When you think of today's NASCAR Xfinity Series, a couple of names might pop up. Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton, Austin Cindric, Riley Herbst, Justin Allgaier, and many more talented drivers. But most of the time probably running 20th or so is a man by the name of Josh Williams. The one with the down to earth personality and the awesome mullet blowing in the air on race day. The one who pilots the 92 orange and blue Chevy Camaro for DGM Motorsports. This is Josh Williams: Xfinity Series favorite underdog.
Josh was born into a racing family. In the interview I had with him he said “ I was in victory lane in my mama’s belly. My dad was a racer growing up. Going to a race track has always been a thing for me. “ Williams said “I started racing at the age of 4, running road race karts down in south Florida and followed the steps from there. “ He also mentioned he went up the ladder to quarter midgets, bandolero series, legend cars, and pro trucks series.
In 2010 Williams drove for his family's team driving the 02 car in the ARCA Series, as well as driving for series veteran Andy Belmont for a few races here and there. Williams continued on his ARCA journey all the way till 2016 when he got an opportunity to do a start and park at Michigan International Speedway for Jimmy Means in the Xfinity series. “ I was standing in a parts store in Mooresville, North Carolina and Jimmy came in looking for a driver to do a start and park at Michigan, and the guy behind the counter pointed at me and said ‘ that’s your guy right there.’ So me and Jimmy got together there and ended up doing that.”
Williams finished 38th in that race in 2016. What he thought was a random start and park start actually led to who he drives for today. “I had my NASCAR License and soon after that start and park, Mario ( Mario Gosselin , Owner of DGM Motorsports ) contacted me after that to do some start and park stuff for him. We eventually found more sponsors and ran a few more races and then it finally developed to a full time deal so it's pretty cool. I love them guys to death and Mario has always been good to me and given me a lot of opportunities.”
Josh has had over 120 starts with DGM Motorsports dating all the way back in 2016. In total, he has 8 top tens and 9 laps led. From 2019 (first full time year) to 2021, he has finished 17th, 15th, and 18th in the championship standings respectively . I asked Josh on a letter grading scale , A being the best and F being the worst, on what he thought he would grade himself on this year.
“ I say we had some ups and downs and bad luck so it's kind of hard to grade these seasons. I say our 2020 season was a B and our 2021 season was a C just due to luck we had this year. We still had really good runs and had really good race cars and finishes but we had some bad luck that kind of hurt us in races, and that’s just part of racing and motorsports. “
On November 15th, 2021, DGM released a statement saying that Josh was not going to return to the team in 2022. Many fans wonder what his next step will be in NASCAR, so I asked what his 2022 plans were, as well as asking if he would like to stay in the Xfinity series or even make a move forward to Cup or a step back in the trucks? “ I definitely don’t think turning backwards is the way to go in the truck series even though a lot of drivers do that. It doesn’t really make sense to me honestly. We will definitely go full time Xfinity series racing next year and it’s all about sponsorships and partnerships. Hopefully we can put some stuff together and even try to make a couple of Cup starts next year.”
From kart racing in south Florida to full-time Xfinity series driver, Josh has gone through the ranks as an underdog. Hopefully we see Josh in a competitive ride in the near future as he has the talent this sport needs.
Ben Rhodes wins the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title after a battle with Zane Smith in the final laps. Chandler Smith who drives the 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra won the race despite not being in the playoffs. Zane Smith finished 2nd in the playoffs and was moved out of the way by Rhodes coming out of turn 4 with just a handful of laps to go. John Hunter Nemecheck and his number 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota got damaged on the first lap causing him to be down several laps. But on Lap 102, the caution came out and Nemecheck was able to get back on the lead lap and wound up finishing 7th in the race and finsihed 3rd in the standings. Matt Crafton didn’t have the night he needed. Not necessarily a contender for the lead the whole race although he finished his number 88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota in the 12th place finish and 4th out of 4 in the final standings. The race had 4 cautions for 25 laps. It had 12 lead changes with 3 different leaders. The race lasted 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 34 second and had an average speed of 136.576 mph.
