Bumpy Ride: Ronnie Williams Uses Last Lap Pass Of Keith Rocco To Get First Thompson SK Mod Win

Ronnie Williams celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – The bump and run. Across the realm of short track racing it’s a well known maneuver when it comes to last lap strategy. 

For Ronnie Williams the bump and run took on a new title Sunday at Thompson Speedway. Call it the rock and roll. 

Williams gave Keith Rocco a rocking shot into turn three on the final lap and then rolled to the checkered flag to win the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway. 

It was the first career SK Modified victory at Thompson for Williams, the reigning SK Modified champion at Stafford. 

“Wins are so hard to come by in the [SK Modifieds] and I’ve been racing here for three years and still hadn’t gotten one,” said Williams, of Tolland. “… You want to do the guys proud. They work so hard in the shop every week to give me an awesome race car. It’s my turn to come out here and do my job and get the victory for them.” 

Rocco, of Wallingford, ended up second in what turned out to be a side-by-side duel to the checkered. Tim Jordan of Plainville was third. 

The duel between Williams and Rocco likely reignites a rivalry that got heated for the two last year at Stafford. 

“We had our battles last year and I thought we put all that behind us but apparently it’s starting all over again and that’s how he’s going to set the tone,” Rocco said. 

Said Williams: “It’s not like it’s the first time someone has ever bumped a guy to win a race here. I’m sure he’s done it many times. We were going for the win. I’m not here to make friends.” 

Williams went past Mike Christopher Jr. for the lead on lap 19 with Jordan following to second and Rocco to third. 

On lap 24 Rocco tried to make an inside move into turn three but the door wasn’t open to advance. Coming off of turn four Rocco slid up into Christopher coming off the corner, putting Christopher into the wall and ending his day. Rocco was black flagged for the incident, but with only eight of the original 22 starters still on track, his ride back to the front was nearly immediate on the ensuing restart. 

On lap 25 Jordan tried to make a move for the lead in turn one but Williams staved off the shot and Rocco took advantage of the slowing Jordan to move to second. 

Three laps later Rocco used a diving move to get by Williams into turn one, but Williams retaliated heading back into turn three on the same lap and regained the top spot. One lap later it was Rocco getting under Williams through turns one and two and coming off the corner with the lead once again. 

Williams debated Rocco’s description of the lap 29 pass for the lead in turn two as being clean. 

“He dove it in there, I backed out,” Williams said. “Could I have done a cross-over move? That’s a move he wants to call clean, yeah, it is because I let up. He wants to let me slide over next I drive it in there it will be clean. He’s done it to me here before.” 

On the final lap Williams lined up Rocco heading into turn three and gave him a hard shot to the bumper. The power move sent Rocco up the banking through turns three and four. Williams powered low off the corner and won the drag race to the checkered flag. 

“If I’m in that same position next week, you think he just lets me go and lets me win?” Williams said. “No.” 

Rocco said he was not expecting the last lap bump by Williams to move him up. 

“Every move I made tonight was clean,” Rocco said. “Whatever happened with [Mike Christopher Jr.], he stuck his nose on my right rear coming off of [turn] four and the whole closed up and my spotter couldn’t even react fast enough. … I felt like we ran everybody with respect and we ran a good clean race. Apparently we’re going to have change the way we run.” 

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  1. Big T fan says

    Williams could perhaps be the filthiest, dirtiest, door slamming, bumper using driver in the long history of the Thompson Speedway. If Tim Jordan had even 1/8th of a set, he should have planted the 50 in the back forty after he was hit for about the fifth time and had to lift. Just terrible.

  2. Congrats to Ronnie and the #50 team. 2nd race together at Thompson,and a Win. Great job, keep it up. Rocco driving clean, yeah, and Trump is the most honest person on the planet. If everyone he’s driven ” clean”
    hit him back, he’d never finish a race.

