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Armani Williams

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing

Armani Williams
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Wikipedia: Armani Williams

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Born: 14 April 2000

A race car driver.

Biography

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Armani Williams page on 20 July 2020, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Armani Williams is an American professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes part-time in the ARCA Menards Series, driving the No. 01 Ford for Fast Track Racing. Williams is notable for being the first NASCAR driver (openly) diagnosed on the autism spectrum. He is also one of three African American drivers currently competing in NASCAR, along with Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace and Truck Series driver Jesse Iwuji.

Diagnosed at age two, Williams is on the autism spectrum and spoke his first word at three years old. He did have some social interaction and sensory issues growing up, as other people on the spectrum do, but quickly learned to improve and overcome them with the help of his parents.

He and his father attended the Brickyard 400 when he was ten (so, the 2010 race), which sparked his interest in racing along with playing with toy cars at home and watching NASCAR races on TV. He attends Oakland University studying mechanical engineering. His favorite driver growing up was Jimmie Johnson.

He is from Grosse Pointe, Michigan and had a 3.0 GPA at his high school while balancing school and racing.

Williams loved to play with Hot Wheels toy cars as a child, and later discovered NASCAR on TV and immediately began watching races. He soon decided it was what he wanted to do as a career, so he began racing go-karts at age 8, and eventually bandoleros after that. Specifically, he attended a competitive go-karting school and then participated in go-kart races.

Williams originally competed in the ARCA Truck Series, which was shut down during his time racing in that series, so he moved to the NASCAR Pinty's Series in Canada in 2017. Driving for his mentor, D.J. Kennington, Williams drove his No. 28 Dodge in five races (plus withdrawing from a sixth), with a best finish of eleventh in his debut race at Delaware Speedway. He made one start in 2018 for Peter Simone's No. 97 Dodge at New Hampshire, where he earned his first top-10 finish in the series with a ninth-place.

He raced once in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West in 2018 for Calabrese Motorsports and Patriot Motorsports Group, respectively. He returned to the Patriot team, renamed Kart Idaho Racing, in 2019 (after a change in ownership), after not qualifying for the race at Irwindale driving the No. 35 for Vizion Motorsports. After Williams' DNQ, John Wood stepped out of his No. 38 for Williams to drive it, where he finished twelfth. In the East Series, Williams competed with Kart Idaho at New Hampshire, finishing eleventh in that race.

Williams stated in an interview in October 2019 that he was hoping to run full-time in the ARCA Menards Series, East Series, or West Series in 2020 if possible. At around that same time, Williams had been put up on Vizion's website as listed to be running full-time in the ARCA Menards Series in 2020, although those plans did not come to fruition. However, Williams would get to make his debut in that series at Phoenix, where he drove Fast Track Racing's No. 01 car to a 17th place finish.

Over the course of his NASCAR career, Williams' cars have often sported blue paint schemes with the blue autism puzzle pieces to symbolize his diagnosis on the spectrum and to raise awareness.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
30 September 2016ARCA Truck Racer Armani Williams Selected For NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity CombineChris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management


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