Josh Williams is a scrappy underdog racer, who has built a career out of gutting out finishes on less-than-favorable days. Saturday, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a chance at doing just that was taken from Williams when he was parked by NASCAR after 33 laps when a piece of tape flew off of his car after a repair, delaying a restart of the race.
While NASCAR radioed for Williams to park his car for the day. Williams did in fact bring his car to a stop, but he did it differently than NASCAR intended. Williams took his No. 92 DGM Racing Chevrolet Camaro to the frontstretch, parked the car on the start-finish line, and climbed from the window.
As Williams left his car to sit, he threw up the peace sign to the fans on his walk back toward pit road. Following the race, Williams explained in a chat with the media that his frustration was with how quickly the decision came to park him.
“Honestly, I was shocked about how quick [the decision] was,” Williams explained. “It was like, we did lose a piece of Behr Bond, it’s cold that stuff is hard to stick. But what do you do?”
NASCAR didn’t take kindly to his actions of delaying the restart of the race even further by parking his car on the track. As a result, NASCAR ordered Williams to sit in the NASCAR Xfinity Series trailer for the remainder of the event.
So, there Williams sat for roughly three hours as he awaited Wayne Auton, the series director for a post-race meeting.
“It was a long time,” Williams stated.
So, what did Williams do while he waited for his chance to explain himself?
“I watched the race. They had some pizza in there. I almost took a nap. It wasn’t too bad,” Williams quipped.
Williams explained that NASCAR did not give him a final decision on what his penalties will be following the outburst, but Williams says the ball is in NASCAR’s court to do whatever they see fit.
“I mean, that’s up to them, right? It’s their sandbox and we play in it,” Williams said. “I enjoy the Xfinity Series and I have respect for Wayne and everybody. Just move on to the next one.”
While NASCAR has not given any indication publicly, you would have to at least expect a suspension to be one of the penalties that NASCAR is weighing following Saturday’s ordeal. If that is what the final ruling is, Williams is ready to accept it.
“Like I said, it’s up to Wayne and NASCAR. I mean, if that’s what the rule is and that’s what they decide to do, every action has a reaction,” Williams explained.
For those who have always wondered what the meetings inside the big NASCAR trailer are after a driver has been summoned to talk to the series director, Williams explained that it wasn’t too intense of a conversation.
“We’re all friends, right? It wasn’t too bad,” Williams said. “It is what it is. It’s just racing. We have bad days and good days.”
For Williams, it was a bad day. That goes without saying. But where did he come up with the idea to park the car at the start-finish line? Williams said he pulled the maneuver once upon a time in his regional short-track racing days.
“A long time ago, when I was younger, I had something similar happen to me on a short track,” Williams recalled. “I stopped on the frontstretch by the flag stand and got out. There wasn’t one person in their seat. I didn’t do it to be spiteful or to make a huge scene because everybody was already standing there. I just wanted to voice my opinion that I felt it wasn’t right.”
Williams, who became a trending topic on Twitter following his exit from the race, gained attention from a certain top-tier NASCAR Cup Series driver, who knows a thing or two about penalties — Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin tweeted an offer to pay whatever fine NASCAR dishes out to Williams for the incident.
“I hear Denny Hamlin is looking for a guest on his podcast,” Williams laughed.
While it wasn’t his finest moment, Williams’ defiant moment in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race most certainly resonated with every fan that has ever been told to do something at their day job that they didn’t agree with. Now, the question becomes; what will be the repercussions?