  3. sour grapes of humility says

    LOL yeah you will” have to change the way you drive”.. you slid up while being over aggressive and popped Christopher ..he might buy what your selling LOL ,…then Williams gives you a taste of your own medicine.. and you wine like an California vineyard.. grow a pair for gods sake.. keep “dive bombing and bumping and running ” ..sure miss old time racing where a guy held his line and allowed or offered another car the outside or inside…. doesn’t exist in any division.. putting the big nerf bars on these cars ruined modified racing ..glad I am not paying the bills.. perhaps you could have gone “Boyer” on Williams ??? LOL .. feel bad for the others who are caught up in the carnage that surely will ensue at Stafford and Thompson….

  4. Been a long time lurker but first ever comment I write on this site. I’ve been watching Keith at Thompson since 2005. He’s one of the best to ever drive a race car. But he had it coming. Plain and simple. And that’s all I have to say.

  5. It sounds like we have the making of a rivalry or feud here Good for fans in the stands bad for car owners.

  6. If Ronnie is so good, why did he just not drive down the backstretch (the fast line) the final lap? Then as you conspiracy theorist think Keith would have turned right and crashed Ronnie into the wall and all your fantasies would prove true. I like how you all ignore how Ronnie, on many previous laps, drove everyone up the wall including Mikey. No mention of that here.

    Teddy, Kerry Melone, Ryan Preece, Keith and others have all used the slide up job. Stop pretending this is only a Keith thing. If Thompson enforced the slide job as rough riding it would stop. Driving directly into the back of someone when you have a free lane was all Ronnie; he is a poor sport.

  7. SK ModFan says

    Big T Fan and Rocco are in the same state of denial. Keith, if you ran clean you’d have half your wins and no championships. You have always been that bad boy, that is what makes us watch. Tonight you got a taste of your own medicine from someone who grew up watching your “clean driving “ and man, he took you to school. Williams ran a great race and congrats to the 50 team. The 50 and 82 were running a clean race swapping the lead racing hard not touching each other. You enter the mix and take out the 82 pushing him into the wall and you got the black flag for that pass. Then you dive bomb Williams and brake check block his crossover, and on the last lap, you were blocking the 50 all over the track until he booted you into a lane and your last ditch effort to come down hard on him got him sideways for the drag race to the checkers. Williams will Drive you as you drive him. He’s not dirty. He’s a competitor and Keith’s nemesis. Ronnie will not back down to your antics Keith. He showed you that tonight and I’ll bet that pill you had to swallow went down hard. I loved watching tonight’s race And then reading Rocco’s comments. Ronnie ran this race like a champion and did not back down to the bully. Keep doing what you’re doing Ronnie. The crowd was screaming with your final move; you made a lot of fans tonight!

  8. Big time Rocco fan here just gotta say how fierce the competition is at Thompson anyone in Williams shoes would have done the same thing it wasn’t dirty it was racing.

  9. So how did Rocco restart 4th on the last restart…since he was sent to the back for the previous restart which was then deemed a false start. Shouldn’t he have restarted at the back since they never made it through turn one (let alone one lap) and he hadn’t passed anyone yet?

  10. It could have been a great race minus the wreck fest midway through. Nice win for Williams. The Late Model Race was really good, clean race with a pretty much photo finish. When will someone build a Death in Wagon SK?

  11. I’m not reading The Roc’s words as complaints. They’re more interesting. A self analysis completely devoid of questions regarding his own performance. He raced clean, case closed…….next. Papa Mike C might have had some interesting thoughts on that.
    Deja vu? Rowand Pennink being framed in much the same way after he planted a teeth rattler on TC on the final lap at Stafford in 2017 for the win and fisticuffs on the podium ensued. The rivalry was good for racing at the time and this is now.
    Thank you for the great commentary. Big night Friday at Stafford and with wounds still fresh this will be a great cauldron of simmering hard feelings to keep an eye on.

