Rush Week: Ron Silk Wins Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 At Star Speedway

Ron Silk (center) celebrates victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 Saturday at Star Speedway, flanked by third place finisher Matt Swanson (left) and runner-up Ronnie Williams (right) (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

EPPING, N.H. – Summer weekends in New Hampshire. For many it evokes thoughts of days on the shore, or maybe nights on a lake or a cabin in the mountains. 

For Ron Silk weekend visits to New Hampshire of late have meant one thing: Celebration time. 

On July 20 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Ron Silk scored victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 in Loudon. 

Saturday Silk made a return to visit to the Granite State and returned to victory lane. 

Silk, of Norwalk, held off the late charges of Ronnie Williams to win the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 for car owner Bob Horn Saturday at Star Speedway. 

“The state of New Hampshire has been pretty good to me this week,” Silk said. 

Williams, of Tolland, was second and Matt Swanson of Acton, Mass. third. 

Silk started deep in the field after having to go through the consolation heat to get into the show. He used an early pit stop strategy and then waited for the bulk of the field to pit under the scheduled competition caution at lap 72. Pole-sitter Matt Hirschman led every lap until heading to the pits on lap 72. 

“My heat was such a [cluster],” Silk said. “I started fifth but they just rode two-wide the whole time. So I got put in the consi and you’ve got to start 21st [or worse]. So I was kind of thinking the whole time if there was a caution somewhere near lap 50 maybe we’ll try and take advantage of it and pit. 

“I pitted and then just cruised around slow trying to not to beat the tires up. The then [competition] caution came out and everyone pitted and I just inherited the lead.” 

Hirschman got back to Silk’s bumper quickly after the race restarted, but after hounding Silk for about 15 laps he began to fade. 

Williams used a lap 109 restart to move past Hirschman for second and then quickly found Silk’s bumper. Silk head on through another restart on lap 115. 

On lap 118 Williams was able to find a lane under Silk off of turn two, but Silk fought back to clear Williams out front once again before the conclusion of the lap. 

“We had a really good car all day,” Silk said. “At the end I think you could tell that [Williams] had a little bit new right rear [tire] than I did. … I was going to make him go to the top. I wasn’t going to let him drive underneath. I messed up and he almost got under me one time but I was able to clear him. 

Said Williams: “He had a strong car and he was just keeping it down low. He was doing everything he could do to win. … I knew he had a fast car, we just had to find a way around him. I got underneath him one time and the car just couldn’t stick and I backed out of it” 

Williams gave Silk a shot going into turn three on the final lap, but Silk absorbed the push and won the race off of turn four and to the checkered. 

“I would do the same thing,” Silk said. “He gave me a shot to see if he could get me up the track. He let me gather it up from there and we raced back to the line. I certainly have no problem with that. It’s good to beat those guys with the [Gary Casella owned team]. They’ve been on a tear this year and Ronnie has really proven he’s a great driver. So it’s good to beat those guys.” 

Said Williams: “The last lap you’re trying to do everything you can. Got a little loose coming off [turn four] and he got the win. … For my first time here with these guys and first time ever seeing the place, it’s a cool little track and we’ll take a second and move on.” 

As Silk and Williams were embroiled in their late race duel, it was Swanson stalking just off the lead battle. 

“The big thing with these races is saving your stuff, Swanson said. “You only get one tire. We knew the competition caution was coming and that’s kind of when we planned on pitting. So I knew I just had to save my other three tires to that point and see what the race car was doing and what I felt like it would do when we put a new right rear tire. … We knew were going to be right where we needed to be when it came down to the end. We tried to make some noise there at the end and get in the battle at the top but we just ran out of time.” 

Tri-Track Open Modified Series, SBM 125, Star Speedway, July 27, 2019 Finish: 1. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 2. Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT; 3. Matt Swanson, Acton, MA; 4. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 5. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 6. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 7. Cam McDermott, Canterbury, CT; 8. Brad Babb, Windham, ME; 9. Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA; 10. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 11. Anthony Sesely, Matawan, NJ; 12. Russ Hersey, Swanzey, NH; 13. Calvin Carroll, Andover, NJ; 14. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 15. Mike Holdridge, Madison, CT; 16. Jacob Dore, Sanford, ME; 17. Andy Shaw, Center Conway, NH; 18. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 19. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 20. Dana DiMatteo, Farmington, CT; 21. Kirk Alexander, W. Swanzey, NH; 22. Donny Hartzell, Hunlock Creek, NJ; 23. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 24. Anthony Nocella, Berlin, MA; 25. Carl Medeiros, Jr., Westport, MA; 26. Jon Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL; 27. Josh Cantara, Sanford, MA. DNQ: Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA; Andrew Charron, E. Greenwich, RI; Colbey Fournier, Berkley, MA; Kreig Heroth, Fort Plain, NY; George Sherman, Framingham, MA. 

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  1. getserious says

    “Competition caution”? You mean like the manipiulation used by the laughing stock of professional sports, NASCAR? A pre-planned time-out? My respect for this group, which was very high, just plummetted to somewhere down there near “debris” cautions and re-heated french fries.

