Big Gamer: Ronnie Williams Wins Bud Light Open Modified 80 At Stafford

Ronnie Williams celebrates victory in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Call it Ronnie Williams’ monster month. 

Since late June Williams has been one of the hottest short track drivers when it comes to scoring the big event victories and that trend continued for the Tolland driver Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway. 

Williams scored victory in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

Williams held off the charges of Eric Goodale and Matt Swanson over two late restarts to secure the victory. 

Swanson, of Acton, Mass., was second and Keith Rocco of Wallingford third. 

It was the third and final Open Modified event of the season at Stafford Speedway. Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece were the winners of the other two events earlier this season. 

For Williams it continued the trend of collecting big trophies and big paychecks. 

Williams earned a $3,500 first place prize Friday at Stafford and 80 cans of Bud Light. 

On June 23 Williams kicked off his heated run by collecting a $5,000 first place prize in a Valenti Modified Racing Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. On June 26 Williams topped the field in the $10,000 to win Tri-Track Open Modified Series Open Wheel Wednesday event at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. Williams kept the roll going by winning $5,000 for his victory in the NAPA SK 5K at Stafford on June 28.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Williams said. “… Just an awesome feeling. [Car owner Adam Skowyra] and the guys worked their butts off and it showed today. … Hopefully we can keep this thing going.” 

Swanson’s second place proved victory like for the Gary Casella owned team. Swanson had planned to be competing in a Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. Friday night. When that event was cancelled Friday morning the team made the decision to get to Stafford. They arrived at the track 10 minutes before heat races for the feature began. 

“Feeling good,” Swanson said. “… When we found out Lee got cancelled this morning we all showed up at the shop and thrashed to get this thing done. We missed practice. Made it 10 minutes before the heat race, so I’ll take a second place.  To come here and miss practice and not turn a lap until the heat race, second place, we’ll take it.” 

Williams went by Todd Owen for the lead on lap 57. He never trailed the rest of the way. 

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  1. CONGRATS to Ronnie Williams, Adam and Les Skowyra, Candie Williams, and the whole #50 team on your win in the Bud Light open 80. Great job! Also congrats on the podium finish in the 40 lap SK feature earlier in the day. Had Kopcik driven Ronnie clean in the SK feature most likely would have won that one too.Again great job guys.

  2. Kopcik drove Williams the same way Williams has driven him great job by the 21 team

  3. Finishing order?? It did rain in Lee last night so it was a good call.

  4. JD,

    1) Ronnie Williams, Ellington
    2) Matt Swanson, Acton, MA
    3) Keith Rocco, Berlin
    4) Matt Galko, Meriden
    5) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
    6) Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA
    7) Chase Dowling, Midland, NC
    8) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton
    9) Cam McDermott, Canterbury
    10) Anthony Sesely, Port Monmouth, NJ
    11) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
    12) Todd Owen, Somers
    13) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
    14) James Pritchard, Jr., Oak Ridge, NJ
    15) Brad VanHouten, Wading River, NY
    16) Rob Richardi, Jr., Taunton, MA
    17) Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA
    18) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
    19) Austin Kochenash, Danielsville, PA
    20) Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA
    21) Andy Shaw, Center Conway, NH
    22) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
    23) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury
    24) David Schneider, Huntington, NY
    25) Dana DiMatteo, Farmington
    26) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis, MA

  5. Had to leave at lap 29 of the open, for an emergency. What happened to Owen? He was crazy fast at the beginning. Disappointment of the night: Tommy Barrett Jr. didn’t even make it to turn 1 before catastrophic failure. Hope he turns his luck around. Too bad no more opens this year. Some great racing.

  6. getserious says

    Any comments or insight about how Goodale got into the grass while racing with Swanson with only two to go, losing second place? And then was so “excited” that he drove right into victory lane forthe gathering of the top three finishers.

  7. SK ModFan says

    First, the 21 did Drive Williams into the marbles going into 1 & 2. Yes he did what he had to do to win but also the reason he is not a top runner and hasn’t won since 2017. Swanson chopped Goodale going into 3 hard trying to block the spot. I was listening to the 25 radio and it sounded like the spotters call to preserve the spot and prevent the pass. Goodale was angry in victory lane; I heard threats of just remembering this for the next tour race so let’s see what happens between the 58 and 3.

  8. Liz Cherokee says

    Only 80 cans of Bud for winning the race? That’s just over 6 cases–barely enough to have a small party. I can only hope it can be 80 case bonus to the winner next year!!! 🍻
    Bottoms up boys!

  9. Was it my angle, or did Goodale almost hit a pedestrian as he angrily exited Victory Lane? It was a guy in a red shirt. I hope it wasn’t as close as it looked from view, as it could have been really ugly.

  10. Was it my angle, or did Goodale almost hit a pedestrian as he angrily exited Victory Lane? It was a guy in a red shirt. I hope it wasn’t as close as it looked from my view, as it could have been really ugly.

  11. Barry,
    I saw that too. Looked like a very close call. Not for nothing, but he never should have been there. I get the wanting to confront someone because you’re hot, but take the car down pit road and get out and walk over. Don’t drive into the area where there’s a bunch of people milling about and then drive out while people are still milling about. All that said, can you imagine if after every short track race every driver who got nudged, bumped, moved, crossed up, pushed out of the groove or into the grass by someone finishing on the podium drove to the victory lane to confront someone? There’d be 15 cars in victory lane after every race.

  12. Good all didn’t belong there. Key phrase. In the end it’s the call of SMS officials to deal out a punishment. Could his actions have consequences when the NWMT shows up? If it we’re me , I’d tell him to stay away the rest of the year. Actions need to have consequences, otherwise it will become the wild west with brawls breaking out, or good forbid someone getting run over.

