Speed News April 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/662179

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Page 67 of 95

M E M B E R S P O T L I G H T W hether on the racetrack or as a former ski jumper, Dan Williams finds a way to soar. Spend a few minutes with him at the track and you realize he doesn't do anything half-heartedly. Whether it's poring through data between test sessions or peppering fellow DAN WILLIAMS Age: Region: Rocky Mountain Hometown: Scottsbluff, Neb. Racing Class: 944 Spec, Spec Miata Sponsors: SproutPoint Consulting, Sector Purple Racing Day Job: Anesthesiologist Favorite Food: vegetables! Favorite TV show: "Chopped" Favorite movie: "City Slickers" Favorite book: "Go Like Hell" Favorite track: Road Atlanta Dream race car: I would like to race one of the yellow factory Corvettes at LeMans. racers with setup questions, Williams is constantly on a quest for self-improvement. It might explain why in just his second year of racing, he won the 2014 Eastern States Championships in the 944 Spec and went on to finish seventh at the Mazda Race of NASA Champions last year. It's remarkable considering Williams had never raced a car until age 43. Kids who haven't celebrated their 10th birthday had more track experience than Williams, but what he lacked in seat time he made up for in competitive spirit. Williams was once on the U.S. Ski Team, making the World Championships twice in ski jumping and narrowly missing a spot on the Olympic team. Flying down a mountainside and jumping 375 feet in the air makes ripping around a track in a car seem pretty tame by comparison. "What I like about these activities is not the adrenaline rush or the thrill, but it's the intensity or focus that you have to draw out of yourself to handle the situation," Williams said. Williams said he got into racing while struggling with a bout of inflammatory arthritis. He couldn't do his usual activities of biking, golfing or running, so a friend suggested they compete in an endurance race where the racers dress up in costumes and drive colorful cars. Watching some YouTube videos of those races, Williams said the friends realized the teams were racing and not just out there for fun. "Everybody else on the team bailed out, but I thought, 'That looks like fun,'" he said. To get ready for the race, Williams signed up for a NASA HPDE event running a 1986 Toyota MR2. "And there began the addiction," Williams said with a laugh. He quickly immersed himself in the sport reading nearly every book available about racing and hired Justin Piscitell of DAMG Racing as a driving coach. Piscitell said one of Williams' greatest strengths is the pursuit of proper execution, a likely a holdover from his days of pursuing a spot on COURTESY OF DAN WILLIAMS COURTESY OF DAN WILLIAMS 68

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