Cause of John Wes Townley’s possible concussion remains unclear

John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher fight during the truck race at Gateway Saturday night.
John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher fight during the truck race at Gateway Saturday night.
John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher fight during the truck race at Gateway Saturday night.

NASCAR Camping World Truck series driver John Wes Townley will miss his second National Series race in a week as he undergoes treatment for a possible concussion.  The team released a statement Wednesday saying the driver will not compete in Thursday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Townley withdrew from last Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway saying he was focusing on this week’s truck and ARCA race which is Saturday night. The team said Wednesday that Parker Kligerman will compete for Townley Thursday night and Cole Custer will substitute for Townley in Saturday night’s ARCA 150 race at Iowa Speedway.

Townley was diagnosed with a concussion in August of 2014 after a crash in qualifying at Pocono Raceway prior to an ARCA race. He missed the ARCA and the truck races at Pocono in the day following his accident in ARCA qualifying. He then missed the ARCA race the following week and the truck race at Michigan two weeks after the accident.

The team said there would be no further information released beyond Wednesday’s statement.

Townley was involved in a crash two weeks ago near the end of the Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park. The crash also involved Spencer Gallagher and the two drivers climbed from their wrecked machines and began to fight at one point falling to the pavement. The fracas however didn’t appear to cause any injury to either driver. Last week NASCAR fined Townley $15,000 and assessed Gallagher a $12,500 fine. Both of the drivers were placed on probation until the end of the year.

Since 2014, NASCAR has required drivers to take a preseason baseline neurocognitive test. The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) procedure evaluates an athlete’s verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time. If a driver has a crash during the season, the test is administered to help determine if there is a possible concussion.  Townley underwent this regimen before returning to competition in 2014. There is no indication such a test was given to Townley in the past few weeks.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.