SALEM, Ind. — Josh Williams’s fortunes in the weeks entering the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic at Salem Speedway weren’t particularly the greatest.
At Pocono Raceway, the then second-place driver in the ARCA points standings suffered a mechanical issue that relegated him to a 26th-place finish.
At Berlin Raceway, a tight battle for the lead with points leader Chase Briscoe ended in tears as an off-track excursion sent Williams home with a 10th-place run.
Another battle for the win at Illinois State Fairgrounds resulted in a wrecked race car and an off-week at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds as Michael Lira piloted the No. 6 entry.
Williams’s run of bad luck ended on Saturday night, however, as the driver/owner of the No. 6 Musselman’s Apple Sauce Chevrolet came home with a fourth-place finish.
“We had a really great day,” Williams said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to qualify so we went off of practice speeds. I don’t even know where we started, 14th? 12th? Something like that?
“We had a really good productive day. Really good team, I can’t thank my guys enough and Musselman’s Apple Sauce, Circle Track Warehouse.”
While he may be out of the running for the series championship with three races to go, the Salem result leaves Williams in a position to at least go out and have fun for the rest of the season.
“It’s a really cool deal to come here and have fun and that’s what we’re going to do from here to the end of the season,” Williams continued. “Really successful day and I couldn’t be happier.”
Serving as both driver and crew chief for Saturday, Williams rolled the dice with a pit strategy call on Lap 50 that put on four fresh General Tire tires, going against the common trend for the first round of pit stops for the night.
As Williams stated, it was a calculated move based off of what he expected race-winning crew chief, Jeff McClure, to do for winner Christopher Bell.
“I knew that Jeff McClure on the No. 15, that’s what he’s going to do,” Williams said. “He’s taught me a lot over the years. I knew how fast he was that that was what he was going to do.
“I knew we had to be on the same page as him if we were going to run with him. Took a chance and we ended up coming out of it with a good finish.”
Williams heads next to Chicagoland Speedway for Thursday’s SCOTT 150. This year’s two-time race winner finished seventh at the mile-and-a-half speedway one year ago with Cunningham Motorsports.