  13. A penalty for sure but have it fit the incident. Is it a pattern or simply an isolated, adrenaline fueled lack of judgement. My guess is the guy is probably a bit shaken after realizing he could have created a national headline and really hurt someone.

  14. If that incident had been in one of the weekly divisions, the offender would have been suspended for a week at the least, and given the severity possibly the rest of the season. Goodale should pay for his ignorance, and sit out an event even if it is a tour event. Actions must have consequences.

  15. Fast Eddie says

    Interesting scenario… If a racer does something stupid and/or dangerous at a track that causes said track to have the racer sit out an event, yet he is scheduled to run at that same track for a different tour race series, what takes precedence? The track rules or the series rules? If Stafford makes a racer sit out a race, would the next race he was going to be at apply, even if it was being run by a different organization? Having to sit out the next open race probably next May doesn’t seem to send the same immediate message as sitting out the next WMT event.

  16. TC and Pennink were involved in a victory lane “fist flying scrum” in 2017 as RaceDayCt reported it. Forgotten in view of the subsequent tragedy but a big deal at the time seeing as how charges could have be levied were the venue different.. No one was suspended. They had to start at the back of the field for the next two race nights that proved to be not much of a penalty at all as they each charged to the front.
    That’s kind of a precedent isn’t it? Racing + emotion= dangerously bad decision.
    I’d prefer a similar penalty. Goodale is a gamer that supports virtually everything and one dumb move shouldn’t erase all he’s done to support every tour type modified event at Stafford.
    Fine paid to charity?

  17. Did anybody notice that both the winning, and second place cars had Ronnie Williams name on the roof? Pretty good job by the Cassella #25, arriving only minutes before the heat races with a driver who had no seat time in the car to end up second. Goes to show the amount of preparation that the 25 team goes to. Great job by Swanson, being able to adapt so quick

  18. I certainly don’t presume to know what is appropriate for Goodale or fair. I would hope the NWMT race is off the table since points are critical, he’s in sixth as of now and it’s a NASCAR sanctioned race. My preference would be have the 58 start last in the VMRS heat and feature. The VMRS I’m sure would be happy to work with Stafford and Goodale is not a points racer in the series. Maybe a small, affordable but symbolic fine as well.
    It would be very disappointing not seeing Goodale in the VMRS race coming up.

  19. No penalty for Goodale. This sets a precedent that says it’s ok to storm into victory lane, confront a competitor and nearly hit a spectator. Yet your penalized if you spin and bring out a caution. Great job SMS

  20. Rob P,
    It certainly creates some interesting questions. I would say that the actions by Eric Goodale following the Bud Light Open 80 at Stafford certainly warranted some type of penalty. It was an action that put bystanders in danger for no reason. But, where it gets murky and opens the door to a lot of questions is how you offer penalties for what is essentially a short run series, especially when it’s the last event of the season of that short run series. As we know, Goodale is not a regular weekly competitor at Stafford so a standard track penalty does nothing. The track doesn’t have the jurisdiction to levy a penalty against him for Whelen Modified Tour competition at the track. And penalizing him for an Open Modified event for 2020 long before there’s even a 2020 schedule doesn’t make much sense either. So what do you do?

  21. How do you penalize people that ignore subpoenas and other court orders? How do you penalize people that regularly go against the Constitution? They know nothing can/will be done about it, so they do it.

  22. Shawn, could ban Goodale from the property until a date past the next tour race. Although the NWMT has nothing to do with this, it’s the driver being penalized. Maybe the list of valuable points will make him think next time. Face it, that whole deal could have turned out very bad, and SMS would have been the ones paying the price. The other option is a very stiff fine, not the normal $100- $500, but like $5000. That might make him or any competitor think twice. Doing nothing sets a precedent, that it’s ok to interrupt victory lane celebrations, and put spectators at risk. If it had been a weekly competitor, they would have sat out at least 1 event, possibly the rest of the season.

  23. Some years ago an SK driver
    (don’t remember exactly who) was suspended for an event for burning out on the frontstretch on his way to victory lane after a podium finish. The reason cited was that he put the track crew, who were near the pit gate, at risk. Goodales actions put spectators at risk.

  24. And for the record, I’m kind of a Goodale fan, who was shocked he acted that way

  25. Maybe just talking to the guy is all that’s necessary. He had a legit beef or at least it looked like it. Taking Swanson low and edging him out on the straight away then he’s in the grass.What’s up with that?
    Track officials talk to him, he gets it was a mistake, says it was a spur of the moment deal that won’t be repeated and it’s done.
    No penalty for the 25 so it’s even Steven and on to the VMRS race where the possibility of a grudge makes for interesting racing.

  26. The NWMT is the top level of racing in the northeast. It’s drivers are considered to be
    ” Professional”. There was nothing professional in what Goodale did. Granted it wasn’t a tour event, but still… Eric could have confronted Matt in the paddock area, after parking his car. Ultimately it’s up to SMS what actions are taken, but something should happen. Whether that’s sitting out a race ( VMRS or
    NWMT) or paying a hefty fine, something should happen. Keep in mind, I’m a Goodale fan, and seeing him miss a race would suck. But it’s a matter of principal. The car, and team should be allowed to compete, but Eric should be penalized. Keep in mind this happened after the race, so as far as the 25 being penalized, that call should have been made by race control who have done a fair job of calling on track incidents, so apparently what Matt did didn’t warrant a penalty. But it’s done and over with, so time to move on and hopefully an incident like that doesn’t happen again ( and again)

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