HAMPTON, Ga. -- NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Josh Williams made the highlight reel during Saturday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway by parking his car at the start/finish line under caution, climbing out and walking away while waving to the crowd. The incident happened after debris from Williams' car brought out another caution in a first stage riddled with yellow flags.
Williams' car was damaged on Lap 27, when he was collected in a crash that involved Kyle Weatherman and Jeb Burton that caused major damage to his right front fender. Williams' team attempted to repair the damage to keep their car running, but the repair job did not hold when the green flag came out again, with debris falling off Williams' car on the front stretch and bringing out the fourth caution of the race on Lap 33.
NASCAR then ordered Williams to bring his car to the garage and park it for extending the caution period. So Williams, rather than drive back to the pits, stopped on-track, climbed out of the cockpit and flashed a peace sign to the crowd as he walked across the infield grass and back to pit road.
Williams was whisked away to the infield car center and then summoned to the NASCAR hauler to meet with officials. Speaking with safety workers, Williams was obviously unhappy with the penalty that had been called while also taking a defiant tone toward discipline -- likely to be assessed by NASCAR Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton.
"I don't care. What's he gonna do, fine me?" Williams asked. "I can't afford to pay it."
Williams was then made to wait in the NASCAR Xfinity Series officials' hauler until after the race, where he spoke to Auton for a considerable time. Afterwards, Williams spoke to reporters to explain the incident from his point of view.
Josh Williams told reporters that whatever penalties NASCAR assesses to him is up to them. Says he was shocked that NASCAR parked him so quickly and felt their decision was unfair.— Steven Taranto (@STaranto92) March 19, 2023
Williams had to wait in the NASCAR hauler until after the race to speak to Wayne Auton pic.twitter.com/slbml20xwW
"We all work really hard, right? And to only run X amount of laps and then have something like a piece of bearbond fall off and put us out of the race, it's really frustrating," Williams said. "(We're a) small team, we work really hard and we've got to make our sponsors happy, right? It doesn't do you any good sitting in the garage. But it is what it is."
Williams, an Xfinity Series veteran from Port Charlotte, Fla., races full-time for DGM Racing and entered Saturday's race 22nd in points. Williams admitted that he was shocked at how quickly he was parked by NASCAR after the debris fell off, but he made note of both his respect for Wayne Auton as well as the fact that what he was penalized for is present in the NASCAR rulebook.
As of the end of Saturday's race, Williams was uncertain of any future discipline by NASCAR, such as potential fines or a suspension.
The incident involving WIlliams was the highlight of what was an incredibly sloppy first half of Saturday's Raptor Tough 250, as the yellow flag flew nine times in the first 78 laps, and at one point there were no green flag runs lasting longer than nine laps. Things would calm down in the second half of the race before an exciting finish, as Austin Hill held off Parker Kligerman and Daniel Hemric to score his second straight win at Atlanta and his third win in five races to start 2023.