Billy Johnson, who has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series as recently as 2017, was arraigned on Thursday on charges that he choked a woman in Onondaga, New York in February.
According to Syracuse.com, which reported the news on Thursday, William Johnson, known in motorsports circles as Billy Johnson, was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, for a domestic dispute on Feb. 8, according to court papers filed with the town court.
Johnson appeared in town court virtually on Thursday, where his attorney entered pleas of not guilty on both counts.
“My client adamantly denies these allegations,” Johnson’s lawyer, David Hammond, said in an email to Syracuse.com. “We look forward to the truth coming out in the very near future.”
Throughout his tenure in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, in which he made sporadic appearances between 2010 and 2013, Johnson scored a career-best finish of eighth, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2012 driving for Roush Fenway Racing.
Nearly a half-decade after making his final start in the Xfinity Series, Johnson returned for a one-off appearance at NASCAR’s top level, driving the No. 43 Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports, as a fill-in for Aric Almirola.
The 36-year-old driver has spent most of his racing career competing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, where he captured the championship in 2016 after winning six of the 10 events.
Johnson has competed in a number of historic sports car events throughout his career, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 24 Hours of Daytona. In his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016, Johnson scored a fourth-place finish in the GTE Pro class.
The San Clemente, California native is scheduled to reappear in court in June.