TOLEDO, Oh. (May 20, 2016) – – Grosse Pointe, Michigan native Armani Williams is already overcoming the odds.
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.
That dream continues in 2016.
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.
As a full-time ARCA Truck Series driver this season for SPEAR Motorsports, Williams has a plan to not only win this season, but educate those around him too.
“There’s not a day that I don’t wake up that I’m not thankful for this opportunity,” said Williams. “I’ve had a passion to race ever since I could walk, but being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder seemed to put those chances in jeopardy. But, thanks to my support system, I’m making my dreams come true this season in the ARCA Truck Series.”
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 weekend at Columbus Motor Speedway.
Unfortunately, inclement weather forced the postponement of the season-opening event leaving Saturday’s race at Toledo Speedway as the official green flag on the season.
“It was a bummer that we didn’t get to race at Columbus last weekend,” Williams added. “We had an early practice hiccup, but once we got it fixed, we were prepared to go back out and then the rain came and that was that. This weekend is Toledo though. The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will be there on the big track and I look forward to watching them and seeing if there isn’t something, even if it’s small that I can pick up and help us for our race.”
As for this weekend at Toledo, Williams is staying realistic knowing that his entrance into the ARCA Truck Series is not only something new – but comes with expectations, some that can’t be reached right away.
“This weekend would be a big success if we can come away with a top-five finish,” said Williams who pilots the No. 4 Race4Autism Chevrolet Colorado. “As a team, we’re trying to keep out goals realistic, but the main objective for me is to finish the race with all the fenders on the truck. One step at a time.”
But, while Williams is focused on building a successful name for himself on the tour this season, he doesn’t want to lose vision of encouraging others to overcome situations in their lives.
“I’m not ashamed to live with Autism,” Williams explained. “I look it as it’s part of my life today, tomorrow, next week, next year. It’s something that will never go away, but I’m trying not to let it define who I am. I want to live my life to the fullest and if I can encourage others to follow their dreams even with detours in their road from time to time, then (this) has been all worth it.”
For more on Armani Williams please visit Race4Autism.com, like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TeamArmaniRacin.
PHOTO CAPTION: Armani Williams, driver of the No. 4 Race4Autism Chevrolet Colorado in the ARCA Truck Series for SPEAR Motorsports.