NASCAR announced Tuesday that Xfinity Series driver Josh Williams has been suspended for the upcoming race at Circuit of the Americas after he parked his car on the frontstretch, climbed out and left it there in defiance of a penalty NASCAR issued him during the most recent race in Atlanta.
Alex Labbe will drive the No. 92 Chevrolet for DGM Racing in his place.
On Lap 27 of Saturday's race, Williams was collected in a crash in Turn 1 and sustained heavy right front fender damage that his team attempted to repair with bearbond under caution. But the repair job did not hold, in part due to unseasonably cold temperatures that kept the bearbond from sticking properly. It resulted in Williams' car dropping debris that quickly brought the yellow flag out again on Lap 33.
Williams was then ordered by NASCAR to take his car to the garage and park it for the day for extending the caution period, a decision that may have partially been influenced by a sloppy start that saw four cautions in the first 33 laps. Disagreeing with the penalty and feeling it was unfair, Williams responded by parking his car on the frontstretch during the caution, climbing out and leaving it there as he walked back to the pits.
Josh Williams parked it ... literally ... on the start-finish line. pic.twitter.com/e42EV2u21g— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 18, 2023
NASCAR was less than thrilled, ordering Williams to go to the NASCAR officials' hauler for the remainder of the race before a meeting with series director Wayne Auton. Speaking to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer explained that Williams' actions put the sanctioning body in a position where they needed to act.
"There's a way to handle that. There's a way to come to the trailer after the race, get with the series director, express your displeasure, and that's totally fine. But there's also a way not to handle it," Sawyer said. "... Those actions will put us in a position that we have to react."
In a statement, Williams said that he stood by his actions and did not regret his decision, something he also expressed in subsequent media appearances.
"I don't take it back. I was upset and I thought that it wasn't a correct penalty," Williams told SiriusXM. "I felt like we were a victim of other circumstances that we couldn't control and that NASCAR couldn't control. And they finally were getting aggravated and I was the straw that broke the camel's back, right? I wouldn't change a thing."
Williams has made 159 starts in the Xfinity Series with a best finish of sixth at Kansas in 2020. The Port Charlotte, Fla. driver became a viral star after his stunt in Saturday's race. In response to his newfound publicity, Williams released a new "Park It" T-Shirt which will benefit his work visiting children's hospitals, work which helped make him a finalist for last year's Comcast Community Champion award.
You asked. We delivered. The official 'Park It' shirts are available now! — Josh Williams (@Josh6williams) March 21, 2023
ALL proceeds will go towards the supporting organizations of the Josh Williams Hospital Tour, such as the @RyanFoundation, @OhmniLabs robotics, and more.
👕 https://t.co/U8Y9YmoZUi pic.twitter.com/d6jCxTcIvT
Williams is currently 22nd in the Xfinity Series points standings with a best finish of 15th in the season opener at Daytona.