Article originally published on Fox Sports by Scott Thompson

Before the Daytona 500 begins Sunday, the United Rentals 300 will take place at Daytona International Speedway for the Xfinity Series. 

And Kaulig Racing’s Josh Williams is looking to make a statement in his first race for his new team Saturday. 

“I just want to go fast, man, and they’re the team to do it with,” Williams, who previously raced with DGM Racing, told Fox News Digital.

Josh Williams poses for picture

“I think we’ve got everything that we need at Kaulig Racing. I think the biggest thing for me is learning these cars. They’re going to be a lot different than what I drove before. But I think once I get the feel of it and what I need in the car to make speed, I think we’re going to win some races this year for sure, and pretty quick, too. It’s tough. Racing’s tough. Winning is hard at any series these days.” 

The Port Charlotte, Florida, native has never won in the Xfinity Series since he began racing in it. He has 11 top 10 finishes, though, including three last season. 

Matt Kaulig, owner of Kaulig Racing, is excited to see Williams race for him for the first time Saturday. He told Fox News Digital his simulator numbers have been great, and now that he’s using their equipment, Kaulig believes Williams will have the best chance to be in victory lane. 

“It should be a pretty special season — fun and exciting season — for us with Josh. He’s been racing for a while. He’s been in the industry. He’s definitely a racer, and this is the first time he’s been in good equipment and a good car.”

Williams is known for his charismatic personality on the track, and it was infamously featured during the Raptor 250 on the Xfinity Series in March 2023. 

He was ordered out of the race after a three-car collision on lap 28 resulted in damage to his vehicle. Despite his crew taping it up, debris was coming off his car on lap 32.

Williams parked his car at the finish line and walked off the track. But the reason behind it speaks to his background – how he’s fought tooth and nail to get to this point in his NASCAR career. So, after putting in all the hard work to then be disqualified for that, it doesn’t sit well with Williams. 

Josh Williams drives No. 16 car

His story about getting to this point in his career can help you understand why. 

“I decided to do homeschooling my sophomore year of high school,” he said. “I moved to North Carolina when I was 15, and I slept on people’s couches, floors. I stayed in one dude’s house for like two weeks, and I don’t think I even saw him. It’s been tough. I’ve always worked on my own equipment and built my own race cars and things like that over the years. That’s just how I am. I’m an old school racer that works.

“It’s been a struggle. Sponsorship is key in this sport. Having the funds to do this is important. It’s probably the most important part.”

Williams’ No. 16 car is sponsored by Alloy Employer Services, among others, and he mentioned how thankful he was to them heading into the new season. 

He’s also thankful for Kaulig Racing allowing him to be himself.

Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice explained how important that was as their relationship begins. 

“I don’t want him to lose where he’s come from,” Rice said. “He’s going to have a tough time because running where we want him to run is a different level. I want his personality to stay the same. I want him to love what he’s doing. Enjoy it, have a good time with it and try to go out and run every single lap.

Josh Williams salutes crowd

Williams’ long mullet has been a topic of conversation in the past, and some have suggested he cut it. Rice admitted it was a conversation he had with Williams because shorter hair may have been more appealing to sponsors. 

However, after hearing of fans’ love for the mullet during a race last year, Rice gave him a different alternative. 

“‘Here’s the deal. You can either get fit, lose some weight and get ready for the season. Or you cut your hair,'” Rice said he told Williams. “Dude walked in January 25 pounds lighter, ready to rock, throwing his hair all around. We’re going to embrace him.”

Kaulig Racing wants to “prove ’em wrong” this season at the Cup Series level, but the team has 23 wins and 121 top five finishes in the Xfinity Series since 2019. 

Williams will be looking to continue that upward trajectory for the team while potentially working his way up to the Cup Series. 

Josh Williams arms crossed