The driver of the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet is making a big move to support sick or injured children and their families. Josh Williams has announced a partnership with OhmniLabs, a robotics lab, which will enhance his virtual hospital visits prior to Xfinity Series races.
Williams and OhmniLabs announced the news on April 29 with a press release. They confirmed that OhmniLabs has provided two of its telepresence robots for the 2022 Xfinity Series season, which will travel with the No. 78 team to all of the tracks. Williams will visit the patients in the hospital, and then they will control the robots while virtually touring the NASCAR garage.
“The robots were a perfect solution to our hospital visits, but also inspired us to transport kids onto the racetrack in this really cool new way,” Williams said in a press release. “It was the most incredible experience and we knew we had to keep doing these kinds of visits on our tour. People were just blown away – it became a weekly question for me and my team…Where were the robots? Well, now they will travel with us week in and week out.”
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Williams Has Spent Several Years Making Hospital Visits
The driver of the No. 78 showcased the special robots during the March trip to Phoenix Raceway. He controlled one while one of the patients controlled another. They then used the robots to take part in a special race. Williams may be a professional driver, but his robot spun out and ultimately lost.
This race at Phoenix continued the driver’s trend of showing his support for sick or injured children. He has toured hospitals since 2015, and he has visited more than 140 in-person while competing in both the ARCA Menards Series and the Xfinity Series.
Williams had to change the routine during the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Instead of personally visiting the hospitals, he utilized Zoom to take part in virtual visits and play games with the kids. Though he still collected handprints for the special scheme that he ran at the end of each season.
“Ohmni telepresence robots are all about establishing connections,” said Tra Vu, Chief Operating Officer at OhmniLabs, in the press release. “What Josh is doing, allowing kids who are sick or injured to cruise around trackside with him and explore the pit from that perspective, is something the kids will never forget. It builds connections for the other racers as well and hopefully will inspire more athletes, drivers, and performers to offer similar experiences.”
Williams Showed Support in a Different Way at Richmond Raceway
Prior to announcing the partnership with OhmniLabs, Williams and his primary partner showcased support in a different way. He and Alloy Employer Services took part in a special weekend at Richmond Raceway.
Williams started the weekend by taking patients from the Children’s Hospital of Richmond on a special virtual visit to the racetrack using Zoom. He also showed off his Children’s Hospital of Richmond scheme, which he put on display during the Toyota Care 250.
Williams also brought along a special guest for the race weekend. Frankie Ferreira, a CHoR patient diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy in 2020, accompanied the Xfinity Series driver during introductions.
Richmond Raceway also showed support during the race weekend. The track provided 100 tickets to CHoR patients and hospital team members so that they could attend the Toyota Owners 400 Cup Series race that featured Denny Hamlin as the winner.