(SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - August 18, 2012) - For the ninth occasion in 2012, Josh Williams and his Josh Williams Motorsports team will compete at a track on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards circuit for the first time.
This weekend, however, the experience for the 19-year-old will be nothing like he's ever seen before, as Williams makes his first ARCA start on dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
In ARCA's 16th race of the year, the 60th Anniversary Season steers toward the first of two dirt races this season. In addition to Springfield, the series will trek to the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds on Labor Day for the annual Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care.
But before Williams and his team can focus their efforts on DuQuoin, they'll have to tackle the Springfield mile and take on a track surface that they've never experienced before.
The Port Charlotte, Fla. native admits, though, that he is more than ready to embrace another new venue and believes with a little hard work and some luck, the team can earn a respectable finish in their ARCA dirt debut.
"I've been asking myself, what are we getting into?" said Williams. "This will be a new thing for me this weekend racing on the dirt, but I'm always eager for a challenge. It's no secret that the day goes by incredibly fast. An hour for practice, then an hour break for qualifying, then we're racing by 1 p.m. One thing is for sure: we won't be standing around much.
"No holds barred, we're really hoping we can have a top-10 finish on Sunday afternoon. It's been a while since we've been in the top 10. Even though we've been close, we just haven't had the breaks go our way in order to make that happen. Hopefully, this weekend everything will fuse together and we can get a good finish for everyone at Josh Williams Motorsports."
Williams is currently tied for second in the year-long CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award standings. He has earned 42 points, one for each position gained from start to finish (in races in which he improved from start to finish). He stands tied with Chris Buescher, 10 points behind leader Buster Graham. Brandon Davis is fourth, with 40 points. Will Kimmel is fifth, with 38. The best haul in Williams' total came at Lucas Oil Raceway last month, when he improved from 25th at the start to 13th after 200 laps to earn 12 points. Darrell Basham won the most recent race award at Berlin Raceway.
When asked what to expect when he takes to the track on Sunday morning, the Floridian Williams said, "I'm not sure what to really expect, in all honesty. I'm going to talk to some of the drivers at the driver's meeting and hope they'll be able to give me some tips. I'm sure we'll have to learn a majority of it, though, on our own. There's no doubt that Springfield will be a good test session for DuQuoin."
Another reason that a top-10 finish would be gratifying for the family-owned team is the team's intentions of finishing out the season and finishing inside the top 10 in the driver championship standings. Currently ranked 11th overall, Williams sits just 125 points below 10th-place competitor Ryan Reed.
"There's a couple of guys ahead of us in points that don't plan to run all of the remaining races. Chasing them down and passing them before the season finale at Kansas Speedway won't be easy, but nothing that we've done this year has been easy. We've fought a lack of sponsorship for a majority of the year, but the devotion to see us succeed by my parents has been incredible. I plan to drive my heart out until October and hope to give my mom and dad what they want - which is finishing inside the top 10. We're sure going to try."
Practice for the Allen Crowe 100 will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday and last for one hour, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell starting at 11. The 100-lap, 100-mile race will take place at 1 p.m. All times are Central. ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage throughout the day, and ARCA Racing Network hosts Charlie Krall and Tim Clagg will deliver a live audio call for the race on the site.
From Team Release