Wednesday, May 31 2023

Josh Williams became a viral star after his actions Saturday, but he won’t get to show any of his talents on the racetrack this weekend.

NASCAR suspended the Xfinity Series driver for one race for parking his car at the start-finish line during the race Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He will miss the race Saturday at Circuit of the Americas and return for the April 1 race at Richmond Raceway. Alex Labbe will replace Williams in the DGM Racing No. 92 car at COTA.

He parked his car where?!

Josh Williams says he didn’t think NASCAR’s call to park him was correct following his viral moment Saturday in Atlanta.

Williams was frustrated Saturday by a NASCAR decision to park him for having debris come off his damaged car, causing a caution in an already caution-filled race. He got out of his car and flashed the peace sign to the NASCAR officials.

“I didn’t do it to be spiteful and create a huge scene,” Williams said Saturday night. “I just wanted to voice my opinion that it wasn’t right. But it’s in the rulebook.”


[Drivers, teams react to recent penalties handed down by NASCAR]

Under NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy, NASCAR has the option to park a driver — meaning the car will no longer be scored and requiring the driver to take the car to the garage — in such a situation.

The rule reads: “If a damaged vehicle exits pit road before sufficient repairs had been made and thereafter causes or extends a caution (e.g. leaking fluid, debris, etc.), then said vehicle may incur a lap(s) or time penalty or may not be permitted to return to the race.”

The rule has been in place since the damaged vehicle policy started in 2017. But in the rare instances when a car under the policy (once a car reaches minimum speed under green, it is no longer under the policy) causes a caution, typically NASCAR hasn’t taken such drastic action as parking.

The cold temperatures likely prevented the bear bond — heavy tape used to repair cars as teams are not allowed to replace body panels — from sticking to the car. Pieces of bear bond flew off Williams’ car to cause the caution.

“It’s up to them, right?” Williams said after departing the NASCAR hauler following a 20-minute meeting with officials Saturday night. “It’s their sandbox and we play in it. I enjoy the Xfinity Series and I have respect for [the officials].

“I was shocked about how quick it was — we did lose a piece of bear bond. It’s cold. The stuff is hard to stick. But what do you do?”

Williams stressed that he felt the car could have continued to race and have a better finish than 32nd.

“Things happen,” Williams said. “It is what it is.”

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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