  12. Honest racer says

    Can you imagine the outrage if Rocco flat out punts Williams out of of the way next time. How many posts on here will say Ronnie deserved it lol.

    Williams couldn’t win that race and he started on the Pole. The 82 was going to win and he chose the top on a restart and Williams flushed him cause he couldn’t win. Then he tried to fill a hole that wasn’t there and go himself wrecked.

    Then the 47, Tim Jordon was gonna beat Williams and he got flushed (twice). Jordon would of ran away btw…..

    Then Rocco gets by Williams and he gets punted in the back because it’s the only way the 50 could win. Great Racing Bravo….

    There’s a certain finesse that teddy, preece, and Rocco had while swapping the lead and racing hard. Deep down they all had respect and had fun doing it. It’s hard to think of a time when one of them just piled into the back of the other one because they got beat. That’s why Williams will never be mentioned with those three guys…..ever.

    If any of that happens at stafford or even Thompson last year, black flags would be flying. Williams would of been be dq’d and everyone who ever saw a race at stafford knows it.

    The carnage that took place at Thompson across a few divisions was an absolute embarrassment. I guess it’s to be expected though sin Thompson took everyone who ran the speedbowl into the ground in the last 15years an put them in charge. What a joke. What a terrible joke.

  13. Just a comment on Woody’s actions and nasty words in his post take out interview.. I know Woody is (thinks he is) the prince of racing but was taking out a car and many others including himself deliberately really justifiable?? The kid in the 3 did nothing wrong but was just plain faster then Woody. I guess thats just not ok in Woody’s world!

  14. The kid in the 3 is the absolute worst offender when it comes to driving in to the side of people. He has zero ability to pass without taking someone to the fence. Obviously he has no car control either to lose it from a baby tap like that.

  15. Todd Henshaw says

    BUGMAN SAID it years ago in His book. The BUMP AND RUN, Turning a guy around or smashing your way to the front is not racing… Respect the other Mans equipment and the other drivers also. Race the Man with RESPECT. Give him a lane to race in . People love a nice side by side Racing dual.
    Bugsy said it would lead racing down a bad path and now we see the results on the track.
    That Mod Show at Wall was Horrible . Thompson Show was Terrible . The 19 Limited Sportsman turned the 27 going into turn 1 and just Trashed the guys car completely . SK started 22 Cars and only 8 finished with wheels on them at the finish. Every division but the SK lights was a DEMO Derby.
    I have been involved closely in the racing game for over 40 years , Fan, Driver, Owner, Crew, etc..
    if I want to see a Demo I would go see that. I pay to see Racing not this version of smash and crash the other guy to win or gain a spot. People need to wake up and start Respecting each other and each others equipment or this Sport is doomed to fail. I love racing but wonder if its too late to save it..

  16. Baby Tap? That’s like saying he should of survived the fall from the bridge he was pushed off of because it really wasn’t that high up. Woody admitted he deliberatelly took him out!

    What does Woody have to say to poor Todd Owen who also lost his second car of the day because of it?

    What does Woody have to say to the owner of his car that he destroyed or does the guy even care?

    I think Douglas we should just agree on the obvious.. Woody just doesn’t like the 3 and will do everything he can to wreck him if hes faster then Woody… That is what happened yesterday.

  17. James Scott says

    Honest racer and Todd you both hit the nail on the head.

  18. Hillary 2020 says

    What should’ve been a nice afternoon of racing turned into a disaster. They had to go single file restarts for the sportsman race 8 laps in. People started leaving before the sk’s even started. Owen destroys both his cars in one day. I think I counted 7 sk’s taking the checkers. The infield looked like a junkyard. And they completely ruined the concessions this year. No more 2 for 1 deals at the end of the night. Smaller selection of food to choose from. They got rid of everybody that was working there forever. Even the little old lady that was probably there for who knows how long. Oh and the blonde women in the beer stand. At the ice breaker they had some dude selling beer instead. Thanks Terry.

