Traditional Sprint Car FanSite

See You At The Races!!!

by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa

Q&A with USAC/CRA Rookie Josh Williams

Josh, what's happening!
Josh: Aside from being really excited I'm really not too sure what's happening!

Give us some background on yourself......
Josh: Well, my family has always been involved in racing. I believe it began with my Grandpa Jack & his brother Bobby (Rip's dad) racing midgets & micros together. Then my Dad had me around the CRA/Ascot scene as a young kid. I myself raced BMX when I was younger. I spent the last 4 years racing the California Lightning Sprints South West Tour with my Step-Dad, Herb Caples who doubles as my crew chief. My brother Joel also drives in the CLS and my Dad Joel Sr. and uncle Jon have all been a great help.

Who has been the most influential person in your racing career besides Rip?
Josh: I would have to say my buddy Keith Janca. While Keith and his Dad Otto were always a top 5 car with the Lightning Sprints, they rarely put the fastest car on the track. They worked extremely hard at making sure the car was bullet-proof all week long, night after night and it earned themselves a Championship among drivers & teams that had really no spending limits.

You mentioned that you raced in the tough California Lightning Sprint Series.....
Josh: Yes. It really is a great group of folks. A little on the wild side you might say, but definitely a lot of fun. The camaraderie among the guys is something I will really miss. The Lightning Sprints have produced a lot of really good drivers and I hope to add my name to that list.

How did the deal with the Sprint car come about?
Josh: I am not team mates with Rip nor am I driving for Jack Jory. I figure it's the first thing that folks would think of as being the case (I wish it were). Rip, his team and Jack have sort of taken me under their wing to show me the ropes so to speak. I am running one of their older cars and have been spending time in their Yorba Linda shop as we've been building it. I think I'll get kicked out of the nest here pretty soon though. They've been extremely helpful to Herb & I, and have been great about taking the time to explain why we want to do certain things, etc. I feel very fortunate we are able to learn from one of the top teams in the Country.

That's a pretty big jump from The CLS, to a 410.......
Josh: I'll let you know just how big a jump in about a week or so! It really is. I know I could have maybe put a midget or 360 deal together and spent a hell of a lot less money but Rip doesn't run 360s or midgets. He's agreed to help and the value of that is much more than what I would have saved in any other series. Since getting to know his team I realize that it confirms I've made the right choice.

What do you think you will have to adjust to most, besides the huge horsepower increase?
Josh: The extra 600 pounds I think is going to be more difficult to get used to than even the horsepower. The car is going to skate a lot farther up the track in the corners than what I'm used to, so I'll have to learn how to drive all over again in some ways.

Do you plan on running the full schedule?
Josh: No, with 23 races at Perris just 30 minutes away there is plenty of racing to do without having the expense of travel. I plan to get to some of the other tracks (finances permitting) but we'll see.

Being a first year driver, what are some of the things that concern you?
Josh: I really don't have any concerns about being a first year driver. I have a pretty realistic view of just how far above my head I'm getting myself into this. I'll figure it out. I'm most concerned about the expense of breaking the motor!

What advice has Rip given to you, regarding your rookie season?
Josh: Just listen!

With your last name being Williams, do you feel you have some added pressure?
Josh: Maybe sub-consciously it does. I try not to think about it much. Being a Williams hasn't made steering the car any easier.

What goals have you set for yourself this year?
Josh: I have two goals for the first year. I first hope to get through my first several races without getting into trouble or pissing anyone off. My second goal will kick in at about the 5th race or so and that is to make the feature every night.

The competition in the USAC/CRA Series is very stout.....
Josh: One of the National Sprint Car Polls (I think it may have been the wingless driver of the year or something) had 7 of the top 10 drivers in the Country from right here in CA. It's another level above stout I believe.

Any butterflies knowing you're going to have to be really up on the wheel against those guys?
Josh: Not yet. Ask me again when I tag the back of the heat race next to Gardner because he earned quick time again. I may have a different reply. Then again I may not.

How do you mentally prepare yourself, knowing you will be waging war with "The Demon", "The Kruser", "The Ripper", Mike Kirby, and the rest of the hot shoes in the USAC/CRA series?
Josh: Mentally prepare? I'm an adrenaline addict. Since Mike Tyson wont fight me and I'll never get a shot at 8 seconds with Bodacious these guys are going to have to do.

Where do you hope to go with your racing career?
Josh: I don't have any aspirations for making the Indy 500 lineup or Nascar. I just want to race sprint cars before my kids kick me out of the driving seat altogether. I have young boys that have driven some Mini-dwarf cars and quarter midgets. So I want to learn as much as I can. The more I learn now the better I will be able to help them later.

What's your biggest racing accomplishment to date?
Josh: That's a tough one because there have been so many! Well not really. I think it would be a toss up between earning the Most Improved Drivers trophy in 2002 and the Hard Luck trophy of 2004.

Is their anything that you would like to say to the fans?
Josh: I know everyone is excited about the upcoming season just as I am. I hope to be able to add just a little bit to their excitement and enjoyment of the toughest sprint car show in the Country. I would like to say thank you in advance to the fans, because it couldn't be said enough. If it weren't for the fans there would be no place for me to fulfill my dream of playing race cars with my cousin.

I thank you for letting us fans get to know you better. It has been an honor. Good luck this year, and get after 'em!
Josh: The honor has been mine! Thank you. I'll give it my best!

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