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Meet the first autistic NASCAR driver who is only 18 years old

June 12, 2019 at 02:30 pm | Faces of Black Excellence

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

June 12, 2019 at 02:30 pm | Faces of Black Excellence

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He might be living with autism, a condition that makes it difficult for him to focus and work simultaneously but 18-year-old Armani Williams is not letting that stop him from living his best life and career that many would have thought impossible for him to even dream of.

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Having competed in racing events in both the U.S. and Canada, Armani’s love for cars and speed started when he was 8 years old after a go-kart racing game. Ever since then, he has competed in several racing events and finally made it into professional racing, making history while at it.

From competing in go-karting races and bandolero vehicle racing, Armani was racing in the professional series by age 15 and he signed on to SPEAR MotorSports where he broke a record in 2016 as being the highest finishing African American in the series’ championship during the ARCA Truck Pro Series in 2016.

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Speaking to Art of Autism in 2018, Armani explained how racing has helped him live with his condition and to actually improve. “I have managed to steadily improve those tactics, being a little more proactive around other people and that’s going to help me in the long run as I continue to live my life with autism.”

The then 17-year-old went on to talk about his career in car racing stating that “I loved playing with one of my action figured cars as a kid and just play all day. When I heard about NASCAR, it sparked my interest up another level. I would watch NASCAR nonstop and it amazed me how fast those cars were going, passing cars, and a winner getting a trophy at the end of the race. I found that pretty cool and awesome and one day I told my dad straight up that was something I wanted to do when I grow up. I wanted to be a professional racecar driver.”

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Armani was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of two-years-old and he was considered nonverbal. Miraculously, he learnt to speak which started to come slowly by the time he was 3 years old.

Currently, he is part of the NASCAR stable of talented upcoming drivers and races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series having raced as a professional in the ARCA Truck Pro Series, USA and NASCAR Pinty’s Series in Canada.

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Armani uses his life and achievement to work as an advocate for autism creating awareness about the condition while supporting research work that helps make living with the condition better.

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