During Saturday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Josh Williams, after being told to bring his No. 92 Coolray Chevrolet to the garage, parked his car at the start/finish line, got out, and walked away for the infield care center, waiving at NASCAR fans and officials in the process.
Williams would walk himself over to the infield care center where he was then checked and released – only to be told that he, his car owner, Mario Gosselin, and crew chief were to go to the NASCAR hauler and wait for Xfinity Series Managing Director, Wayne Auton, to arrive. The wait would last nearly 3-hours and, when Josh Williams reemerged, he was fairly tight lipped.
Williams made it clear that he had a ton of respect of Auton and the NASCAR officials and said that, virtually, a decision regarding a potential suspension was up to them. On Tuesday, March the 21st, it was announced that Josh Williams would be suspended 1 Xfinity Series race (that race being COTA) while NASCAR issued no monetary fine.
Alex Labbe will drive the No. 92 DGM Racing Chevy at COTA and Josh Williams is currently set to return the following week at Richmond.
You Need To Know:
- The issue arose following a dispute between Williams and NASCAR, one in which NASCAR told the driver of the No. 92 to pull into the garage and “park it”. This call came after a piece of debris flew off Williams’ car and elongated a caution. Disagreeing with the call, Williams did, in fact, “park” the car on the start/finish line and exited the race.
- The rule in which NASCAR referred to when telling Williams’ to “park it” is one that essentially states that if a damaged vehicle returns to the racetrack without sufficient repairs and a caution occurs or is extended due to a piece of debris from that driver’s car, the team is then subject to either a lap or time penalty or can be told to exit the race entirely. The controversy of this call lies with the fact that this rule is rarely enforced and/or enforced too inconsistently to hold any real merit. With Williams’ disagreeing with the call, he did elect to exit the race on the racing surface under caution. NASCAR, viewing this as a punishment, decided to suspend Williams for this weekend’s race in the Austin road course, COTA.
- In this instance, NASCAR fans have almost universally come down on the side of Williams. The Xfinity race in which this bizarre event took place was, by all fan accounts, slow, boring, and had an abundance of cautions. Williams pulling this stunt created some excitement in the event which ultimately led to Williams being a fan favorite of the people, many applauding him for having the guts to stand up to the governing body.
The Main Characters
Josh Williams became the talk of Hotlanta as well as the NASCAR online community on Saturday, with many fans, journalists, and competitors alike having likely never seen anything like it. Following the penalty, Josh Williams released this statement via his Twitter account.
The team Williams drives for, DGM Racing, seems to be in good spirits following the “events” of Saturday. They tweeted this following the suspension, announcing that Josh Williams will take a “mandatory vacation” over the weekend at COTA.
Around The Garage
Alex Labbe will drive the No. 92 Chevy this weekend at COTA. He had this to say on Twitter in regards to Josh Williams’ vacation.
Following the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and amidst the controversy, NASCAR Cup Series driver, Denny Hamlin offered to pay Williams’ fine. Turns out, there was none. Josh Williams just wanted to hop on Twitter and let Hamlin know…
In The Stands
Brian Sweet was not surprised to learn of the suspension. In hindsight, he gives Josh Williams some powerful advice.
While a playoff waiver is still up in the air, Nathaniel has his take on it.
Riley questions how much profit NASCAR has made because of Josh Williams’ new celebrity status.
#FireFletcher deems this a major loss (not to mention embarassment) for NASCAR.
Chad Blankenship recalls the time KFB did something similar…
Joe has a new found love for the driver of the No. 92 Chevy. I suppose he did “park it”, exactly as NASCAR requested…
Mikie points out the legitimate probability of NASCAR being frustrated with the amount of cautions laps run up to that point. Did they bring the hammer down a smidge too hard?
Michael applauds Josh for being genuine and true to himself.
Alex Kerner has already purchased the PARK IT t-shirts, found now on the Josh Williams store!
On Your Screen
The SuperSquad of YouTube raise legitimate concerns over NASCAR’s tendency to punish that what gets them headlines in the mainstream.
Darian Gilliam of Black Flags Matter on YouTube protests to #FreeJoshWilliams.
DennyDelievers on YouTube chimes in on the #FreeJoshWilliams movement.
From The Pressbox
Bob Pockrass broke the story on Tuesday afternoon. Here he notes that it is still to be determined if he will be granted a playoff waiver.
Steve Waid has no issues with what Williams did and even points out that a win will forever cement his status in the sport.
We at the Daily Downforce hope that Josh Williams enjoys his vacation as much as possible, even though the circumstances aren’t ideal. It will be interesting to see how Alex Labbe does in the car and we look forward to Williams’ return at Richmond next week.