Here are the top 12 finishers of the 2021 Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway
1: Chandler Smith #18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra
2: Stewart Freisen #52 Halmar International Toyota Tundra
3: Ben Rhodes #99 Bombardier Lear Jet 75 Toyota Tundra (Playoff)
4: Sheldon Creed #2 LiftKits4Less.com Chevrolet Silverado
5: Zane Smith #21 MRC Construction Chevrolet Silverado ( Playoff)
6: Christian Eckes #98 Curb Records Toyota Tundra
7: John Hunter Nemecheck #4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Tundra (Playoff)
8: Todd Gilliland #38 Frontline Enterprises Ford F-150
9: Carson Hocevar #42 Premier Security / GM Parts Now Chevrolet Silverado
10: Austin Hill #16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra
11: Johnny Sauter #13 Tenda Toyota Tundra
12: Matt Crafton #88 Ideal Doors/ Menards Toyota Tundra (Playoff)
Here are the championship 4 final standings for 2021
1: Ben Rhodes #99 Bombardier Lear Jet 75 Toyota Tundra
2: Zane Smith #21 MRC Construction Chevrolet Silverado
3: John Hunter Nemecheck #4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Tundra
4: Matt Crafton #88 Ideal Doors/ Menards Toyota Tundra
Here is the interview with Chad Finchuum after being sent back to the garage due to handling issues as well as not making minimum speed.
Me: Kaleb Vestal with Speedway Digest i’m with Chad Finchum, driver of the 66 Toyota Camry. Out of the race early today Chad what happened out there?
Chad: Well you know we had a good early start there and we were driving good and all of a sudden man we just started picking up an issue. We came down pit road a couple of times to address the problem but couldn’t really find out what it was. We unfortunately were not making minimum speed according to NASCAR so we came back in the garage and looked at the car. It's unfortunate but it's been a roller coaster of a year for me as I've only been part time this year. I was excited to come back to Kansas Speedway, a place where I initially set my best finish in the Xfinity series a couple of years ago. I love this place and love the atmosphere around here and it's an honor to drive a cup car but the mechanical gremlins got the best of us.
Me: Will we see you at Martinsville next week?
Chad: No plans as of yet even though I really want to be but nothing as of yet.
Me Thank you Chad appreciate the time.
Kyle Larson, driver of the number 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet scored his 9th victory of 2021 at Kansas Speedway. Larson led 130 out of 267 laps, but it didn’t look like his normal dominance from the past. Non playoff drivers like Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick, and Matt DiBenedetto all combined to lead 71 of the 267 laps. Byron, the strongest non playoff driver, looked like he was in contention for his 2nd win of the year but unfortunately lost out to his 2 playoff contention teammates Larson and Elliott. A total of 7 cautions for 33 laps happened today at Kansas and the race was 3 hours 3 minutes and 49 seconds long. Average speed was 130.728 mph and margin of victory was 3.619 seconds. Only 4 cars failed to finish the race. Chad Finchum finished 40th due to handling issues, Justin Haley finished 39th due to engine troubles, and both Anthony Alfredo and Ryan Blaney (37th and 36th respectively) both out due to a crash.
Here are the top 10 of today's race at the Kansas Speedway
1st: Kyle Larson #5 Chevy Camaro
2nd: Chase Elliott #9 Chevy Camaro
3rd: Kevin Harvick #4 Ford Mustang
4th: Kurt Busch #1 Chevy Camaro
5th: Denny Hamlin #11 Toyota Camry
6th: William Byron #24 Chevy Camaro
7th: Martin Truex Jr #19 Toyota Camry
8th: Christopher Bell #20 Toyota Camry
9th: Joey Logano #22 Ford Mustang
10th: Austin Dillon #3 Chevy Camaro
Next week will be at Martinsville and will be the final race in the Round of 8. Coverage will be on NBC and MRN Radio.
Kyle Larson, driver of the number 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy Camaro, won the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Larson led a total of 256 out of 334 laps and was one of 8 different leaders. The race had 11 cautions and took about 3 hours, 42 minutes, and 54 seconds to complete. Here are your top 10 finishers from Texas.
#1: Kyle Larson
#2: William Byron
#3: Christopher Bell
#4: Brad Keselowski
#5: Kevin Harvick
#6: Ryan Blaney
#7: Chase Elliott
#8: Kyle Busch
#9: Tyler Reddick
#10: Daniel Suarez
Only 3 out of the 8 playoff drivers did not finish in the top 10: Denny Hamlin finished 11th ( had 2 spins in the race), Martin Truex Jr finished 25th
( hit the outside wall in turn 4 after contact with Daniel Suarez on lap 321), and Joey Logano finished 30th ( blown engine on lap 298). Here are the playoff standings headed into Kansas Speedway.
