Race Weekend Central

Josh Williams Makes Protest After Being Parked by NASCAR at Atlanta: ‘It’s Their Sandbox and We Play in It’

HAMPTON, Ga. – The NASCAR Xfinity Series race was running as regularly as most races do at the newly repaved Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 18.

Well, at least it was for the first 34 laps.

For on lap 35, to the bewilderment of many, series full-time driver Josh Williams brought his No. 92 DGM Racing Chevrolet to a halt on the 1.5-mile speedway’s start/finish line while under caution. Seconds later, he took his helmet off, climbed out of the car, waved to the crowd and walked across the infield grass while cars were still on track.

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In case you couldn’t tell from the tones of both veteran FOX Sports commentator Adam Alexander and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano‘s voices, it was a type of protest unlike most of the even most hardened racing fans have seen in NASCAR.

Williams, a 29-year-old Floridian, was ordered to park his Chevrolet after a piece of tape the team had placed on the car from being involved in the previous incident fell off during the caution period. According to the NASCAR Xfinity Series rule book in section 8.8.9.I, NASCAR officials can park a team if they have extended a caution period as a result of insufficient repairs.

“At the discretion of the Series Managing Director, if a damaged vehicle elects not to enter pit road on the first opportunity or if a damaged vehicle exits pit road before sufficient repairs had been made and thereafter causes or extends a caution, then said vehicle may incur a lap or time penalty or may not be permitted to return to the Race.”

Williams believed that his car was still undamaged enough to be competitive.

“I mean we just pushed the nose in right by the headlight,” said Williams about the damage. “It wasn’t too bad. We got the hood back down, and we got everything taped up real good, and I didn’t think we were going to have the issue. I would say if it was old Atlanta, we would have been struggling the rest of the day. But now, you know, being able to draft and everything, I think we would have been fine, and as long as we could have survived, we could have a decent finish today.”

Naturally, he was frustrated with the call that parked him. The result is history.

“We all work really hard, right?” said Williams later on. “And to only run the X amount of laps, and then have something like a piece of their bond fall off and put us out of the race is really frustrating, you know? [We’re a] small team. We work really hard, and we’ve got to make our sponsors happy.”

Afterward, Williams made his mandatory visit to the infield care center and was ordered to the NASCAR Xfinity Series official hauler for what was likely a stern talking to by officials.

There, Williams was forced to wait until the end of the 163-lap event before being released. He nearly took a nap and even ate pizza to pass the time.

Meanwhile, Williams received plenty of attention on social media within the NASCAR community. It even attracted the attention of Cup Series veteran Denny Hamlin, who also recently found himself penalized by NASCAR after admitting he had intentionally wrecked Ross Chastain at Phoenix Raceway last weekend on his Actions Detrimental podcast.

Afterward, almost the entirety of the NASCAR media press, including Frontstretch, was waiting for him outside of the official’s hauler.

“I didn’t do it to be spiteful or to make a huge scene and cause every one of you all to stand here,” explained Williams. “I just want to voice my opinion.”

“It’s their sandbox, and we play in it,” the DGM racer continued. “I enjoy the Xfinity Series and I’ve got respect for [Xfinity Series Managing Director] Wayne [Auton] and everybody.

“So just move on to the next one.”

As easy as moving on sounds, there are likely penalties coming for the Xfinity Series full-timer when NASCAR makes its usual weekly penalty announcements on Tuesday.

As for the severity of those infractions, if any at all, only time will tell.

About the author

Dalton Hopkins began writing for Frontstretch in April 2021. Currently, he is the lead writer for the weekly Thinkin' Out Loud column and one of our lead reporters. Beforehand, he wrote for IMSA shortly after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Simultaneously, he also serves as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.

Follow Dalton on Twitter @PitLaneLT

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Nascars decision on probable punishment will reflect their ambivalence toward the little guy.
I admire Williams for sticking his neck out. After all, it was just a piece of tape.

Mr Yeppers

They basically shut Carl Long’s cup program down with a huge fine for a slightly oversized engine years ago. He never recovered from it. I truly think NA$CAR could not care less about the little guy.

Stu Pidphukor

You can bet your ass that NASCAR wouldn’t have black flagged a car fielded by Penske, Gibbs, Childress or any other mega team. Let’s see if Josh Williams gets the Carl Long treatment!


My new Hero! Whatever they do to him, it was worth it. About the classiest “Up Yours” I’ve ever seen.

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