Josh Williams: A Driver’s Eyes in the Sky

Courtesy of Josh Williams

By Jason Schultz

A key component of success for a driver is the help they receive by their team each weekend. One of the most important roles on the team is the spotter. The spotter tells the driver what they can’t see on the track. Whether it’s from a wreck ahead or if a car is approaching high or low. Without the spotter, a driver would have a much harder time navigating around the track and staying out of trouble. 

Josh Williams isn’t a veteran spotter but he knows what to do. He spots for driver T.J Bell in the Nationwide Series and Scott Speed in the Sprint Cup Series. Josh grew up around racing and that’s basically all he knows. His racing background led him into a tier-type of racing in North America, NASCAR. Josh was kind enough to take some time out of his hectic schedule to answer some questions about his job.

Question 1: What’s a normal race day like for you?
“A normal race day for me is show up with the team early around 8 am and we usually have a strategy meeting and talk about the plan for that day. I usually head to the spotters stand about 1:30 before race time to get my spot and look at our pit box location and get sorted out for the race.”

Q2: What are the hardest tracks to spot on and why?
 “The hardest for me are places like Atlanta and California where there are multiple grooves and tires fall off a lot, makes it more difficult to judge the runs and usually there are green flag stops there, so a lot of different strategies going on. Bristol is a different beast, but it just happens so fast there, is why it’s difficult; it’s a lot of fun if you can just slow things down in your mind and not get caught up in the rest of the show.”

Q3: Have you ever had to spot through a wild wreck, if so explain how you maneuvered your driver through it?
Not really, thankfully, but this year in the Daytona Nationwide race there was some big wrecks near the end and we missed most of them until the last one. Basically you just go off of your quickest judgment and try and help them one way or the other and it’s up to the drivers with a little bit of luck involved.”

Q4: Who is easier to spot for, Scott Speed or T.J Bell, and why?
“I wouldn’t say one is easier than the other because they both are very competitive people. The hardest thing for me is going between the two of them, I spot for TJ more than Scott because he runs the full Nationwide schedule so I have to remember Scott wants a little more information and remind myself of that during the race. They’re both great friends and fun to work with.”

Q5: Did you grow up around racing?
“Yes, my grandfather was the general manager at the Martinsville speedway and my dad sold souvenirs for Dale Earnhardt Sr and still works for Motorsports Authentics. I’ve been around it since I was 8 months old so pretty much all I know.”

Q6: Who was your first spotting job for?
“My very 1st spotting experience was for my cousin (Blaine Atkins) in the Allison legacy series. My 1st NASCAR spotting job was with Scott last year and my 1st race was Bristol, no pressure there!”

Q7: What is the main equipment do you use to spot with?
“I use Motorola ex 600 xls radios, one I use to scan NASCAR and to listen to myself and the other is strictly for our team communications. I use racing radios headset and racing radios does all of my programming for radios.”

Q8: What’s your favorite track to spot on and why?
“My favorite track by far is Daytona! It’s such a blast being in the pack trying to judge runs and which lane is best to be in! Bristol is my 2nd favorite.”

Q9: On twitter, you are always talking with Scott Speed about golf. What has been your favorite golf experience so far and who is a better golfer, Scott or you?
“I play professional golf in my free time so I have a lot of golf experiences, my favorite with Scott has to be going to play at TPC sawgrass when we were in Daytona this year and I shot 67 from the back tees. I’m definitely the better golfer but Scott is so competitive and always working at it, he’s getting pretty good and it’s not a stretch to say he’s the best golfing race car driver. I’ve seen him shoot 71 before.”

Q10: Do you like hang out with your drivers off-track? If so, what do you like to do?
 “Yes definitely, Scott’s like my brother I never had, so are always needling each other and giving each other a hard time. He’s super competitive so he is up for anything that can be a competition. Anything from; golf, running, swimming and to even playing games on our iPhone’s. About the only thing I beat him in is golf so I remind him of that daily!”


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