Ronnie Williams Scores Second Career SK Modified Victory At Stafford Speedway

Ronnie Williams

Ronnie Williams

STAFFORD – For years Ronnie Williams was a standout youth hockey player.

Williams shined as a centerman, anchoring the offense. But on Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway the Tolland 18-year old had to play some stout defense to get the job done.

Williams held off some of Stafford Speedway’s heaviest hitters in rolling to victory in the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

It was the second victory in the division for Williams, who is in his second season running an SK Modified at the track.

Keith Rocco of Wallingford was second and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. third.

Williams bounced back from being involved in a first event wreck on Sunday at the NAPA Spring Sizzler.

“Our team worked really hard over the week,” Williams said. “We had to get the front clip. This car was completely apart. … We got it done in 28 hours. It feels pretty good. I’m glad I can run up front with [the frontrunners]. We had a good car. [Crew chief Stash Butova] is the miracle man. We call him The Magician. This is just awesome.”

After starting on the pole, Williams spent the first half of the race in a dogged battle for the top spot with Eric Berndt.

Berndt moved to second on the start and immediately went to work on Williams at the front. On lap two Berndt took over the top spot, but on lap four Williams went back to the front of the field.

The two continued the side-by-side battling, with Berndt moving back to the lead following a lap 12 restart. On lap 14 Williams used a diving move to get under Berndt in turn four. The two raced side-by-side for the next lap before Williams regained the top spot on lap 17. Two laps later Pennink went by Berndt for second.

From lap 21 until lap 31, Pennink hounded the back bumper of Williams into every corner, but Williams was able to drive off each corner and pull away from Pennink, the winner of the season’s opening SK Modified feature event at Stafford on April 26.

Rocco got under Berndt for third on lap 32. By the time Rocco got by Pennink for second on lap 37, Williams had opened a hefty amount of breathing room to run unchallenged to the checkered.

“The car just took a few laps to get rolling after we went back to green from all the restarts,” Rocco said. “The long runs really helped us. I needed a few more laps. I definitely had something for Ronnie.”

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  1. Great race tonite, only problem is the program sucked. Legends are horrible on that little track, 17 late models, 13 limited late models, why two divisions? my suggestion is drop the legends, and get rid of limited late models that way the car count of the late models goes up and add the limited purse to the late model purse.

  2. Steve – I agree, never understood why the need for the two divisions. Does Staffords Late Model rules differ much from Waterford/Thompson? Waterford/Thompson rules seem more in line with ACT type cars

  3. DARE stocks had 11 cars. Stafford displays there purse info on their website. It proves they care about just modifieds. Nothing else. Example: It pays $130 just to start the modified feature. The winner of the DARE stock races gets $125, Legends winner gets $100. Late Model purse is half of the modified purse. If they actually paid good money to the supporting divisions there’d be more cars and a better show.

  4. Ya — The purse. in 1978 the first place driver received $2500 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the purse today is a DISGRACE everywhere! MORE MONEY MORE CARS!

  5. Chris, yes the rules are different then the other tracks… Shows how bright the management is at stafford.

  6. Sorry at the $2500 was at the Danbury racearena

  7. Pretty hard to compare dare stocks to modifieds Jason.

  8. I just don’t think a track needs more than 4 weekly divisions. I moved away from New England for a while and, when I came back, there had been an explosion of divisions — divisions with single car counts. Especially at Thompson, that just sucked. They wised up and pared the program down. I went to Beech Ridge today to see PASS. I considered going to Monadnock, too, because I really like the Modified Racing Series. But, damn, NINE divisions at Monadnock today? No thanks.

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