Tag Archives: Ronnie Williams

Ronnie Williams Looks For Third Straight SK Modified Crown at Stafford

BY: Kyle Souza / PHOTO: Tom Morris/MyRaceNews

Ronnie Williams has become the top contender at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Williams earned his second consecutive SK Modified championship at Stafford last year, both driving for Adam Skowyra and the No. 50 team in Stafford’s premiere division. With the feat, he became just the sixth driver in Stafford’s history to win back-to-back titles in the division. He joins Jerry Pearl, Mike Christopher, Bob Potter, Ted Christopher, and Rowan Pennink in the list. No drivers have won three straight.

“It’s definitely a tough division, you have guys that have been racing since I was born, I’ve been watching them as I have been growing up,” Williams said. “Keith Rocco, Eric Berndt… then you have some new guys like Bryan Narducci, Teddy Hodgdon, Mikey Flynn coming in this year… it’s a division I always wanted to be competitive in, but I never thought I would race in it. To be back-to-back champion, it’s a cool feeling. But we’re looking for the next one now.”

A former winner in Stafford’s SK Light Modified division, Williams started his winning tenure in the premier class in the summer of 2014, and scored seven more victories before the opportunity with Skowyra was real. Since their first race together, the combination has won nine times in SK Modified competition.

“It was not really an opportunity I thought I would get,” Williams said. “We had our family car, and when you run a family car, I don’t think people really think you are looking for an opportunity. The opportunity came around Thanksgiving of 2017 and we sat down as a family and figured out what would be in the best interest of us… and it’s been success ever since. We have two SK 5K races and we’ve gone back-to-back for the championship. It’s just a good combination with a great group of guys. We are looking forward to going back to the race track and knowing every time we go there we can win the race.”

Last year’s battle went down to the final lap. Literally.

Todd Owen, who had won three of his own races entering the NAPA Fall Final, was at the front of the field for nearly the entire 40-lap distance in the season-finale. Owen would take the checkered flag — adding a fourth win — but the attention quickly turned to Williams, who would need to finish fourth or better to tie Owen, and win via a tiebreaker.

He finished fourth. No one could have imagined the championship battle would end with a tie after 20 races in Connecticut.

“It was one of the more fun and most stressful days,” Williams said. “We were having a lot of success in the middle of the year and from July on I don’t think we finished outside the top six, it was an impressive run we had. Todd was strong all year, only had that one wreck… coming down to the final laps, it was a stressful weekend and a stressful race. Nothing seemed to be going our way that race, but we were able to get that tiebreaker.”

As Williams looks to become champion for a third-straight year, his mindset continues to be about giving back to the team members who work so hard for him in the shop.

“The wins and championships are great for me, but I do it for the guys that work on the car every week. I’m at the shop on Tuesday’s with them — but they put their life and soul into it — it means more than just a championship,” Williams said. “To be able to do it for them, it was emotional. Being back-to-back at Stafford, there aren’t many people that can say that. It’s a cool feat, and something we want to keep doing. We don’t want to get off the wave.”

Williams is also planning to compete part-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and full-time on the Tri Track Open Modified Series once the 2020 season begins.

Stafford’s season is tentatively scheduled to begin with a NASCAR special on Friday, May 22, though that date is fluid due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stafford Speedway SK Modified® Title Race Comes Down to Final 2 Races

Tom Morris/Myracenews photos

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Heading into the final 2 races of the 2019 SK Modified® season at Stafford Speedway, defending track champion Ronnie Williams holds an 8-point lead over Todd Owen, a 14 point lead over Keith Rocco and a 34 point lead over Michael Gervais, Jr.  The tight points race is reminiscent of the 2017 and 2015 seasons. In 2017 Keith Rocco came from 20 points back over the final 2 races to claim the title over Chase Dowling while in 2015 Rowan Pennink  outlasted current NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Ryan Preece in a tight race for the title.

