Dream Weaver: Ron Silk Takes New Team To Whelen Mod Tour Win At Speedbowl

Ron Silks celebrates victory in Saturday's Whelen Modified Tour New England Cycle Center 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

Ron Silk celebrates victory in Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour New England Cycle Center 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

WATERFORD – Days after the second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race of the season, team owner Danny Watts Jr. exclaimed that his team was going to win a race in 2016.

Despite having a former series champion in Ron Silk at the wheel of his car, many might have characterized Watts’ prediction as somewhat over exuberant.

After all, Watts had been a journeyman Modified driver for years and there were plenty of questions about just how prepared his team really was to contend full-time with the series in 2016.

Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl though, even Watts’ wildest dreams were blown away.

Silk, in his third Whelen Modified Tour event driving for Watts’ team, won the New England Cycle Center 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

“I never thought it could happen this quick,” Watts said moments after his first victory as a Whelen Modified Tour team owner. “I knew it was going to come but, but I didn’t know how soon it would come. You know how luck plays a part with a bunch of things. And we all know that I’ve had some bad luck. But this guy [Silk] just knows what he’s doing. I’ve got a crew that’s outstanding. They work hard. And I’ve got a guy that really knows how to take care of a racecar.”

Silk led 111 of 161 laps in recording his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory at the shoreline oval.

“They have really good stuff,” Silk said. “Danny’s not lacking anything when it comes to the car. The guys are working really hard. I think someone new driving it has got everyone pumped up and everyone is putting in a lot of effort. I thought we’d win a race this year for sure. Did I think we’d win the third one? Maybe not. I’m just really happy for those guys.”

It was the 10th career series victory for Silk, of Norwalk, who was the 2011 series champion. After parting ways with longtime team owner Ed Partridge after the 2014 season, Silk ran part-time on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2015. Saturday’s victory was Silk’s first since he was victorious at Bristol [Tenn.] Motor Speedway in 2012, snapping a 42-race winless streak.

“I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to get back,” Silk said. “I’ve been close a bunch of times since then. It was just, whatever reason it didn’t work out. It’s great to be back.”

Max Zachem of Preston had a career best second place and Jimmy Blewett of Howell, N.J. was third.

Silk started fifth on the field and was contending toward the front early on.

“We had a great car,” Silk said. “It wasn’t great when we got here, we worked on it a lot all day. The guys have just done a great job. This is a really fun group of guys to race with.”

Silk used the outside lane to go by Eric Goodale for the lead on lap 50 and trailed again only one time when Zachem briefly took the lead at the line on a lap 145 restart. .

“I’ve been making Danny spend a lot of money the last couple weeks,” Silk said. “I’m glad it paid off at least. … After a few laps [following restarts] the car was so good I could kind of just drive away and start pedaling a little bit.”

Said Blewett: “It just shows you the caliber of driver Ron is and how much of a seasoned veteran he is to be able to just get in a car and not have many laps behind the wheel and go out there – and I know he set that car up himself – and win that race here today.”

Zachem’s career best before Saturday was a fourth place at Waterford last year.

“It’s awesome, it’s coming home,” Zachem said. “… I’ve been coming here for a long long time. It was awesome to have a great Tour race here.”

Jeff Goodale (fourth) and Brendan Bock (sixth) also recorded career best finishes. Jamie Tomaino, making his record 600th career Whelen Modified Tour start, finished 10th.

Two-time reigning series champion Doug Coby came into the event with the points lead and left with it after an eighth place finish. Coby has 124 points, leading second place Timmy Solomito by eight points. Zachem is third in the standings with 109 points.


  1. RaceDayNH says

    I don’t think anyone would have predicted that top 10

  2. Oh, he set it all up and won the race by himself??? Is that how you think Blewett????

  3. The speedbowl is to the tour what big tracks like Daytona are to cup. Guys that you don’t normally see run up front at most tracks will do well there.

  4. Very glad to see a new team win and silk take a victory so early plus it won me 110 bucks so a great way to end it off all around

  5. SeekonkFan says

    I think Jimmy Blewett meant he used his skill and experience to come up with a set up for that car.
    Not surprising a driver has the final say in the set up.
    Yeah I think he did win the race by himself. From where I was sitting I could only see one person inside the car.

  6. Zachem is the real deal

  7. Good to see a new team win but I thought the 2 was suppose to win every race and lead every lap this year. What happened? Three races and three different winners. Silk has already equaled or bested the win total of the so called ,”super teams” that closed up shop last year. Hmmm…. Maybe the doom and gloom folks were wrong.

