By now, we all know what happened this past Saturday (March 18), and it’s brought us here on Eyes on Xfinity our first opportunity of the season to fire up the Hot Take Machine.
As always, I am here to deliver.
What the hell was Josh Williams thinking? Will we go anywhere from here? Is he the new face of the whole damn series? Is he the next people’s champ or chump? How does this affect Lebron James’ legacy?
The last one was just for me, but the rest of those questions all hold serious mettle.
The first question is easy — he was pissed. Williams was ordered to park it by NASCAR officials after debris from a botched bear bond job came off of his car and brought out another caution. The bear bond didn’t stick correctly due to the colder temperatures, and this was part of the reason for Williams getting so hot and bothered by the order.
Williams was quoted as saying that it was “some bull” on team radio for him to park the car before he exited it, and I somewhat agree. He’s not God. He didn’t wake up that morning and decide that it was going to be cold enough to freeze the balls off of a pool table. He was ordered to park it because of a piece of NASCAR approved equipment faltered in the temperatures. I’d be pissed, too.
The only part of the actual action of parking it on the track that I have an issue with is this: Williams wasn’t the only driver on the track.
Every other racer had to drive in the exact same conditions. Williams may think he was being singled out, but in reality, he was just a victim of unfortunate circumstances.
People might say something like: “Yeah, but Williams couldn’t really help that he was collected in the wreck,” and I, a racing fan, will tell them in some form of strong verbiage that would make their in-laws blush that they are correct, but welcome to racing.
The second big question is “what happens now?” Obviously, Williams was suspended for the next race at Circuit of the Americas, but aside from that, what’s the bigger picture look like from here for him?
The answer is simple. This may be the best thing that’s ever happened for him as far as his fan engagement is concerned. Williams has never won in the Xfinity Series and neither has his team.
Another question that must be asked following the penalty is if it is even an appropriate punishment? Williams is going to miss one race, and during that week, for the first time ever, he’s going to be all the NASCAR world talks about.
On paper, I don’t know if that’s a bad trade off, considering the team’s performance. The answer to that question can only be given by Williams. How much is the publicity worth, then? Because he’s certainly gotten a lot of that.
Williams has gained an immense following on social media after he “parked it,” which is the exact phrase he’s put on t-shirts that are selling like hot cakes (the proceeds from those shirts are going to the Josh Williams Hospital Tour, by the way, which is awesome). Before this past weekend, I would wager that most casual fans had never even heard of DGM Racing, much less could remember where they finished the weekend before.
To put it in perspective, Williams’ highest finish so far this season in the No. 92 was 15th at Daytona International Speedway. Last year, it was 21st at Bristol Motor Speedway, as far as the Xfinity Series goes. The point is, this is not a wildly successful winning racer or race team.
This is DGM Racing and Josh Williams.
Now, though, DGM and Williams are all anyone wants to talk about, and they will be until the next big cataclysmic event in the Xfinity Series, because if we’re honest, that’s just how NASCAR fans, including me, are wired. Williams and DGM are making the most of the situation, and I can’t blame them. He’ll return next weekend and be just fine, but he’ll have always just “parked it.”
Think about it like this: five years from now, when someone brings up Williams or DGM Racing in that random greasy bar you and your friends meet up at after work, what will you remember him for? Will it be for winning the Daytona 500? The Xfinity Series championship? Absolutely not, and you and I both know the real answer.
That brings us to the final question. Is Williams the people’s champ, or their chump? This one is clear, judging from the vast majority of outpouring support from fans. Will it change the trajectory of his career or the success of DGM? Most likely absolutely not. Was it cool, though? Hell yes, and you may not ever win, but you can always be cool. Just look at Josh Williams.
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