  19. Hillary,
    I understand people being upset with change in operation of the concessions. But understand this, the track didn’t operate the concessions before this year and they don’t operate them now. Terry Eames has nothing to do with the concession stands. The concession stands were operated previously by a private entity separate from the track and this year they are being operated by Spectra.

  20. David John says

    Woodie could seriously hurt someone out there by deliberately wrecking at Thompson!! Everyone uses everyone up to pass at Thompson Motor Speedway!! He shouldn’t be the one to talk!!

  21. Todd Carey says

    You look at the racing at Wall this weekend and the racing at Thompson and even now in the upper series. It should no longer be called racing because most of them know absolutely nothing about racing, they only know how to wreck someone to get to the front. I honestly have no idea why these guys keep throwing their time and wallets into these cars week after week to watch them get destroyed by careless drivers. Its always the other guys fault. Pitkat has NEVER made a mistake in all the years hes raced. Yes rivalries are good for sports and racing but just going out their and destroying each other week after week is not. There is a reason why the stands have less and less people in them week after week and everyone is quick to blame NASCAR. Maybe someone should sit back and look at the product. I think some of the owners are thankful its been raining because after a couple weeks of New England racing the race shops are full of junk. Hopefully the manufacturers can pump them out quickly.

  22. Or you could look at the Sk’s last week at Stafford where there were only a few, fortunately time cautions and 23 of 26 cars completed all 40 laps.
    It’s interesting that the good racing that night couldn’t draw flies as far as fan interest goes yet this debacle has the crowd roaring.
    Go figure.

  23. Hillary 2020 says

    Ok well thanks to whoever hired Spectra because they suck. I had never waited in line at Thompson as long as I had at the ice breaker in 20 something years. The food trailer towards turn 4 was closed and they don’t even offer fresh cut fries or steak and cheese sandwich anymore. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. My apologies to Terry.

  24. Ronnie is nothing more then a spoiled rich kid I hope Rocco takes care of him. He did the same stuff every time he ran at the bowl no respect for anyone else ever. Nothing more then a punk probably why he’s not in the 21 anymore.

  25. SK ModFan says

    Mr Mod Fan. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve been to every race at Waterford and watched Williams when he was there go through the field like a surgeon. Last year at Stafford, he started most races with 12 cars in front of him and meandered his way up the the front leaving no issue behind him on his quest. I know he’s in college so he isn’t rich, and your wish for Rocco to do something is funny because Rocco is the biggest instigator of them all. And from what I see in the pits, the 21 team and Williams are still great friends, I heard at New Symrna Williams could not commit to a FL and tour schedule with his Sr Year in college being so demanding. Nothing more. So consider yourself now informed and go to a race once in a while and watch that kid race. You may even become a fan!!

  26. Jim richards says

    Jason, I agree with you on Rocco’s restart. He passed all those guys when he should have been last. Shame on the track for letting that happen. The 50 and 47 would have been long one from him if he started where he should of.

  27. Bob Maguire says

    Rocco, was sent to the back,restarted in 4, not 8th. POOR officiating by the officials. He can hit EVERYTHING but the lottery and NOT get sent to rear, to stay there. Too many cautions. Then people wonder why the car counts are LOW, TOO many wrecks!!!!!!!!!

  28. Sherlock Homeboy says

    Keith Rocco is the best. Period. End of story.

