Mourning The Loss Of Stafford Speedway Fixture, And Friend, Jack Williams

Jack Williams in turn one at Stafford Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon

The welcome was always the same. The smile, the outstretched hand and the greeting.

“Hey kid, how’s it going?”

In August I will turn 45 years old. That number hardly mattered to Jack Williams.

Since 1995, when I first started going to Stafford Motor Speedway, then as a staff writer for the Hartford Courant, whenever I saw Jack that was his greeting.

“Hey kid, how’s it going?”

Understandably so, I was always “Kid” to him.

Jack was a fixture for decades as a firefighter at Stafford Motor Speedway. And Jack hardly just blended into the crowd of those who help make everything go for racing events at Stafford. Jack was known by seemingly anyone who was at the track regularly.

Turn one gate, there was Jack. For decades he was a fixture of the scenery in turn one at Stafford Motor Speedway. Like a monument, but with that always jubilant personality and a laugh that echoed around him seemingly amplified.

That personality will be painfully missed when the racing season kicks off at Stafford Motor Speedway late next month. Williams, 74, passed away unexpectedly Thursday in Stafford.

Well before I ever set foot inside the gates at Stafford Motor Speedway I knew Jack Williams. I met Jack’s son Andrew as a senior in high school. Let’s just say the good portions of many of my weekends for the bulk of my 20’s were spent at Jack’s house with Andrew and close friends. Before I knew Jack as a Stafford Motor Speedway firefighter I knew him as one of the coolest dad’s around these parts.

Some of my best memories around some of my closest friends were spent in Jack’s house. Not afraid to say there’s quite a few foggy memories in that mix too. And there was always Jack, getting a good chuckle out of the boys crashing all over his place on weekends or weeknights or whenever.

On a weekly basis for more than two decades I would visit Jack at the track. Sometimes it was a quick hello, other times it was a short chat and sometimes it was long conversations. And typically the talks weren’t about racing but rather, family, life or most often football and his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. It won’t seem right not seeing him there. It will never seem right again.

Williams celebrated his 50th year working as a firefighter at Stafford Speedway in 2015. In October 2015 he said he had no plans on leaving the track anytime soon.

“I don’t think about leaving here ever,” Williams said then. “I love doing this. I get withdrawals when the season is over.”

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Comments

  1. Going to miss ya

  2. MARK STANTON says:

    Worked with Jack almost 10 years…If you do what you like, right to the end, you’ve lived well. Prayers to his family.

  3. Frankie tree says:

    God Bless you and your family.

  4. Rick and Deb Herdendorf says:

    Jack Williams was a wonderful man is going to be miss race 🏁 with the angels
    Thoughts and prayers from Florida 👼🏻

  5. Sharpie Fan says:

    Will miss seeing him at the turn one gate every week.

    :'(

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