Those three words can easily describe the first two races for newcomer Armani Williams and his SPEAR Motorsports team in ARCA Truck Series competition.
Back-to-back top-five finishes at Toledo Speedway and Lake County Speedway respectively have Williams and his team sitting fourth in championship points early into the 2016 season, but it’s still not good enough.
At least for this rookie’s take.
“I’m very happy with the way our season has gone so far,” said Williams. “I know our season is just underway, but we’ve been working hard to bring strong trucks to the race track to compete. Two top-five finishes are a good way to start the season, but we know it’s going to take wins to make us a viable threat for the championship.”
Yes, those are strong words from an intelligent teenager, but true.
Championship points leader Shawn Szep has been on his game in 2016. With wins in both races thus far, Williams stands 39 points behind his Szep for the top spot, but the young aspiring driver knows in order to have a chance of catching Szep, he just has to keep the pressure on.
And Angola Speedway is on deck.
“Different weekend, same story,” said Williams. “It’s another track where I don’t have any experience, but we’re going into with an open mind and a good attitude. That mind set has been helped us become one of six teams to finish inside the top-10 in both races this season thus far.
“Making the most of the track time has been really positive for me. I’m still learning a lot. I’m learning every day, every hour I’m at the race track, whether I’m in the seat, in the garage or talking to the team. If you stop learning in racing, your career is done. I have a lot to learn, but I’m embracing it all with open arms and willing to listen to what everyone has to say.
“That’s my strength.”
Shouldering the pressure to win in the ARCA Truck Series, Williams refuses to let go of his mission of making dreams come true, despite any obstacles along the way.
For the Grosse Pointe, Michigan native, it’s living and conquering Autism.
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at age two, Williams’ life-long dream of becoming a race car driver seemed unrealistic, but the teenager from the Great Lakes state has been on a mission to prove otherwise.
Autism is often misunderstood. It is a neurological development disorder that effects people in many different ways. Most often those diagnosed with Autism battle some social challenges and learning disabilities. Yet, many individuals are bright, talented and extremely focused in areas they find interesting. Today, over 3.5 million people in the United States live with Autism every day.
“The support is overwhelming, but I don’t want people to remember me because I have Autism, I want them to remember me for my passion and ability behind the wheel,” Williams added. “I have a lot of people that stand behind me and are helping me pursue my dreams. I don’t forget that, but I want to a driver that is living, competing and winning with Autism, rather than known as a driver with a disability. It’s important for people to understand what Autism is and how people living with it can have productive and healthy lives.
“I’m living proof of that.”
Launching his racing career at the tender age of eight, Williams has steadily and methodically built his own resume competing at local short tracks near and around his hometown with a recent emphasis on Super Mini Cup cars, where he enjoyed modest success.
His triumphs in Michigan and Indiana eventually led him to the next stage of his racing career, the ARCA Truck Series which is a pickup truck racing series which runs on numerous short tracks throughout the Midwest. Sanctioned by the Automobile Racing Club of America, the series races mid-sizes trucks with V6 and V8 engines. The 2016 season consists of a 14-race schedule which launched last month at Toledo Speedway.
As for this week, if Williams doesn’t have a shot at his first career Truck Series win. That’s OK too. He’ll revert back to what they’ve been doing all year long.
“Again, we’ve talked as a team that if we don’t have a winning truck, we’re just going to do the best we can,” he said. “We want to win and I think we have the capabilities of winning; we just want the championship more. Strong, consistent finishes will help us achieve that goal. It helped us at Lake County and surely it can help again!”
For more on Armani Williams please visit his ALL NEW website, teamarmaniracing.com, like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TeamArmaniRacin.
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