    Also, is there a final/updated entry list for Saturday’s show at Monadnock anywhere?

  8. Ilias tha Illest says

    Fantastic race to watch! Great battle up front all night, Nick Salva Lepage’d the back 1/3 of the field on the first lap, and Coby had the worst car he’s had in over a year. It was so enjoyable to be there to see him have to struggle to just finish top 10. Nice to see a mix of new faces at the front, especially some of the local guys like Zachem, Bock and Lutz. One of these years, Zachem will win at the Bowl on the tour.

  9. What about the rest of the show, did it rain out? Glad to hear that they ran the tour first, I think they should alway b the first or second in the schedule.

  10. They’ll never run the main event first if they don’t have to. Just not good for business. They sell more food and beer with more people in the stands. Even though the bowls nwaas has the best racing around, still quite a few people only watch the tour and then leave.

  11. Absolutely love that top ten, best thing that’s happened on tour in years. There’s probably a good story for each one of them. Silk and his new team and Max’s 2nd place finish are obvious ones, but I’ll comment on a couple others…
    * The Mystic Missile running well at the shoreline oval is no surprise, but it’s great to see the new team with Blewett have a nice run.
    * Rob Summers, a top 5? I’d be VERY hard pressed to recall when this happened last and it’s NOT for lack of talent. Thrilled to see this and really hope for more success here. I think Ron Yuhas is still involved with this team?.. if so, makes for an even better story!! great job!!!
    * The Bock kid, 6th?.. huh?
    * Matt Swasnson 7th from the 26th starting position? what a run!! In a Spafco chassis i think? which is also great for the tour. Does Jeff Goodale run one as well, either way, great finishes by both those guys.
    * Fitting and a great way to end the day for the Jet, with a top 10 in his 600th start, enough said.

  12. I said this before, and I’ll say it again. The speedbowl faithful will stay no matter what touring division you run first. Very people left after the tour race was done.

  13. just a fan says

    if jimmy really said that …those exact words and believed it …..then he should have took his millions from his grandfather his sponsor and gave it to silk to set up his cars so he could win !!!!! buddy …watts …donnie the tire guy they all were racing when jimmy was not even a seed yet ….he should behave like his brother …then maybe he could win a race too….jmo ….if he never said that …or was misunderstood i take all i said back ….

  14. Just a fan,
    I think what Jimmy Blewett was basically trying to say is that Ron Silk brings to that team not only the cache of having a seasoned championship driver behind the wheel, but also a guy that can be hands-on with the car – working with the team – both at and away from the track. I know he meant no disrespect to that team, and was only trying to make the point that guys like Silk bring a lot to a team like that. Even the team’s owner, Danny Watts Jr., said to me just a few weeks ago that one of the things he really appreciates about Silk is that he can communicate issues with the car and work directly with the team to find the right fixes to those issues much better than he ever could. Again, I don’t think Blewett meant any disrespect to the team, and he was only trying to state that Silk is not just a veteran driver, but also a guy that does more than just bring a helmet and drive the car.

  15. Great show last night. I wish the Bowl would add another WMT race to their future schedule. It’s always a good race. Plus they have the best weekly racing. The track size is perfect for good oval racing not to big and not to small. The place looks great with all of the work Bemer and his crew has done. Congrats to Ronnie Silk, Danny Watts and crew. Great work in such a short time for that team. Plus with the early wreck that took some cars out we didn’t have to watch certain cars get lapped all night.
    I thought a lot of people stayed until it started to rain.

  16. Fast Eddie says

    Mr. Beemer and crew – The track looks great!! Much better view of the action overall from the stands!
    They were saying over the P.A. that Nick Salva had a steering problem, which started the first accident. He looked like he pulled over in turn 3 on the parade lap; I thought he was going to the rear. A lot of the Riverhead guys were fast. Apparently the Speedbowl will be THE place for some great New England vs. Mid Atlantic (NY, NJ, & PA) battles.
    Seeing Silk win was not surprising. He drove the two Tri-Track races last year and fished first and second.
    If Thompson and Stafford can have 4 tour races, the Speedbowl should AT LEAST have two!!

  17. Ronnie is a champion he gives great feedback in a car he ran sk with his dad and won many cart ch ampionships.Jimmy meant no dissrespect to the crew he knows how hard they work.I wish some people could see how hard these crews work.Nascar is clueless perfect example park inspection trailer on other side of track and then rush teams through

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