Todd Owen Awarded SK Mod Victory At Stafford After Ronnie Williams Disqualification

Todd Owen 2015

Todd Owen (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

The struggles of the 2016 season for Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified driver Ronnie Williams took the worst turn of the year so far Friday.

What looked like the positive turnaround the team had been looking for all year turned sour in post-race inspection following the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford.

Williams, of Tolland, took the checkered flag on the track as the race winner.

But Williams’ car was found to be too low in post-race inspection and his team was stripped of the victory.

Tom Fox, Stafford Speedway director of racing operations and competition, confirmed to RaceDayCT that the decision to disqualify Williams was made.

Todd Owen of Somers, who finished second on the track, was deemed the winner of the event.

It was the first victory of the season for Owen. Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott was a career best second and Tom Bolles of Ellington third.

It was the sixth career SK Modified victory at Stafford for Owen and his first at the track since Sept. 14, 2012.

It proved a doubly-good evening for Owen, who oversees the car driven by Limited Late Model driver Bryan Narducci. The rookie from Colchester scored his first career victory Friday at Stafford.


  1. Good to see some new names up front ,not a great race but not a bad race either

  2. George rudinas says

    You wonder why you can’t get car counts or people in the stands I don’t even know this guy but reading the article if he made weight and left side percentage who cares if it s a quarter inch low total bull from management shamefull what do you think your at Daytona this guy is probably a everyday worker that puts everything into it and came and won the race just your typical polatic s

  3. They have rules for a reason you idiot….

  4. Im just glad to see rules enforced and not just letting who ever you want to pass.

  5. Taking a win away on the first infraction for being too low is a little harsh. Maybe a fine of $500 and probation would b fair. No one runs their car too low on purpose because they know it will be checked after the race.

  6. I’m confused. The past couple-few years they’ve been checking ride heights before the feature events instead of after…

  7. Car count was 18, a full field per national point standings. Fields on Loudon weekend are usually down. Every other race this year has been 22+, as I recall, with last week having 30 cars for the SK 5K (and keep in mind that there was 6 car incident last week, which kept the 94 from competing this week). Your whine about low car counts is a bit thin so far this year.

  8. You have to know they’re going to check ride heights before and after. Yes, the car passed prior but if your right at the minimum before you’re rolling the dice post race cause it’s going to settle. It’s too bad cause Ronnie and Stash have a great thing going but rules are rules. Congrats to Todd for a great run the whole feature.

  9. racer17768 says

    If you’re low you’re low, not sure what this discussion is about….if he had damage thats another thing, but a rules a rule

  10. I saw that race last night and it was one of the more exciting ones that I have seen. Ronnie drove one heck of a race! A shame that he loses the win. I agree that you have to enforce the rules but I also agree that it must have been a mistake. They had that car up at Thompson last Sat. and I wonder if they changed the setup for that track and then didn’t get the setup right for Stafford last night. I am sure that the crew is not happy today.

  11. Anyone know why the 13 started at the back?

  12. Jeff Williams says

    Disagree. You always push the envelope when setting up the car. Obviously there are other concerns with tires not coming up to size, something suspension-wise being bent, etc. Saying its a first infraction means nothing when it is the same rule for everyone.

  13. Everyone gets checked on the way out, only top 4 after.

  14. I was not there and I don’t have a dog in the fight but I heard from someone that was there that he was given an oportunity to add air and after doing so it was still way to low . Yes it sucks to lose that way but you have to know that’s the first thing they check ! Cumon stash WTF you been around long enough to know better .

  15. After the heat race the officials said on the radio that the #13 had an “unapproved tire” and would have to start at the tail end

  16. I was happy to see either of those guys win last night! I’m sure the 59 team will move forward and get another soon…

    As far as enforcing rules, SK Mods are the headline division, the most competitive weekly division at SMS, not a beginner division where “mistakes” can get by with warnings. Ride height is pretty straightforward, you either meet it or you don’t.

