By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
MONROE, Wash. – The goal is simple for Armani Williams of Detroit, getting to compete in as many races as he can, and pursuing his dream as the first NASCAR driver on the autism spectrum.
Hours before making his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut at Evergreen Speedway, the pilot of the No. 34 Race4Autism.com Ford said he’s been trying to get as many opportunities to race since his East debut at Memphis International Raceway back in June.
In that race, he started 19th and finished 16th, three laps behind race winner Ruben Garcia, Jr.
“It’s a really great opportunity,” Williams told Motorsports Tribune. “I’ve been trying to get a lot of those West Series ever since that Memphis race, but it’s really hard to come by.
“I appreciate Flyin’ Dutchman Racing, (co-owners) Rudy Vanderwal and Shawne Merriman for putting this race together, and letting me come out here and race with these guys. It’s always an excellent opportunity, and I can’t wait to go race.”
With overcast weather looming the 0.625-mile oval, Williams’ goal is to score a top-10, and see how his car handles before the NAPA Auto Parts 175 commences.
“I want to see how our car handles,” said Williams. “Tracks can sometimes change, especially like today being overcast.
“When it comes down to the race, it’s just like go out there and compete, and race as hard as you can. If we can come out with a top-10 finish, and put ourselves into a great position to do that. Maybe even better like a top-five, we’ll come out here witb a pretty good day. That’s pretty much our strategy.”
Since the age of 8, Williams has had this vision of being a professional race car driver, and throughout that journey, it has been long. However, with thanks to his peers, especially his dad, Del Williams, he continues to make his dream a reality.
“This is really what I wanted to do is be a professional race car driver,” said Williams. “I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles. Even coming through the driving ranks, and developed my driving skills, just to get up to this point.
“With all the support that people have helped me move up through the ranks is really been a long journey. Without the support of my dad and everyone that’s helped me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Being on the autism spectrum, Williams encourages people to continue pursuing their dreams without letting others telling them otherwise.
“Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do what you can do best,” said Williams. “Go out there and do what you love, work hard, and go for your dreams. Just find a passion, work hard at it, and someday you’ll be successful.”