His team has been described as the “little engine that could.” With just four full-timers, including the guy who drives the car, Josh Williams Motorsports not only thinks it could, it knows it most definitely can, and just might win a championship in 2016.
On the heels of an amazing ride at Talladega and his first win at Nashville, Josh Williams finds himself second in a close championship title fight, just 15 points away from leader Chase Briscoe.
“I think we can win the championship,” Williams said. “As long as we round up more sponsor dollars to make it to the end.”
That said, it is indeed a long way from the end with just four of 20 races complete. But with a little luck and a lot more bucks, Williams knows he’s a championship contender. He also knows he’s coming up on some tracks that he did very well at last year, like Toledo Speedway where he finished third behind winner Todd Gilliland and runner-up Tom Hessert.
“We usually have good runs at Toledo. We’ve had some unfortunate luck too, but we finished third last year, and that was without the Ilmor motor. That’s our biggest deal. The Ilmor really leveled out the playing field. Now we have the same motor, same body…it’s really up to our set-ups now, the calls that DJ (Danny Johnson/crew chief) makes from the pit box…then I try and out-drive these guys.”
Even having Johnson as crew chief is a luxury for Williams, who in years past, crew-chiefed from the driver’s seat. Williams has a few other feathers in his cap this year too.
“We’re going to the pull-down rig this year…that’s really helping our program.”
Williams is getting some help from the good folks at Earnhardt Technologies Group (ETG) in Mooresville, N.C.
“ETG really goes back to my Barry Owen days…back when he was helping us. I used to go over there (ETG) and rummage through their used parts. Now, we’ve been able to use their pull-down which is really big for this little team. We’re much more prepared when we get to the track so we can better utilize these 45-minute practice sessions.”
Last time out, Williams was about two feet away from victory at Talladega … so close. But, Williams and crew know that if they can win at Nashville and Talladega, they can most assuredly win at Toledo Sunday afternoon, May 22 in the 75th running of the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
“We love that track (Toledo). We believe we’re going to win more races this year…no reason it can’t be at Toledo. Toledo reminds me of a small intermediate track…it’s smooth, wide and really fast. It really acts more like an intermediate track than your average worn out short track.”
It’s also worth noting that the races ahead — Toledo, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Pocono Raceway and Michigan Int’l Speedway — were notoriously productive events for Williams last year, and were without the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine in play. In addition to his third-place finish at Toledo, Williams was third on the New Jersey road course, seventh at Pocono and sixth at Michigan.
Despite the advantage of being able to utilize the ARCA Ilmor 396, it’s still challenging when you have just one to work with.
“We’re taking our composite car to the Michigan test (May 19). But we’re going to have to take our Ilmor out of the Michigan car and put it in our Toledo car for the race.”
Story and photo courtesy ARCA