HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Josh Williams will roll out his most meaningful paint scheme of the season during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For the Ford EcoBoost 300, Williams will campaign the Josh Williams Hospital Tour “handprint car,” featuring the handprints of numerous ill children from various locales across the country.
The special scheme is an initiative that Williams has been part of since 2015, when he was competing in the ARCA Menards Series, and is the one of the cornerstones of the Josh Williams Hospital Tour, an interactive experience Williams began as part of a desire to bring joy to chronically and terminally ill children.
The tour includes a driver meet and greet, as well as an activity or handprints on paper plates with patients, families and staff members. Those handprints are then digitized and compiled into a year-end handprint car to honor all those who were visited during the season.
It began with a visit to a young girl battling leukemia in Tampa, Fla., and quickly turned into a nationwide children’s hospital tour with 20 or more visits per year. At one time, Williams was actually visiting more children’s hospitals during the season than the number of races he was competing in on-track.
“The Josh Williams Hospital Tour and the handprint car have become tradition for my racing season and are two of the things I’m most proud to be a part of every year,” said Williams. “The car itself is a special way to honor and thank all of the patients we visit throughout the year for their support, enthusiasm and the stories and time they share with us and it’s always one of the most special schemes that we put on the race track all year long.
“We can’t thank all our sponsor partners that help us through the year enough for being supportive of the handprint car and the meaning behind it, and hope to give it a strong run in Saturday’s race.”
This year, Far Out Toys has joined forces with the Josh Williams Hospital Tour to bring their newly-licensed line of NASCAR toys – including Crash Racers – to the patients for them to enjoy.
Williams will make an appearance in the Kids Zone with Far Out Toys on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship race.
“To have the additional support of Far Out Toys this year on the Josh Williams Hospital Tour is a big thing for all of us and we’re honored and appreciative of their support in our mission of bringing joy to ill children just looking for a ray of hope in their individual fights,” Williams noted. “We look forward to working with them this weekend on the tour and at Homestead before the Cup Series finale.”
Williams will also visit Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday leading into the Homestead weekend.
Two years ago at Joe DiMaggio’s, Williams met a young man named Andrew, who was the final patient Williams visited that afternoon. Andrew discussed with Williams how the at-the-time recently-released Nintendo Switch was broken at the hospital – meaning he could no longer play Mario Kart – and his parents couldn’t afford to buy him one due to his medical bills.
That evening, Williams found one of the Switch gaming systems, purchased it and returned to the hospital the next day to personally deliver it to Andrew as a thank you for his enthusiasm and conversation.
The following year, Williams returned to Joe DiMaggio’s for a follow-up visit and was surprised at the hospital by Andrew, who was in good health and back in school after his hospital visit.
“That visit is one of those moments that sticks with you,” Williams said. “To be able to bring the joy that we did to Andrew in his battle and then to come back and see how well he was doing last year after our visit, those moments are what this hospital tour has become about and are some of the reasons why we continue at it year after year.
“We’re proud to continue the tradition of the handprint car and the mission of the Josh Williams Hospital Tour for another year and look forward to all the activities we have planned this week and through the weekend.”
Williams is concluding his most-successful Xfinity Series season to date, with a career-best finish of eighth at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April and a career-high ranking of 17th in driver points coming into Saturday’s season-ending event.