On Track: Ronnie Williams Grabs Second Consecutive SK Mod Win At Stafford Speedway

Ronnie Williams

Ronnie Williams

STAFFORD – A week ago at Stafford Motor Speedway Ronnie Williams drove under the checkered flag in second place on the track during the SK Modified feature.

He was awarded the win in the race after Ryan Preece was penalized for aggressive driving against Rowan Pennink on the final lap.

Friday there were no questions at the end for Williams.

Williams, of Tolland, took the checkered flag out front, holding off Pennink, to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at Stafford.

“We had a bad few weeks there and getting that win [last week] meant a lot,” Williams said. “I think it almost boosted us to this win. It was a great momentum and a great confidence booster for me and my team.”

Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was second and Ryan Preece of Berlin third.

It was the fourth victory of the season for Williams. The 18-year old is in his second season competing in the SK Modified division at Stafford. Despite getting one win as a rookie in 2014, Williams was not expecting to gather the win total he’s amassed this season.

“Competing with the top guys, maybe, maybe not,” Williams said. “Maybe not getting the wins with them, but definitely being up there. But to beat these guys, like Pennink and Preece and [Keith] Rocco and [Ted] Christopher and all of them, it’s definitely something. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and watching these guys as I grew up.”

Pennink went by Eric Berndt for the lead on lap six, with Williams following soon after to second place. After a side-by-side battle out front for the lead, Williams cleared Pennink to take the top spot for good out of turn two on lap 24.

Pennink stalked all over Williams over the closing laps but couldn’t find a way back to the front.

“I wasn’t trying to look in the mirror,” Williams said. “I’m a guy that does that a lot so I was trying not to because I knew it was going to mess me up if I did. I just tried driving my line. … I think the only reason he would have gotten by me is if I made a mistake. I definitely knew he was there, but I wasn’t trying to think he was there.”

Rookie Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott had a career best fourth place finish.


  1. Another disappointing finish for TC. Time to buy a new car?

  2. 16 sk’s – 12 late models. I guess either less scheduled races or more rainouts is the answer.

  3. ModFan Home Tracks says

    It is true. All the rain outs last year made for more cars and some great racing and finishes. But if you look at it this year, there are approximately 12 core cars that show up every week and the other 6 can be one of any 28 cars. However, the top guys that always put on “the show” are there and they don’t disappoint. This week, the Williams kid took the lead with 14 to go and held off 2 of the best, the 99 and 6, to make it 2 in a row and 4 for the season. That was some great racing and sometimes quality beats quantity.
    Someone should give the 59 a tour ride. He is the real deal.

  4. wow that means between thompson and stafford there was a total of 30 sk cars or about that many. lets see what waterford has sat. night my guess is waterford will beat them both.

  5. Congratulations to Ronnie, and on the subject lower and lower car counts- there’s only so many people out there willing and able to commit the time and resources necessary to come racing every week.
    When a track (any track) has five, six, EIGHT different classes it only spreads that pool thinner through each division. That ultimately leads to some kinda boring races and nights altogether.
    I wish all of CTs tracks will eventually understand that.

  6. IMO………stop running the legends every week, they should be on Monday nights with the go karts, maybe have them on special occasions. Dare Stocks……..I don’t know, the car counts are terrible but the racing isn’t bad. Combine the limited late models and late models…….seriously what is the point having two divisions virtually identical….both with poor car counts.

    That would be 3 divisions each week…………have a bit of an intermission instead of just rushing the next race out as the other is finishing. Give fans a chance to walk the midway and stretch their legs without missing a race in doing so

  7. The July 31 race was awesome. Congrats to Williams. Quite the talented young man. And congrats too to Mike Christopher Jr. He really drove well as many knew he would with more experience. He was fun to watch beating many of the veteran drivers. On the car counts: Thank you to all the team owners and drivers who make it to the CT tracks to race on ANY night. Many are make huge sacrifices each and every time they show up to run. Just wanted to let you know that it’s appreciated by the fans.

  8. Youhavenoidea says

    Rafter tc just is having bad luck and with ten cars I doubt he needs to buy another car lol as for the car counts rain is. A huge factor bc of money , no rain more money and it gets tougher to run and congrats to Ronnie Williams on his win and little mc drove like the old man Friday night and showed them he will be a force to reckon with in the near future for many years to come!

  9. You have to think alot of the reason for the low counts, especially in the SKs is because these guys have raced 15 times in a row and budgets are getting stretched pretty thin.

  10. According to Ben Dodge on the Stafford PA system, Bear has replaced Bob Fill as TC’s Crew Chief at Stafford. I believe he’s also Crew Chief for Prestige/TC at the Speedbowl. Does Bear help Mike Christopher, Jr., too?

  11. Youhavenoidea says

    No Mike Christopher jrs car is setup by the one and only mike Christopher sr.

  12. I see that a member of Mike, Jr’s crew is referred to as “the Bear” on Jr’s Facebook page. Is it the same guy who’s now helping TC?

  13. Here’s a question for everyone complaining about 16-18 cars at Stafford. How many of you actually WATCH the last 4-6 cars in the race? If the racing is good, how is more cars automatically better? Now, don’t get me wrong, I too am worried about the state of racing and how expensive it is to run, but really? It really isn’t the track that is the issue, any more than it is the Track that is the issue anywhere else. car counts are down because expenses are sky high.

