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Armani Williams, NASCAR Driver

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2024 9:32 pm

Armani Williams, NASCAR Driver

JR Sports Brief / JR

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April 30, 2024 9:32 pm

Armani Williams joined JR to discuss how he fell in love with the sport of NASCAR and his journey to becoming the first autistic NASCAR driver. 

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. What up y'all? It's your boy Danny Green, three-time NBA champ.

You either rooted for me or rooted against me. Join myself and my close Harrison Sanford on the Inside the Green Room Podcast. It's a podcast that brings you never before told tales from the locker room to candid interviews with basketball legends to breakdowns of what's happening in the NBA right now. Whether you're a diehard fan or casual about your hoops, this podcast brings you the game like never before.

Follow Inside the Green Room on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. It's the JR Sport Brief Show here with you on the Infinity Sports Network and April is a special month if you're not aware, Autism Awareness Month. And right now we're being joined by a very special guest. He is a NASCAR driver, okay? He's an advocate for Autism Speaks. He is a NASCAR race driver.

Joining us right now is Armani Williams, the first autistic driver in NASCAR. Armani, how are you, man? Oh, I'm doing fantastic. I appreciate you, JR, for having me on. This is awesome.

No, I appreciate you because this conversation is gonna shed a whole lot of light on a lot of people. We're gonna talk about your involvement with Autism Speaks, but before we do anything, you're a NASCAR race driver, man. How did you get involved in racing? Yeah, you know, so like how I, how I got involved in racing, it all started when I was just very, very young, you know, like as a kid, yeah, you always like, you know, went to the store and just try to collect as many matchbox and Hot Wheel cars as possible. And I would bring some of that collection home with me and just play racing with them, like literally all the time, regardless of whether I was at my mom's, my dad's or my grandparents, you know, and one day I heard about NASCAR and I thought to myself, hmm, this is very interesting.

You know, I got to check this out. And the first time I ever watched a NASCAR race on TV and just see what it's like from the jump, I was hooked. Just seeing how fast the cars are going, like 180, 190 miles an hour, like I thought it was the coolest thing I've ever seen, you know, and it just made me want to watch more and more NASCAR races every weekend that it was on TV. And, you know, eventually it came to a point where, you know, it started from, you know, getting interested in racing to now loving racing and having a passion. And it was something that I wanted to be involved of when I was when I grew up, when I grew up and all that. And I told my dad straight up that, hey, you know, I wanted to be a professional race car driver, you know, and so like from there, you know, they were supportive and helping to make my dream happen. And, you know, by eight years old, you know, I started racing go-karts competitively and went on from there.

This is amazing. Armani Williams is here with us, NASCAR driver. You're 23 years old right now. You found that you had autism when you were two years old.

And a lot of people would look at that as something of a deterrent, not you. This is something that actually helps you in racing. How does autism help you be a race car driver?

Yeah, I think one of the greatest strengths that we as people with autism have is that we have a very laser-like focus on things that interest us, things that catches our eye. And so I think that kind of laser-like focus is what separates me from like the other drivers on track. I mean, when you think of the sport of racing, you know, like I'm in a race car going 180, 190 miles per hour every lap. And, you know, it's just there's always a lot of things that can happen around you so fast, whether that's in front of you, behind you or, you know, racing with the other cars around you is that like at all times during a 400, 500 mile race and with the car like being hot inside you and all that, that you just can never lose sight of any concentration. You got to stay locked in to the task at hand. And that's just something that I've always strived on every ever since I started racing. And so, like, I feel like that kind of laser-like focus is what really gives me a real and great advantage that I don't think a lot of drivers have. Armani, man, you've raced that Daytona NASCAR Truck Series.

You're on your way to the the Infinity Series. Your accomplishments have been wild. It's also crazy. You're African-American. How has the Drive for Diversity program helped you out? We don't have a lot of black drivers in NASCAR and motorsports. Yeah, I mean, I've been real fortunate to be invited into NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program twice. And, you know, like doing it one time is one thing, but like getting invited to it twice, you know, it helped make me recognize that NASCAR saw exactly the kind of capabilities I have as being a racing car driver, but also the impact I could have in a sport as well. And being invited to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity combined, you know, gave me an opportunity to just get my name out there and show the racing world who exactly I am and what I'm trying to accomplish, you know. And so really, you know, like with how that program is to help give drivers and minorities an opportunity to continue to move up the ladder in racing and continue to chase greatness and success in the world of racing, you know, it was just the kind of stepping stone I needed to, you know, continue my racing career and to continue living my dream.

Armani Williams is on the air with us right now. The JR Sport Brief Show here with you on the Infinity Sports Network. From all the experiences that you've had up until now, whether it's Daytona, the multiple tracks, the attention, the media, the interviews, do you have a favorite memory that stands out to your favorite experience? Yeah, I mean, I've been fortunate to have a lot of great memories all throughout my racing career, but I would say like my most favorite one was just having an opportunity to race at Daytona just a couple of months ago.

