s life and career en route to establishing himself as one of the greatest drivers F1 has ever seen. In it, an emotional Corinna broke down in tears as she finally spoke publicly about the incident that changed her and her family’s life forever — while also revealing her husband’s ominous last words before his tragic accident.

“Shortly before it happened in Meribel he said to me, ‘The snow isn’t optimal. We could fly to Dubai and go skydiving there’,” Corinna said.

“I have never blamed God for what happened. It was just really bad luck, all the bad luck anyone can have in life.

“It’s always terrible when you say, ‘Why is this happening to Michael or us?’ But then why does it happen to other people?

“Of course, I miss Michael every day. But it’s not just me who misses him. The children, the family, his father, everyone around him. I mean, everybody misses Michael.”

Corinna has been by the F1 legend’s side and protected his privacy since the accident. Photo: AFP/Jens Kalaene/Source: AFP

Corinna has been fiercely protective of her husband since the accident and revealed how the family — including the couple’s son Mick and daughter Gina — have dealt with the traumatic situation over the past eight years.

“Michael is here. Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength, I find,” Corinna says.

“We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.

“And no matter what, I will do everything I can. We all will.

“We’re trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives.

“‘Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible.

“Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.”

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Lando Norris grim warning for Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

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It took Daniel Ricciardo several months to adjust to McLaren’s car, and it looks as though the Australian F1 star might have to undergo the entire ordeal all over again in 2022.

Following an underwhelming two-year stint at Renault, Ricciardo signed with McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, partnering with British young gun Lando Norris.

However, it was anything but smooth sailing at first for the 31-year-old.

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Ricciardo was repeatedly bettered by his teammate on race day, with the Perth driver struggling to adapt to the intricacies of the MCL35M’s braking system.

Norris secured three podium finishes in the first half of the 2021 championship – three more than Ricciardo.

But F1 cars will look very different in 2022, with simplified aerodynamics and bigger wheels encouraging more overtaking and closer competition.

Motorsports fans were offered a glimpse of next year’s car with a concept version being unveiled at the British Grand Prix in July.

McLaren is currently third on the constructors’ championship, narrowly ahead of Ferrari. Photo by Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

A significant cut in downforce looks set to be one of the biggest challenges for drivers next season, something Norris has already noticed in the simulator.

“It‘s a very different car to drive. In a way not as nice as this season,” Norris told Motorsport.com.

“But I think hopefully that‘s the same case with every other team as well. And we’ll see, there’s no point trying to think it’s amazing or terrible.

“You just have to do the best job you can and hopefully, next season, we go to the pre-season test with a good car.

“The only car we‘ve seen is the one at Silverstone. The car we have in the factory, it’s not even a car. It’s a drawing and some paper.

“I don‘t think we will see it for many more months, maybe not until next year in a way. We’ve seen some of the drawings and the designs for next season, but every week, it’s something new and something different, because there’s so many different things with the car.

“But every week it‘s very easy to make changes and make it quicker and quicker.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris helped McLaren secure its first 1-2 finish in 11 years. Photo by Peter Fox/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Ricciardo’s fortunes took a turn at last month’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza, with the Australian clinching his first F1 victory in three years.

But Norris’ remarks serve as a grim warning for the Australian – don’t expect next season to be a walk in the park.

Simulators will be critical for F1 drivers ahead of the 2022 championship, with pre-season testing restricted to just two weeks next year.

The 2021 season will resume this weekend with the Turkish Grand Prix, scheduled to get underway at 11pm AEDT on Sunday.

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Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, grid penalty, latest, how to watch

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Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will have a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix after being punished for using too many engine parts, race organisers said ahead of practice on Friday.

Mercedes are using a fourth part to reduce the risks of Hamilton suffering a failure during a championship run-in that is closer than for years.

Just three parts are permitted under the rules.

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Did misinformation cost Norris? | 00:31

The team argue they have taken the decision to boost performance. Hamilton’s rival for the title, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, received a similar penalty two weeks ago.

Because seven-time world champion Hamilton has only taken one power unit component, he will not be punished with a full grid relegation.

Verstappen is just two points behind the Briton ahead of this weekend’s race.

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