The 2019 season kicked off with Rocco winning the first race of 2019 but a DNF and a 25th place finish in the second race of the year left Rocco in hole that he is still trying to dig out of.  Gervais took over the points lead after that second race and he held the lead until June 21 when Owen took over the point lead.  Owen led the points from June 21 through August 9, when a first lap wreck combined with a Williams win, erased Owen’s 42 point advantage and left the two drivers tied for the lead in the standings.  Williams and Rocco have each won twice in the four SK Modified® races since August 9th, setting up a 2-race sprint to the finish line to see who will become the 2019 SK Modified® champion.

“We started off kind of slow and it was right around the midpoint of the season that we got back into our groove and we’ve been real consistent and got some wins,” said Williams, the driver of the #50 Les’s Auto Center Ford.  “I always knew if we could be consistent and get some wins that we’d at least be in the hunt for another championship.  I think we’re in a good spot right now and of course last year was better since we had a 66-point lead.  It should be a nice tight battle with Keith [Rocco] and [Todd] Owen.  We’re not going to change anything or go into the last 2 races with a different mindset than we’ve done all season long.  We have to compete and the rest will take care of itself.  Anything can happen in these last 2 races.  It’s great to be in front like we are now but we all know that just one mistake could cost us the championship and it’s the same for the other guys.”

“I’m going do what I’ve been doing all year long and try to win the last two races and hope for the best,” said Owen, driver of the #81 Cooker Construction Chevrolet.  “No matter the outcome, we’ve had an awesome year.  It’s pretty crazy that top-3 in the SK Modified® points standings are all in the top-10 in the national points, so we’re all having awesome seasons.”

“DNF’s have killed us this year,” said Rocco, driver of the #88 Wheelers Auto Chevrolet.  “We won the first race and then in the second race we got caught up in a wreck and were one of the first cars out of the race that night.  We’ve been playing catch-up all year long and the last time we got close to the lead we ended up in a wreck again, so it’s been that kind of year.  We have a fast car and we’re looking to win the last couple races.  The thing we have going for us is that we have nothing to lose and the other guys do.  There’s nothing left on the table, it’s all going to be hanging out these last 2 races.”

The dark horse in the SK Modified® championship race would be Gervais.  The driver of the #33 Gervais Brothers Roofing Chevrolet won the 2009 SK Light championship at Stafford without winning a race that season and although he is 34 points or 17 positions on the track behind the leader that deficit can be erased in one night.

“Our plan is to try to finish up front these last 2 races,” said Gervais.  “We’ve had a really good car the last couple of weeks so we want to continue what we’ve been doing.  We started off the year really good with a couple of second place finishes and were sitting up front for a while, but some of the other guys were just a little bit better than we were and that’s how the lead slipped away from us.  We’ve been able to stay right there with those guys all season so it’s been an awesome year for sure.  I’ve never won a Spring Sizzler or Fall Final race so I’d love to win the Fall Final this season but we’d definitely take a win this Friday night as well.  We know we can win a championship without winning a race and anything can happen in these last 2 races.  Either way we’re all very happy with what we’ve accomplished this season.”

The race for the SK Modified® championship resumes this Friday, September 13 as part of First Responder Night at Stafford.  All first responders with proper I.D. will get a general admission ticket for only $10.  Regular tickets are priced at $20 for Adult General Admission, $5 for kids 6-14 and kids 5 & under are free.  Reserved seating is $23 for all ages. 

The SK Modified® champion will be determined at the season ending NAPA Fall Final on September 28-29.  Tickets for the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $45.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday.  Discount tickets for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend are available at your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store.  The NAPA tickets include general admission for both days along with a lunch buffet on Sunday, all for only $38 per person.  For a list of participating NAPA Stores, please click the PARTICIPATING NAPA STORES link found at the top of the www.staffordspeedway.com homepage.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. 

For more information, visit StaffordSpeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.