  14. Who would have ever thought car counts at Stafford could get this low, and across all divisions to boot? I thought there might even be an increase I car counts this year with Thompson out of the weekly picture. I am dating myself, but 16 cars was a qualifying heat at some tracks when I started going to the races. Anyone remember when heat races and consi’s were often better than the feature because drivers actually had to qualify for the main? That was entertainment and worth the price of a ticket. Racing is after all entertainment and people are willing to pay to be entertained. See all those empty seats in the stands? Take it from a fan. Its because the on-track product isn’t all that entertaining anymore. Car owners have been slowly pricing themselves and the tracks they raced on out of business since the first Chassis car rolled off a trailer at Stafford in the early 70’s. So, Mr. or Ms. Car Owner, tell me why people who tow to local tracks and race as a hobby need rigs that cost 10’s of thousands and maybe more when most of them tow from less than an hour away? Tell me why you can’t run harder tire compounds and get more races out of one set ? Tell me why you have to have such expensive motors ? Tell me why you can’t build an open wheel car with a factory front clip that you can still get in a junk yard? Nobody has to build anything anymore as long as they can afford to pay someone else to do it, and that has been killing local racing for a long time, and painful to watch. As a fan in the stands I can’t much tell if you are running 15 seconds per lap or 25 and I don’t care if I’m watching a full field , good competition and close racing. That model of affordable competition is what started SK’s in the first place. How did it go so wrong? Keep doing what you are doing, Mr. and Ms. Track Owner, and you’ll end up with 10 divisions with 10 cars each and nobody watching except the people in the pits because the business model now is – if we can’t get ’em in the front gate we have to get ’em in the back. It’s a business model that cannot sustain itself for much longer because no matter how many divisions you add, the costs to race sooner or later escalate out of control. Disagree ? Think about the Enduros’ of the late 80’s – early 90’s I loved the Enduro’s and raced in may of them, 100 or more cars, standing room crowds and even those cars out priced themselves. Think about the first Sizzler at Stafford with over 100 cars in the pits and only modifieds in competition. This year there probably weren’t as many cars in total for all divisions. Last year Thompson threw in the towel and went in an entirely new direction, and we almost lost the Speedbowl. Every year just seems to see less racing than the last. Time to take a serious look at the product on the track and hit the re-set button before it’s too late in this fan’s opinion. It is in the fans, the promoters, the sponsors and the racers best interests to do so before your favorite track becomes another shopping mall or condo complex.

  15. Hey Ed P, just an FYI the world has also changed alot since the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Pretty hard to just go to a junkyard for parts these days. Not sure what you expect the tracks or car owners to do here…The world has changed, we just have to make sure racing keeps up with the change!

  16. Have to say, the car counts bother me, too. I was really happy to see 30+ cars show up at Saturday’s MRS race at Beech Ridge. At least ten were cars that had a shot at the win. And at Oxford on Sunday, there were 40 cars for the PASS race.

    Last week at Thompson, disappointing car counts. I get the argument that it’s quality over quantity… but, at a track the size of Thompson, short fields just don’t look right.

    I’ve been glad to see Thompson reduce the number of divisions over the past couple years. I tend to think that fewer divisions means bigger fields, which just looks healthier. Unfortunately, fewer divisions hasn’t translated to larger car counts for Thompson. But I blame that on the reduced schedule, and the fact that they race in the middle of the week. How many local racers don’t go to Thompson bc they can’t get off work? I have a hunch the oval is going to be down to two or three events per year very, very soon.

    I’d like to see Stafford consolidate to no more than 4 divisions: SKs, SK lights, Late Models and a Street Stock class. And how about synching the Late Models up to the ACT rules, like Waterford and Thompson?

    I think Monadnock is a great place to watch a race, but they’ve got something like 7 weekly divisions. It’s just too much.

    I agree with the idea that local tracks need to change if they’re going to survive. Beech Ridge is my model for a successful track. The have a pair of announcers who are high energy, and who know something about every single driver in all 3 weekly divisions. They use music (mostly rock, not country) REALLY well… it adds to the atmosphere. They stress that it’s FAMILY entertainment. They know they’re putting on a SHOW. And the stands are filled with people of all ages.

  17. I gave up on going to Thompson last season and this year it appears as though I have given up on Stafford. In the recent past, I was a season ticket holder to Stafford and hardly ever missed a race at Thompson. The entertainment received wasnt worth the price to get in anymore. The main reasons are length of show, price, car counts and predictability. The races aren’t entertaining with half a field of cars and the same handful of cars winning all the races.

    Thompson just out priced me with their shows. They only run 7 shows and the majority of them are priced at 40 or more. The few weekly shows that are around 20 dollars are on Wednesday nights and are not supported with great car counts which on a track that size looks bad. Thompson seems to have made the road course more of a priority over the oval race track. I am not much of a road racing fan.

    Stafford kept adding divisions to their weekly show making their show too long and not very entertaining with low car counts . They added the limited late models, SK Lights and legends, which routinely ran before the main division of SK’s most nights I went to the races. In my opinion the SK’s are the only division worth watching there and now they are suffering from lower car counts. The last event I attended (SK5K) they dragged out the show so much I decided I have had enough, it just isnt worth going anymore. The racing was great in the sks that night but I think I got home around 12.45 and there was absolutely no need for it to be that late.

    I am a race fan, so I have been attending Seekonk on a semi regular basis. They charge $14 for a 4 division show and do not increase the price if they add laps to a regular division. The show starts at 6pm and is often over by 9.30 most nights. The car counts are decent with 15-22 in each division but on a smaller track they tend to stay bunched up and the racing is pretty good. The weekly divisions (pro stocks, Late Models, Street stocks and Trucks) have multiple drivers capable of winning on any given night. The only downside, there are no modifieds but then again there aren’t many modifieds at Thompson and Stafford these days.

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