The other NFL player who just invested in a NASCAR driver

Antonio Williams, Bills, NFL (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Antonio Williams, Bills, NFL (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

While the spotlight has been on the NFL’s Alvin Kamara, Antonio Williams also recently invested in the NASCAR career of a young driver.

Just days after hinting about future involvement with a NASCAR team, New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara, who became a fan of stock car racing last year, stepped up to sponsor the #6 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet of Ryan Vargas at the Daytona International Speedway road course this weekend.

The primary sponsor of the #6 Chevrolet in this race, the Super Start Batteries 188, around 14-turn, 3.61-mile (5.810-kilometer) road course in Daytona Beach, Florida is The Big Squeezy, which is Kamara’s chain of juice bars in Louisiana.

But there is additional recent involvement in NASCAR from an NFL player that flew somewhat under the radar over the past week or so.

That is Antonio Williams’s investment in Xfinity Series driver Joe Graf Jr.

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Williams, the 23-year-old who played at North Carolina but went undrafted last year, just completed his rookie season as a running back for the AFC runner-up and AFC East division champion Buffalo Bills.

He got his first playing time in the regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins and had a fantastic game, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 12 carries (63 yards) and scoring two touchdowns as well as catching a 20-yard pass in the team’s 56-26 blowout win to secure the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Graf is in his second full-time Xfinity Series with SS-Green Light Racing after finishing in 22nd place in the championship standings with top finishes of 13th at Bristol Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway last year.

Sparked by a relationship with a mutual friend, Williams is now involved in Graf’s daily business interactions and plays a key role as a supporting of his racing endeavors. He was in attendance during the season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend, when Graf finished in a career-high 11th place.

Here is what Williams had to say about this endeavor, according to Motorsport.

"“NASCAR is going through a huge transition right now and it feels like the right opportunity for me to get involved and be a partner. I am extremely happy and excited to be an investor with Joe Graf Jr. and his platforms. Getting to know him as a person, not only as an athlete but on a friendship level has been great and I couldn’t think of another up-and-coming driver with my same initiatives to partner with.“Growing up as a kid, watching NASCAR and being a fan with my grandfather is something that I will always cherish and remember. Now, being able to be involved on an investor level means so much to me. Joe and I share many things from an athlete standpoint and a personal level.“From sharing the same sports psychologist to striving to be the best versions of ourselves in our particular field is what makes this relationship special. I look forward to working with Joe and being a part of his journey. The sky is the limit, and we have big things planned for the future.”"

Here is what Graf had to add.

"“Not only is he a NASCAR fan, but he has quickly went to work behind the scenes as an investor and partner in my racing platform and is eager to expand his responsibilities as the season gets underway. He is someone who is determined to give nothing less than 150 percent in his role and make a difference both on and off the race track. We are going to have a lot of fun intertwining our two worlds.”"

Williams is looking forward to competing against one of his fellow NFL running backs.

Z Grills, the wood pellet grill manufacturer, has already entered NASCAR thanks to this new relationship, directly benefitting Graf and his SS-Green Light Racing organization.

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Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 5:00 p.m. ET tomorrow evening for the live broadcast of the Super Start Batteries 188 from the Daytona International Speedway road course.