  29. Old Timer says

    Louie, The 3 car was faster than the 10A??? How can you even make that statement? I have been attending modified racing for about 50 years and your boy Troy is no innocent victim out on the track. His grandfather may have been a modified stand out in his day, but I regret to inform you that his racing genes did not get passed down to his grandson. If my memory is correct he may have won a race at Thompson once, and if I recall, I remember hearing that the reason he won was because the regular winners had wrecked and the race had no cautions after that. I do recall there was a reason behind it and talent was not the case. I have seen with my own eyes that he is not a smooth driver, he has trouble passing even on the front and back stretch, the turns forget it, he is always getting into someone. He has a real hard time picking a lane and I am not sure if he really just has no talent or if his spotter just doesn’t have a clue.This wreck with Pitkat is not Talman’s first wreck and won’t be his last, after all he pushed Rocco up in turn 3 and 4 and I am certain he will repay the favor at one of these Thompson races, I don’t see it happening at Stafford as Talman is a back of the packer at Stafford and Rocco is a front runner. I have seen Talman crash many times but not too often with Pitkat, except for last season when Talman drove into the side of Pitkat and sent him airborne, however Pitkat kept right on going with his damaged car and I can only assume if he got back up to Talman it would have been interesting to say the least. As it turns out Talman saw nothing wrong with his actions until a few days after the race, the in-car camera video was posted on-line and there it was, there was for all to see at which time Talman changed his tune and decided to admit he was wrong, the beauty of in-car cameras! I can only guess why Pitkat did what he did on Sunday, I am pretty sure that after Talman got into Pitkat a lap or so before that he was in no mood to put up with his crap. If you can’t handle honesty so be it, I am certain it was not Pitkat’s intention to wreck himself and others, of course Pitkat is used to running with much more talented drivers than Talman and maybe he was just unaware of Talman’s lack of talent. Don’t forget Talman had a short lived ride in the Whelen Modified Tour, but if I recall correctly Pitkat was winning the race at Loudon,NH and Talman was crashing the Boehler #3. I am aware that some may not care for my comments, I am old school, I do not believe in this politically correct BS, so lastly Pitkat has talent and has the wins and Championship’s to back it up, Talman is a “wanna a be that is never going to be!” End of story.

  30. Old Timer,

    Talman is not my Boy, i dont even know him or his crew but to say a passing hi in the pits.

    My opinion is drawn from what ive seen and listened to over the past few years between Woody and Talman. Woody has it out for him.

    I am old but probably not as wise as you but i did hear and see the truth…. Talman was faster so woody intentionally crashed him then admitted it in his post crash interview… Or should i say take out four cars including his own intentionally??

    If thats not how you see it then we must have been at two different race tracks this past sunday.

  31. ski mask says

    1. troy talman should put a steering wheel on a dumpster and race that, he is GARBAGE.
    2. rocco/williams rivalry is great for modified racing.
    3. bryan narducci is the real deal. point blank. you wanna win races, get your butt out in the shop and get it done.
    4. how ’bout Ryan Preece? as a New Englander, if you ain’t proud of that kid something is wrong.
    5. jeff gallup gets a big win at Lee. awesome
    6. morgan/wall are transponders the tell all?
    7. when did the Whelen Modified Tour decide to add a demolition derby to the schedule and why didn’t they tell the drivers?
    8. i can’t believe i will be the first person to mention The Speedbowl in the comments. June or July? what’s the newest gossip?
    9. a station wagon in victory lane?
    10. monadnock opener this weekend with partial grandstands. good or bad idea? what if the Speedbowl did the same?

  32. In Woody’s defense. Having known Woody since he was about 10, I can say he is very low strung, and polite. It usually takes allot before he goes postal on someone. My guess is that Tallman drilled him at some point in time, and he just repaid the favor, but Tallman lacks the talent to pull off the save.

  33. Numbered menu of quick hitting commentary……..I like it.
    From the Speedbowl on Facebook and the wed site May 20.
    “We are still under construction at the track. There will be no racing the entire month of May. We will post an update as soon as we have a better timeframe for completion of the project. Thank you for your continued support!”
    Not specifics but not radio silence either.

  34. Hillary 2020 says

    #8 There was activity at the bowl yesterday. A bunch of trucks including a Bemer propane vehicle and bucket truck. Most I’ve seen in a while.

  35. Please watch Fanschoice.tv rerun of Thompson 5/19/19 so you impressions can be reinforced.

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