Josh Williams certainly gave racing fans something to talk about.
In the midst of a choppy NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Williams kept the NASCAR world in disarray: He parked his 92 car at the start-finish line — then jumped out of the driver’s seat and fast walked over to his team on the pit lane, took off his helmet and waved in a parade while stomping.
Williams appeared to park his car in frustrated protest. NASCAR decided he had to go to the garage because debris had come loose from his car. Williams, on the other hand, didn’t think his day needed to end.
“What will he do – a punishment for me?” said Williams a widely shared Twitter video by Noah Lewis. “I can’t afford to pay for it!”
The rule NASCAR referred to in its policy to remove William’s car from the circuit: “At the discretion of the Series Managing Director, if a damaged vehicle elects not to pit lane at the first opportunity, or if a damaged vehicle If the vehicle exits the pit lane before adequate repairs have been made and thereafter causes or extends a warning (e.g. spillage, debris, etc.), the vehicle may be assessed a lap or time penalty or may not return to the race.”
The move came during one of the race’s multiple warnings — and further delayed an already long race at the Xfinity level, NASCAR’s second tier of its three national series. Williams’ violation alone resulted in the fifth Stage 1 warning.
The move also set fire to Twitter.
Just minutes after Williams got out of his car, the Xfinity series driver was trending on NASCAR’s most popular social media platform. A report compared his move to Antonio Brown’s early exit from a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game during the 2022 NFL season.
Williams went to his trucking company after moving. He was then told to go to the NASCAR trucking company after the race to meet with the race officials.
Williams took to Twitter himself after the race. He posted a picture of his car with the caption “DNF,” short for “did not finish.”
What Josh Williams said after the race
Williams spoke to reporters in front of his van in the infield at Atlanta Motor Speedway after Saturday’s race.
When asked what he was thinking as he parked his car and walked outside, he responded with a poignant question.
“We all work very hard, don’t we?” Williams said. “We only do X laps and then something like this happens – a piece of bare binding falls off – and puts us out of the race. We are a small team. We work really hard. We have to make our sponsors happy, right? It’s not good for you to sit in the garage. It is what it is. We will learn from this and move on.
“The fans kind of supported it and that was kind of cool. Hopefully they get some enjoyment out of it.”
Williams added that he told NASCAR he was frustrated with the rule that forced him to end his day early — but he also acknowledged that this is NASCAR’s “sandbox and we play in it.”
“A long time ago when I was younger, something similar happened to me on a short track and I pulled up under the flag stand on the front straight and got out and there was nobody in their seat,” Williams said. “I didn’t do it to be spiteful or to make a big scene or to get everyone to stand here. I just wanted to give my opinion. I felt like it wasn’t right, but it’s in the rule book.”