Announced late Monday afternoon, Williams will wheel Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in select NASCAR Cup Series races throughout the season, starting with the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles (Calif.) Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 4.
The non-points exhibition race, which annually kicks off the Cup Series calendar and is being held in Los Angeles for the third straight year, will mark Williams’ fourth time racing in the top echelon of NASCAR.
He made three Cup Series starts in 2022 for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, earning a best finish of 25th at both the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway dirt track and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Williams has been somewhat of a blue-collar, journeyman driver in the Xfinity Series over the past eight years, predominately racing for lower-budget operations like Mario Gosselin’s DGM Racing and Jimmy Means Motorsports in addition to his tenure with McLeod’s Xfinity Series operation.
In 186 Xfinity Series starts, Williams has earned 11 top-10 finishes, including six during a breakout 2020 campaign that saw him contend for a playoff spot through the summer months and finish a career-best 15th in the Xfinity Series standings.
This year’s Xfinity Series campaign with Kaulig Racing will arguably mark Williams’ first time with a championship-level organization, but he’s not discounting the opportunity to step back into the Cup Series as well.
“Getting another opportunity in the Cup Series is humbling, especially with a team like Kaulig Racing,” Williams said. “I’ve been spending time in the sim (simulator) with Team Chevy, and that’s been a huge help in getting comfortable and acclimated to the L.A. Coliseum.
“Short track racing is my background, and it doesn’t get much shorter than at The Clash. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Alloy Employer Services, a partner of Williams in the Xfinity Series since 2020, will support his Cup Series efforts this season with Kaulig Racing.
“We are excited to embark on this new chapter of racing with Josh Williams as he starts this season with Kaulig Racing,” said Alloy Employer Services Chief Marketing Officer Chris Estey. “Josh has been a big part of Alloy over the last four seasons, and we can already tell that Kaulig Racing will be a big part of Josh. To say we are excited to see what's next is an understatement.
“Alloy and our partners can't wait to experience the Clash at the Coliseum this Sunday,” Estey added. “We're anticipating great things this season, and from everything we’ve heard recently, fans are just as excited as we are to see what unfolds in 2024.”
Williams’ work ethic, determination, and willingness to learn have all been qualities that have stood out to team owner Matt Kaulig and team president Chris Rice through the early stages of his tenure at Kaulig Racing.
“Josh has impressed us at Kaulig Racing with how quickly he’s gotten up to speed in sim testing, so we knew we needed to work together to get him in the No. 16 Cup car in Los Angeles,” Rice said. “Alloy Employer Services’ enthusiasm to get involved with our Cup and Xfinity programs has made it easy to give this [deal] the green light.
Beyond the Clash, Williams will return to the seat of the No. 16 Alloy Employer Service Chevrolet for the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway on Feb. 25, the week after the season-opening Daytona 500.
A.J. Allmendinger will pilot the No. 16 entry during The Great American Race before Williams takes back over at Atlanta, with Rice hopeful that these two appearances will lead to more opportunities for the 30-year-old.
“We’re hopeful that there will be a handful of Cup Series starts with Josh, Alloy Employer Services, and Kaulig Racing this season,” Rice noted.
Coverage of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles begins Saturday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. ET, with timed practice and heat races that will lock in 20 of the 23 starting spots for Sunday’s 150-lap main.
Those preliminary events will air live on FS1, with the Busch Light Clash last-chance qualifier and headlining feature taking center stage Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET, live on FOX, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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