Dan Williams is a 944 Spec National Champion from the NASA Rocky Mountain Region. That Championship earned him at slot at the Mazda Race of NASA Champions in 2015, where he placed seventh of 20. An anesthesiologist by day, Williams just took over in 2018 as the Regional Director of NASA Rocky Mountain. We caught up with him to learn what his plans and goals are, and how he’s going to fit everything into his schedule.
Q: You’re now the Regional Director for the Rocky Mountain Region. How did that come about?
A: It really was a whole series of improbable events that all happened with perfect timing that led to me assuming the regional directorship. The most important ones were that I was seeking new meaning to my car racing at the very same time the Balingits had decided to move on. Basically, I made the conscious decision that I was ready to help others get involved with racing more than I wanted to further my own racing career. As I understand it, the Balingits had several candidates. My guess is they could tell my heart was in the right place to continue in their footsteps.
Q: Now that you’re in charge, what are your plans for the region?
A: My biggest goal for the upcoming season is to continue to create value in each driver’s experience. As far as I’m concerned, there should be no doubt in a driver’s mind whether they would prefer to go to a lapping day or come to a NASA weekend. The level of camaraderie at NASA Rocky Mountain is very high and I would like to help that continue.
To do this, I will expand on the Saturday BBQ and awards. We also have a monthly social event set up at Bruz Beers in Denver for drivers and families to spend time as friends. These are a few areas I hope to grow for the good of the region. I have my own personal agenda as well!
From a personal standpoint, I want to see the level of driving rise in Rocky Mountain. I want to go to NASA Nationals and see many Rocky Mountain drivers standing on the podium. To accomplish this, I need drivers to utilize our many professional teams in the area who can provide coaching and track support.
Q: You have a great career as an anesthesiologist. Are you going to keep your day job, so to speak?
A: At this point I will continue to practice medicine. I’m not sure NASA Rocky Mountain will support three college funds! It is interesting to me, however, that you mention it, though, because I love motor racing more than anything else I’ve been involved with, and I do believe someday I will end up in the industry as a career someday.
Q: Are you concerned the work associated with running the region will decrease the amount of track time you get?
A: Yes! I’m terrified about losing track time. Right now, when I come to Rocky Mountain weekends, I supersize into two and sometimes three classes. I basically spend the whole day in the car! However, I have made the decision to help others, and that’s what I plan to do. That said, I fully intend to race at least one class on race weekends. We have lots of great people working at NASA RM, who I believe will make it possible for me to race one class.
Q: Give me your vision for the Rocky Mountain Region. What do you want it to look like in five years?
A: It’s tough to separate my wildest dreams from a realistic vision! I prefer the fantasy vision so let’s talk about that. I see two hundred cars at each event, our professional teams thriving with large teams they support, drivers traveling together to national events and endurance races, a large HPDE and TT group having a great time learning about the beauty of driving fast, and families coming to the track and having a great time together. I want people’s highlight of the year to be their NASA weekends.
Q: How big a part was your family’s support in taking this on?
A: My family has been incredibly supportive. My wife Wendy deserves lots of thanks since this change requires her to take over many family duties that I once did. Our kids are quite excited about the program and plan to help out at race weekends. My brother Charley races with us as well, and he has always been supportive of all my racing endeavors. In our childhood, he was always the motivator of our dreams to be racecar drivers. I’m really quite amazed and happy that these dreams have come true.