Ryan Blaney’s eye in the sky took unique road to the spotters’ stand
Josh Williams, spotter for rookie Wood Brothers Racing driver Ryan Blaney, took an interesting road to work atop the spotters’ stand each week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Williams’ was born with racing in his blood. For 20 years, his grandfather was the general manager of Martinsville Speedway and his parents worked by selling merchandise for Dale Earnhardt.
It was only a given that he would end up with a job in NASCAR, but that wasn’t the case right away for Williams.
"I raced some myself in the Allison Legacy series (1/2-scale Cup cars), quarter midgets and go karts," Williams said. "When I was old enough, I started working on the souvenir trailers with my dad at tracks that were closer to home to make some spending money during the summer. I did that all the way up until 2011."
Before friend and former NASCAR driver Scott Speed asked him to spot for him at the 2011 Bristol night race, Williams was well on his way to a potential professional golf career.
The one-time Virginia state high school golf champion played on mini tours, winning 12 events in the process. But when the whole golf thing became to pricy to pursue, Speed’s offer was hard to pass up.
"I dove straight in to see what the whole spotting thing was like," Williams said. "He needed a spotter and asked me if I would come do it for him because he needed someone he could trust. At the time I had no experience spotting other than a few Allison Legacy races for my cousin. So I went with Scott to spot as just kind of a fun thing to do for a few weekends to end the season that year."
Now for Williams, working for the famed Wood Brothers is more than he could have ever imagined.
"The Wood Brothers’ race shop was just 20 minutes up the road, so growing up they were always the home team and you always kept up with how they were doing," said Williams. "It’s so much fun to be part of their 66-year history and to hear those stories every weekend at the racetrack. Going full time with the Wood Brothers this year has been incredible.
"There’s no other job that gets you closer to the action other than being a driver," he added. "Race teams are a big puzzle and each piece has to do its job to make a complete picture. It’s cool knowing that the guy beside me can’t do my job and I can’t do his but together we can win races."