  17. Cup cars don’t get tossed for infractions, they get fines and loss of points. Something that gets checked before the race, tires grow so there is no intent to cheat. Something had to change, maybe the guy checking the height before didn’t do his job. I’m sure Stash is scratching his head

  18. He was not allowed to add air to tires , they checked pressure to make sure he didn’t have a tire going down, they let him take around concession stands once , they gave him every opportunity and still to low , see ya later rules are rules the other two made hieght ,4 th place car doesn’t go over scale or ride height check ,he waits on side then has to go to tech after top 3 car doesn’t make height or weight Rules are Rules

  19. heard that they didnt make ride height pre race and were told to fix, guess the team said tires will grow and they would be good without bringing the car up….rules are rules, don’t see the issue with the call

  20. ModFan Homtracks says

    First, Ronnie ran an incredible race. He ran from mid pack and caught the 81 who led the whole race. We were jumping in our seats, what a great run. The frame height being 1/8 of an inch too low is the rule, but is it the right call if he went out with his frame height fine before the race. I asked a crew member and they said his frame height was low for the heat. They adjusted it and it passed fine going out for the feature. It’s hard enough to win at Stafford and this 1/8 inch is not an advantage. There can be a lot of things that can happen going through the field like that which could cause that. Good luck the rest of the way kid, don’t let this get to you!
    Second, I know the 59 team runs a Rocco owned Troyer at Thompson, not the CD car they run at Stafford so this car would not have a Thompson set up as someone asked.
    The bottom line is that a rule is a rule. The 59 did run a great race and was the best car out there. Now the team has to figure out what happened and get that kid back to victory lane and avoid these technicalities. As a fan, I’d like to know what they found was the reason for the car to pass and then come in after the race 1/8 inch too low.

  21. ModFan Homtracks says

    One last thing, I was there in Watching tech and from earlier posts, the officials did not add air to the 59s tires. They checked air pressure and said he could have added air if his tires were under 15 pounds but they were exactly 15 lbs. he did drive around the concession stand once to help free up the car. They measured again with this pipe on a handle and it still was 1/8 inch off.
    He never got to the scales. Someone also said his crew was standing on his left Nerf bar for victory lane photos and that couldn’t have helped whatever was off.

  22. According to a track official the car didn’t pass ride height at any time and it was more then 1/8th I’d say nothing happened to the car other then them setting it up low

  23. If mod fan is correct then shame on the person that ignored the height gage before the race.

  24. To bad,but the right call,it fits or not and it didn’t fit, he’ll be back and hopefully it’s right

  25. ModFan Homtracks says

    Modfan, that is not correct. All the cars go over a ride height inspection Before they go out for the heats and Features. if they don’t pass the official would not let them go out on the track. You see a few cars a night go back to their pit for adjustments because of low tide height. The 59 passed pre race inspection. You either pass or not, and he did pre-race. I could clearly see post race the tool was just barely hitting the frame, 1/8 to 1/4 at the most was not clearing. I think the rule is 2 inches but nobody had a tape measure to say what the final frame height was. But again, no official would let him hit the track without passing the ride height pre race and he clearly did. Just a bad circumstance after a great win. That kid will be just fine. He’ll get a few more this year probably starting this week!

  26. ModFan Homtracks: When the cars dont pass the ride height check before the race they have the opportunity to circle the building, make an adjustment, then attempt a re-check. However, the track doesn’t deny cars from entering the track because of the failed ride height. From what I have gathered, they never passed the pre race ride height.

  27. If your dum enough to good out without making ride height, you got what you deserve ,but I don’t think you are allowed out if your low

  28. racer17768 says

    Modfan Hometrack; not true, the pre-race check is just a courtesy check for the teams. If you’re low the officials tell you and you and what you do from their is your call. But usually if you’re low before the race you’ll be low after.

  29. They told him he was low before both the heat and feature the response was oh the tire’s will grow. It didn’t scrape and fail it wasn’t even close

  30. ModFan Homtracks says

    Modfan and Joey . Don’t know where you get your info but their crew chief Stash told me the following: the pre race and pre heat check is not a courtesy, if you pass you race, if you don’t, you have to fix it or you don’t race. The 59 team did not pass the first check for the heat, they adjusted the shock, passed, then went out and raced the heat. For the feature, they passed again and raced and won. Stash said they set their ride height well above the 2″ minimum and was shocked to see this result. No measurement was taken with a tape to validate the findings. The measurement is with a handled tool. I just feel bad for the kid, coming from the mid pack and winning the race to this result.

  31. If Stash’s story is true, the low frame height on the left front did not give an advantage, a fine and point penalty would have fit the crime. If u set ur car up at the correct heights and they change during the race, corner weights and roll centers change so it is not a good thing

  32. At any race track if you do not pass ride height you dont get the win that’s that

  33. ModFan Homtracks: #59 driver’s Facebook post stated differently from the story you were told. Seems as if the world would never know the truth. I think we all can agree that isn’t what won the race. Some feel the penalty of DQ is too harsh and that will be an ongoing debate..

