Capitalizer: Ronnie Williams Scores First Career SK Modified Win At Stafford Speedway

Ronnie Williams

Ronnie Williams

STAFFORD – After being involved in a late race wreck while racing for the lead on July 11 at Stafford Motor Speedway, Ronnie Williams said he needed to change his luck.

“I changed up some things,” Williams said. “I’m very superstitious. I changed my shirt, did a few different things. I just needed some luck. I definitely got some luck.”

The fireworks went off in front of him with two of the top drivers at the track Friday and Williams was in the perfect position to capitalize.

After Ryan Preece was black flagged for an accident with Keith Rocco in a battle for the lead, Williams took over the top spot and then held off Sean Foster over the final three laps to win his first career SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

And while Williams, a 17-year old division rookie from Tolland, celebrated, Rocco and Preece were left fuming in the pits.

Foster, of Ellington, was second and Ted Christopher of Plainville third.

Rocco went to the lead past Williams on lap six. Preece was up to second not long after, setting up an epic battle at the front for the next 26 laps.

Rocco and Preece traded the lead six times from lap 12 to lap 38, running side-by-side at the front for most of that stretch, with Rocco riding the outside lane much of the time.

But the battle ended ugly on lap 38 when Rocco, leading, got tapped by Preece coming off turn two. Rocco ended up going head-on into the backstretch wall and Preece was black-flagged for over aggressive driving.

“We ran what, 20, 30 laps side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel and never touched a wheel? Rocco said. “Great racing. And I ran on the top for whatever, 20 laps. I was happy, we ran clean. I got by him and went to the bottom and gave him the top and I ended up in the fence.

“I gave him the whole outside. I couldn’t have given him any more racetrack. He ran on the bottom for 20 laps, that was his turn to run up top. It sucks because it would have been in the record books probably the longest anybody has run side-by-side like that. It was like I was driving down the highway next to someone. Never once did I worry about him running me up, never once did I worry about him hitting me. I was having an absolute blast and it’s shame it had to end like that.”

Preece immediately paid a visit to race director Tom Fox following the event to argue the call to put him to the rear of the field after the incident.

“It’s a tough job, but this is my life and this is how I make my money,” Preece said. “We raced side-by-side for 20 laps, he wanted to protect the bottom out there. I would have done the same thing. But when you get off the throttle and you hold it to the bottom and the other guy is going to the top, I don’t know what to say. Going off the corner, I’m full throttle, so is he. He gets off the gas or whatever, I don’t know.”

Williams was just happy to be ready when things went bad in front of him.

“I was just waiting for something to happen,” Williams said. “I thought something would. I was trying to save a little bit. And it definitely worked out in my favor.”

It was the second consecutive podium for Foster, who finished third on July 11. Foster led Williams at the line on the lap 38 restart, but lost the lead the next lap. He had a run to the outside of Foster on the last lap, but came up short by half a car-length.

“This is going to be a streak of things to come,” Foster said. “I really have got to give a hat’s off to Ronnie Williams. He did a wicked awesome job. We didn’t even touch once. I wish I could have had it over. I had a lot of options on the last turn. When I got on the gas it was just a little bit less than I was hoping it would have.”


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  1. Flabbergasted says

    “This is how I make my money” does he rob his parents or his sponsors? That’s a very arrogant comment for a nascar next role model. I wonder if his parents will ground him from video games this week. One thing is for sure, that is a less than professional comment from a temper tantrum throwing toddler, who ran across the track to tell the tower how they wronged him.

  2. i will preface this with a yes, I am a Rocco fan, but that was the best SK race i have seen at Stafford in a long, long time – especially since Williams and Foster ran side by side the final circuits after the Rocco-Preece fireworks went off – after they ran side by side literally for 20+ laps!

  3. eddieflemkefan says

    Hey wait just a minute Preece is a clean driver he doesn’t drive like that……..or at least that what he says after he spins or wreaks somebody. Sorry Ryan your nowhere near as good or as clean a driver as Keith and you never will be. Just my opinion !

  4. It was a great race the with the 88 running the outside for over 20 laps. When it was down to 5 to go and the 88 was on the bottom, why didn’t the 2 car go up to the top? Instead he drove right through the leader on the bottom. Great show by NASCAR’s next superstar.

    I really didn’t want to see TC win another title, but I hope the 2 car gets fenced every time the 88 is near him for the rest of the year! He’s got it coming. I did like the part where a young lady gave Preece a piece of her mind in the stands after he went to the tower to cry to the officials. I thought he was going to start sobbing.

  5. I agree with Ralph, I always root for Woody or Rocco, but I don’t want to see the 2 win another race yet alone a championship. Go TC!

    Best SK race I have seen this year, a shame it had to end like that. However, Tom Fox’s call was the right one, Preece clearly hit Rocco in the right rear and turned him into the fence.

  6. I’ve never been much of a Rocco fan…..not that I never thought he wasn’t a hell of a driver, just never had the chance to talk to him and get to know him like many of the other drivers I root for, but I am beyond impressed with Rocco after last night. First, INCREDIBLE driving…hanging on the outside for over 20 laps, never once crowding or touching Preece….though Preece did run him up the track a few times and got warned by the flagman for several laps. Then Rocco kept his cool after he was dumped which is NOT an easy thing to do lol. I like how he stood up to Preece by riding around inches from him under caution for several laps……which we all know was getting into Preece’s head (which isn’t easy as big as it is these days) but never retaliated knowing that if he did under caution it would cost him NASCAR points. Then he goes out and wins the MRS race…….outstanding! Hats off to you keith! And BTW…….wasn’t it Preece who was crying just last weekend at NH about being a “clean” driver and everyone else was just a bunch of meanies??? That was an embarrassing display last night Ryan….

  7. I dunno because I wasnt there this week but based on the video it didn’t look intentional. Maybe I miss something in the previous laps that would tell me otherwise. I’m a rocco fan so don’t think I’m biased on the issue, it just looks to me that he closed really quickly, quicker than he should have been able to if they both were hard on the throttle coming if the corner like usual. It really sucks for Keith cause he’s been horrible all year and had run two really good races in a row only to be turned around by someone else coming to the end of the race.

  8. I don’t care either way, but it looks on the video that the 88 either got a bit loose or lost momentum in front of the 2…

  9. Looking at the video, you can see Preece is a little faster than the 88 from the center off in both turns 2 and 4 for the previous 2 laps before the contact. Preece looks like he “misjudged” it finally.

    I did think Tom Fox made the right call though sending the 2 to the back.

    Hats off to Ronnie Williams too…on the win AND avoiding hitting the 88! Big time move there to miss Keith. Would love to have seen an in car camera or GoPro of the 88 coming across his front!

  10. Dan Butler, you finally see what I have been trying to tell you…

  11. and what is that Dingus? I already know Rocco is a hell of a driver and Preece is cocky…

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