When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visits World Wide Technology Racing on August 20 for the first event of the series’ seven-race playoffs, there will be one driver and team among the 40-truck field, that will be making their own piece of history at the 1.25-mile facility.
21-year-old Armani Williams, from Grosse Point, Michigan, will become the first driver openly diagnosed on the autism spectrum to compete in NASCAR’s top-three series, when he makes his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the No. 33 for Reaume Brothers Racing.
Contesting a pair of starts in the ARCA Menards Series last season, as well as four NASCAR K&N Pro Series in the two seasons prior, Williams has been able to produce some solid results, scoring his first top-10 finish last Summer at his home track, Michigan International Speedway, driving for Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing.
“This is a dream come true having the opportunity to make my debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Gateway,” said Williams. “When I got the call from my dad, I was overcome with emotion. Many years of hard work, along with the support of my family, friends, and fans have made this possible, and of course I have to thank Reaume Brothers Racing for believing in me and giving me this incredible opportunity.”
Williams’ parents, Del and Irena, have been supporting their son’s journey through the ranks of professional racing, since the beginning, as Armani moved up through the ranks of go-karts, bandaleros, and the ARCA Truck Pro Series, before migrating to his first multi-race stint in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in 2017. Despite not knowing a great deal about Autism when Armani was first diagnosed at the age of two, Irena and Del have stood by their son and given him all the love and support that two parents could give their child.
“As a dad, all you want is for your kids to be afforded all the opportunities to chase their dreams, said Del. ” Racing is already a tough enough sport as it is; between having to find funding, knowing the right people, and just having enough talent. Meeting Josh [Reaume] has given us the opportunity and platform to seek funding to get this done. It is just such a challenge in the sport today. When you throw in the challenges of being on the autism spectrum, saying we had an uphill battle was an understatement. It makes me emotional to see how much [Armani] has grown over the past 20 years”.
The agreement between Williams and Reaume Brothers Racing has been brewing for quite some time, according to team owner Josh Reaume, who spoke very highly of the 21-year-old and his determination throughout the obstacles he’s faced throughout his racing journey.
“I have been talking to Armani and his dad, Del, about this for quite some time,” said Reaume. “No one really understands how much they have overcome and how hard they have worked in order to secure these opportunities. They’ve grown numerous partnerships and spent tons of time developing Armani’s career, so it’s nice to see these efforts finally paying off. I am so happy to be able to help and get such a great kid behind the wheel.”
According to the team, sponsorship opportunities are still available for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut of Armani Williams, which will take place Friday, August 20 at 9:00pm / ET, with live coverage of the event on FOX Sports 1.