  34. U think that Owen being the person that sets up and maintains the Arute kids cars every week had anything to do with it? David Arute starts on the pole for just about every heat and feature,go figure,drops like a rock when the flag flies.Then there are the announcer make him soundb like superman on the track.Its funny as hell to listen too.David Arute this,David arute that.Paul Arute shot out of a cannon for 5th.only 7 cars.lmao..They have there own set of rules I am sure,

  35. Frame height rules on a mod are just outdated. It is 2 inches for gods sake. Want to run lower and drag your car feel free. With today’s hold down shocks and inconsistent tires why waste time with this. Yes it is a rule and if its enforced week in and week out so be it. I just think it is a rule that can be put away for the mods. (other divisions I do feel it belongs however) I could care less who go the DQ for this rule I would still feel this way.

  36. Turn1guy says

    Not trying to defend the Arute kids here but what makes you think they have their own set of rules? Have you seen anything to think this?

  37. Seeing how track management are the ones who said its only a courtesy I’d say what ever the 59 team tells you doesn’t matter. Rules are for everyone

  38. Drop like a rock - David Arute says

    Hi Kevin T,
    Thank you for noticing me starting on the pole for my first time in the 2016 season. It has been 2 weeks in a row that I started up front due to the wreck I was involved in a few weeks back and the handicapping that has been in place at the speedway for over 40 years. The highest I have started has been 2nd for 2 heat races of the 5 we have had this year.
    Also to just help you get your facts in line here, Todd Owen has nothing to do with my brothers car. I am fortunate that Todd lets me keep my car at his shop. My crew and I maintain it during the week and he helps us with any questions we may have.
    As for Dropping like a Rock, I have nothing for you. I am still learning about the Sk Light Modifieds. It was my 9th career start in a modified and each week I am gaining experience.
    -David Arute

  39. Being a racer and also failing ride height before, out of curiosity… are ALL the cars ride heights measured by the Same person in the SAME area on a consistent basis ? At some tracks we have raced at, different tech guys measure ride height every week ( sort of by committee ) We have found that some measure from different spots that were NOT level or had variations to the surface and texture of the ground, that when measured from a level/ smooth spot, yielded the correct ride height measurements, thus making the car legal.

  40. David. you should listen to the track announcers.That is where I received my info from.They have said that statement numerous times before.As for the drop like a rock,guess I should understand the learning curve,me bad.It can raise some concern with a win taken away and given to someone who has ties to track ownership,i just threw it out there,people can tqke it for what it is worth.Seems like I rattled someones cage.

  41. @Jay – When I was crewing, the procedure was that every car got a “courtesy” check before the heat at a designated pad on the way to the backstretch gate. It was done with a gauge not a ruler. If in violation, they had the opportunity to address it before the race. This was done heats and feature. After the feature, top 3 were checked at the scales, also with a gauge, not a ruler. Simple process, it either fit under the frame rail or it didn’t. Things may have changed, as it has been a few years, but I know that Stafford has been doing this for over 10 years, the same way, including giving the car a chance to drive around the concession stand before a second check. If it failed the second check, or if anyone touched the car between checks, automatic DQ. That I know for a fact, as it happened to the car that I was crewing on, and to several competitors during the time that I was on the crew.

  42. David.I am not by any means saying,or have any proof of foul play by anyone.Just saying it would be very easy for rules,or whatever to be overlooked by officals,or management of a car that is driven or owned by anyone that is connected to the track.I would hope that this what happens ,and I am SURE it does,I wish u the best of luck in your racing venture.

  43. Rob Wallace says

    For what it’s worth I do have to admit that during both the SK Lites and the limited late models there is a bias from the track announcers when it comes to both David and Paul Arute and it has been that way all season. A couple of weeks ago when David was in his wreck all we heard about was how hard he and his crew worked to get his car ready for the following Friday. Hey Stafford why not focus on something like the 44 lite getting involved in a wreck on Friday which David may have caused, working through the night and then driving it to a win on Saturday at Thompson? That’s a story.

  44. getserious says

    We really can’t hold anything against the Arute kids. They can’t do anything about the position they are in. However…. the announcers are making me sick. Every week, they mention Arute this, Arute that, no matter where they are running or what else is going on in the races. It truly is aggravating beyond belief to me. It definitely keeps some of my friends from attending as often as they otherwise would. Last week, ten laps in a row when the field hit turn three we had to hear wher Arute was. And he was running SEVENTH. Dodge and Buckler, Shut up for crying out loud!!

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