You know, like Daytona International Speedway is like home of the Daytona 500, which in NASCAR is the biggest race in all of NASCAR, really. And every driver that, you know, moves up the ladder in racing has a dream of one day of racing at that track, whether that's the Daytona 500 or just the Speedway in general. And so, you know, just being able to say that a couple months ago, like I was involved in a race at Daytona and with like the way that racing went, you know, it was just suddenly it was just really a dream come true. And it's something I will never forget. I mean, like, you know, like we were there at the end in the top five and, you know, very close to a win and all that, you know, and given that it was my first try, like, you know, the way I had that race planned out, like it could have not gone any better, you know, and even though the end result is not what we wanted it to be, wanted it to be. But just to say that I had an opportunity to at least win there in my very first try, you know, just gave me tremendous confidence and my capabilities as a race car driver to know that, hey, you know, I can run on any racetrack and be good.

Armani Williams is here with us. Man, you're breaking barriers and you're certainly helping people, other folks who have autism to be encouraged. What are some of the barriers and misconceptions that you want to break, man? Yeah, you know, I mean, autism can be misunderstood at times, you know, certainly we deal with challenges of social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors, but that's where, you know, having that support system really comes in, you know, because like many people deal with struggles of any kind, you know, and you need the people around you to be able to help, like, get over your struggles, you know, like and really my family has always been incredibly supportive of me, you know, through the ups and downs that I had and, you know, really, I also got a prepping autism speech set in the fall as well, you know, at least by the time I was diagnosed with autism, you know, autism speech was one of the first resources that, you know, my family reached out to, to be able to get an understanding of what autism is and, you know, and what are some resources that autism speech can provide to my family to where my family can be able to have an opportunity and the tools to be able to support me the best they could possibly could to help me overcome my struggles with autism. So, you know, really, it's just, like, having all that great support, you know, can go a long way, you know, and it's helped me be able to seek a way forward, you know, while living my life through autism and to be able to help me achieve my dreams and, you know, what I want to grow up to be, but also the type of person I want to be and, you know, never let autism back me down. So, like, it's been like, it's been absolutely incredible.

Man, you are incredible. NASCAR driver, autism speaks advocate, inspiration. Leave us with a final word. What advice would you share with anyone who feels that they have their back up against the wall? Anyone who thinks that they can't do something. They're told that they can't do something.

Drop some knowledge for us real fast, Armani. Yeah, absolutely. So, like, I believe that, you know, autism doesn't have to always rely on its limitations. Like, autism can be a great strength if you know how to utilize it. You know, I think at the end of the day, you know, you just have to be able to believe in yourself, stay encouraged, no matter what the obstacles are, and work hard at what exactly it's going to take to help you achieve your dream and be able to accomplish your goals. And, you know, to try to be, for me to try to be a beacon of hope to everyone in the autism community, you know, like, is something that I take a lot of pride in, you know, not only to share my experience of what it was like living with autism and how I have to overcome it, but also to help people, you know, understand, you know, about Autism Speaks, you know, like, I want to be able to help provide resources to the autism community, to Autism Speaks, you know, who can help provide a lot of resources for families who struggle with autism, you know, and for people who want to learn more about Autism Speaks and what they can do to help you out, you know, you can visit their website at autismspeaks.org and also follow them on their social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you know, and they'll be able to provide you all the resources that they can provide families so that that way, you know, the families can be able to have the tools to support a family member of theirs that has autism, you know, so that's, that would be the advice that I would share with everybody.

Absolutely amazing, Armani. Where can people follow and keep up with you and your journey on the track? Yeah, so for me, like, I got all social media platforms that people can follow me on. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram at Team Armani Racing or Armani Williams. You can also visit my website at teamarmaniracing.com to, you know, learn more about me, learn about, like, what my mission is in terms of, like, you know, racing and autism, you know, because at the end of the day, you know, like, what I try to do out there is more than just being a race car driver, you know, it's more so of like the impact I can make to the millions of people with autism and ways to where we can help give back to them to be able to help inspire them to be able to find their dreams and be able to achieve it. Hey, Armani, you got an advocate in me next time you're back in Atlanta. Lunch on me in an interview in person, okay?

Absolutely. Thank you. What up, y'all? It's your boy, Danny Green, three-time NBA champ.

You either rooted for me or rooted against me. Join myself and my close Harrison Sanford on the Inside the Green Room podcast. It's a podcast that brings you never before told tales from the locker room to candid interviews of basketball legends to breakdowns of what's happening in the NBA right now. Whether you're a diehard fan or casual about your hoops, this podcast brings you the game like never before. Follow Inside the Green Room on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-30 23:22:25 / 2024-04-30 23:28:09 / 6

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