Video: Meet the fearless autistic NASCAR driver Armani Williams


Throughout World Autism Month, we are spotlighting fearless individuals within the autism community. From the autistic adult stepping out of their comfort zone to the courageous mom advocating for her nonverbal child, we aim to ensure everyone feels included.

Autistic NASCAR driver Armani Williams with his head down and eyes closed

Meet Armani Williams, a 23-year-old professional stock car driver competing in NASCAR. Armani races for MBM Motorsports, headquartered in Statesville, NC. He holds the distinction of being the first professional driver in NASCAR openly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Armani uses his racing career as a platform to raise awareness and promote acceptance of autism, striving to improve life outcomes for families affected by the disorder.

Having competed coast to coast across the United States and Canada, Armani's impact extends far beyond the racetrack.

We had the privilege of spending time with Armani and his dad, Delanoe Williams, during a race in Daytona.

As one of three African American professional stock car drivers currently competing in NASCAR, Armani understands what it means to be different. Even before his love for toy cars and go-karts blossomed into a career in NASCAR’s truck series, Armani faced challenges fitting in with friends, classmates, teammates, and even within his own family.

Autistic NASCAR driver Armani Williams looking at the stadium with his helmet on top of his car

Armani was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old, but he didn’t fully comprehend it until he was older. It was around middle school that his parents sat him down and explained what it meant to have autism. Reflecting on his childhood experiences, it all started to make sense. Once he connected the dots, he realized what it truly meant to be on the autism spectrum.

Armani often found that when he disclosed his autism diagnosis, other children were curious and asked questions. As he matured and his career flourished, he made a conscious decision to use his platform to raise autism awareness, ensuring that children like him wouldn’t feel "weird" or "out of place" when discussing their identities.

Del emphasizes, “I tell parents of children with disabilities that it’s important to step back and watch your child. If they want to go right, you go right with them; if they want to go left, you go left with them.”

Autism Speaks does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties. The views and opinions expressed in blogs on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of Autism Speaks.