The friendship bond between two race car drivers will reach a new pinnacle level this weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway when ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver Josh Williams pairs with Mario Gosselin's King Autosport for Saturday afternoon's Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.
The link between Gosselin and Williams circles back to William's early success in the ARCA Racing Series driving for his family-owned team Josh Williams Motorsports.
Before reaching Victory Lane twice on the developmental tour last year, several of Williams' previous best finishes on the tour in 2013 and 2014 came under the guidance and direction of Gosselin, a long-time competitor in NASCAR.
Though embracing "Thunder Valley" for the first time aboard the #90 Chevrolet Camaro, the Port Charlotte, Florida native hopes to repay his appreciation with a strong finish in the seventh race of the 2017 XFINITY Series season.
"I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity," said Williams, who hopes to compete in a limited NASCAR schedule this season. "Some of my best success in ARCA before last season came to thanks to Mario's leadership, advice and direction. We had a couple top-fives and saw a win within our grasp with him on top of our box.
"Mario's been around this racing deal a long time and we know what it takes to not only put a car on the track, but go fast too. When he called me last week and asked me if I would be interested in driving his race car - I couldn't turn it down. It gives me an opportunity to go out there and return the favor to him."
With Gosselin calling the shots on the box, Williams says his expectations are high for Saturday's 300-lap race and won't be satisfied with anything less than a top-15 finish.
"I know Mario has the equipment capable of running very good, especially on the short tracks," added Williams. "The impending weather may put us in a corner when it comes to track time and stuff, but we'll see what happens and do our best. We'll be in the race and that is what's most important."
Despite not having any prior experience at Bristol's 0.533-concrete monster, Williams is hoping that his short track success in ARCA will pay some dividends. Of course, he'll again lean on his friend Gosselin for direction.
"Before ARCA, I spent my life on short tracks and I'm hoping that mentality what I learned on the smaller tracks will be beneficial for me," sounded Williams. "Bristol is Bristol. You must respect the place and get into a zone and stay focused. Bristol reminds me of the ARCA tracks of Salem and Winchester. While the tracks have some similar characteristics, they still scream their own unique layouts.
"For me, I just want to go out there, learn, keep my nose clean and bring home a good finish for Mario and the team. If I can do that, it's a victory within our circle."
For William's third career XFINITY Series start, BuckedUp Apparel, a skyrocketing apparel company featuring their signature antlers with attitude motto will adorn the No. 90 Chevrolet in the second XFINITY Series Dash4Cash event of the year.
"I know from my own personal experiences that sponsorships are tough. It doesn't matter if it's a Late Model, ARCA or NASCAR, so I appreciate for BuckedUp Apparel for stepping up and supporting us in Bristol. They are a Florida-based company and with be being a native of Florida, it's an extra incentive to do well."
-- Josh Williams PR --