#1: Kyle Larson ( Advanced into Round of 4)
#2: Ryan Blaney + 17
#3: Denny Hamlin + 9
#4: Kyle Busch + 8
#5: Chase Elliott - 8
#6: Brad Keselowki - 22
#7: Martin Truex Jr - 22
#8: Joey Logano - 43
Next week the NASCAR Cup Series takes on Kansas Speedway on Sunday October 24th on NBCSN and MRN Radio.
After last weekend's trip to Talladega, 2 out of its 3 races were affected by both darkness and rain on the racetrack. That made all of us race fans ponder the question, “ Why don’t they put lights around the track?”. Well let's dive in on this topic and see what we can figure out.
Excluding road courses, there are only 5 race tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule that do not have lights: Talladega, Pocono, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Dover. Dover can not install lights due to an Air Force base located near the racetrack and New Hampshire isn’t allowed due to local government rules. The only one that is currently in the Playoffs is Talladega Superspeedway. With the report that NASCAR is wanting to shuffle the Playoffs in future seasons, I think we can all say that Talladega won't be leaving the playoffs anytime soon. And why should it? It is definitely a ticket seller with its chaotic style of racing. But 2 races out of 3 years have been pushed to Monday afternoon due to inclement weather. So is it time to add in lights?
To me, yes, I think it's time we have lights put up at the 2.667 mile racetrack in Central Alabama.
It's a crying shame that Talladega has to suffer if weather is in the area or if darkness is looming in. Now let's clear this up, I do not want Talladega to schedule a night race. If you've been following NASCAR since the mid 2000’s, you know that back then nearly one third of the schedule was run on a Saturday night. I wouldn’t want to take a good Sunday afternoon race from Talladega, however I would much rather run it late into Sunday night rather than half of the fans in NASCAR missing out due to work, school, and other commitments.
I’ve heard contrasting opinions about the nightlife in Talladega and how it would be lost. Well let's say you were in the infield with a camper or RV. Would you rather lose one night of partying or have to leave on race day Monday morning because you can not take off work? Racetracks need to think about the fans' visit and prioritize on not letting the casual race fan walk out the gates. If they have spent all of their hard earned money on your sporting event and you have to tell them that they have to come back the next day, they may never come back. So yes, Talladega needs to do this. And I hope all other race tracks that can install a lighting system, will.
Josh Berry, driver of the number 1 Pilot Chevrolet, won the ALSCO Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Berry was filling in for Michael Annett who suffered a fractured leg in July. Berry and teammates Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson finished 1-2-3 making it the first time JR Motorsports finished all in the top 3. Here are the results of the top 10 from last night.
1: Josh Berry
2: Justin Allgaier
3: Noah Gragson
4: Austin Cindric
5: Daniel Hemric
6: Brandon Jones
7: A.J. Allmendinger
8: Ty Dillon
9: Justin Haley
10: Harrison Burton
The race had a total of 6 caution flags with 2 being the end of the stage. Justin Allgaier led the most laps with 90 and it took 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 28 seconds to complete the race.
Sparks flew and tempers heated Saturday night as the Bass Pro Shops NRA 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch, Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, and Aric Almirola were the four drivers that were eliminated from the 2021 Playoffs.
While McDowell was a non-factor all night, Busch, Almirola, and Reddick looked to spoil the playoff grid by potentially knocking out Byron, Bowman, and Kurts younger brother Kyle Busch. But the better cars will prevail and especially at a track like Bristol Motor Speedway, the slower cars will be left in the dust.
We did have some heated drivers. Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick both had some vulgar words to say to each other after an incident where Harvick got into Elliott, cutting his right front tire down. Elliott, not happy with Harvick, held him up and allowed Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson to pass Harvick and ultimately score his 6th win of the season. Both drivers pulled on pit road and had a conversion that involved finger pointing and pushing. But at the end the drivers both agreed to have a conversation in Elliotts hauler where the media wouldn’t be able to see.
Larson goes into the round of 12 as the playoff leader as they head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week on September 26th.