  2. Unless things changed from last winter Stan Mertz intended to use the SK package in the 6 and even a two barrel in races with longer runs on micro tracks. That would be a pretty good finish for Woody were it the case.
    So I guess we need to come up with a name for Ronnie Williams new practice of driving into the leader in turn 3 of the last lap. It’s kind of his thing now. Clearly Silk agrees it’s fair play but then again it didn’t cost him the race. Were it like what Williams did to Kopcik he might have a different opinion.
    Put a pin in it. The last lap turn 3 Williams crunch. Not a fan on the last lap.

  3. Unbiased says

    I don’t see Williams much but he seemed to be the faster car last couple laps. Silk held his line and was able to fend off one clean pass attempt and was strong on restarts. The 25 definitely used his bumper last couple laps and silk did a great job holding on to the car and winning. Made for a very exciting race last 20 laps. Like all series racing in the top 10 to 12 spots, fun to watch Silk who started deep charged through field. He didn’t play the wait till the last half of the race to go game. Overall good show competitive field plenty of cars, and who would have predicted Hirshman starting on pole charging out at a torrid pace and leading ton of laps then fading although he cashed in on some lap money.

  4. Which Ronnie is having a better season, Silk or Williams? Great night out at the track. Perfect weather. 30 plus cars. I think I even saw SC himself walking about the pits.

    There were actually no passes for the lead. As soon as I saw Silk head to the pits early I knew what he was doing. He was already up to eighth after starting in the back. He definitely had the fastest car most of the night but he out foxed the field more than anything. Silk assumed the lead on the competition yellow and he was gone. Although the last 15 or so laps were fantastic. Swanson needed 5 more laps. I love the SBM 125. Great event, great track. Can’t wait for the 2020 SBM 125.

  5. Open Wheel Fan says

    Another great Tri Track race. There is no more entertaining modified race than the tri track shows. Best thing that ever happened to the modified racing action. I will be at Stafford on Friday but already know that no comparison to the TRI track racing events. Everyone on their feet last night. Can not remember last time I did that at modified tour show and I attend all of the tour shows. Thank You tri tack for the great racing shows.

  6. NH MOD CHASER says

    A great Saturday night of MOD racing

    A great Saturday summer night of MOD Racing at Star.A good buffet of MOD drivers from all over the NorthEast and beyond.Thank you Webber Family and Tri Track for a great show..Ronnie Williams is the new Hot Shew but we can call Ron Silk Mr July !!! No such think as a bad Mod Race…

  7. Crazy in NY says

    So much for the 60 “owns” the place. The competition last night was a tough as it gets. It’s never easy and nobody knows that better than Matt. we thought they (50s and 25w) were going to be there at the end and really Swanson’s strong run is no surprise either. Woodie pushed hard early and the pace was pretty hectic early on as lap money was on the line. Let me explain the comp yellow. announced during the drivers meeting the pitstops were going to be hot 1-75 and 91-125 no matter. A window for teams IF they chose was 76-90 for a “cold” stop. Considering how difficult it is to arrange the pits there for competitive stops I’d say (TTOM) did a great job trying make a dangerous situation a little safer without wrecking totally the strategy that always comes into play there. Disappointed..oh yeah. Draw the pole, collect some lap cash, nail a great pitstop ( hot one on 72) and come out ready to get after it. Hey..we got beat. simple as that. Congrats to Silky and Horn racing. AND…Andy J great run in his own car 5th and young Cam McDermott is his first Star start and 4th (i think) in a Tour Mod. Lots of good back stories in every TTOM race. Can’t wait for Ox Plains.

  8. Fast Eddie says

    I agree with you Crazy, Star is not an easy place for “hot pitting” any quantity of cars. I thought it was a good compromise by the TriTrack crew. And for those that were not there, the competition caution was for debris and was legit; someone lost a muffler and collector and it was laying in the middle of the front straight. Great race! Hirschman question: Anyone know if he was using coil binding suspension previously? Having that recently outlawed by TriTrack seems to coincide with his demonstration of being “mortal” at the last two events. That could have also accounted for the red 60 car’s uncanny ability to just plant the right rear and take off on restarts in previous TriTrack races.

  9. SK ModFan says

    First, “get serious “, there was no competition caution. You could pit anytime but there was going to be a cold pit after lap 70 if you elected to take it. It was great to do at such a small track and the reason Silk won. Silk passed NOBODY. He short pitted, inherited the lead when everyone except for him and 2 lapped cars stayed out. Then put on a blocking clinic to keep Williams behind him for the last 8 laps. Williams tried high, low, headfakes, etc and Silk had a block for him. That final shot was bumper on bumper push into the corner that did not stick for Williams and they dragraced to the finish. That was Ronnie’s first time racing at Star. He passed 14 cars and competed for the win and left the track with the Tri Track points lead. And Doug, you weren’t even there and you keep talking about bumps. What do you think TC would have done? Watch the great racing this kid gives us weekly. Forest for the trees my friend.

  10. Unbiased says

    It seems Hirshman is often there in the end when others aren’t, he avoids trouble races clean and conservative and has equipment left to race at the end. Seems last couple races some really good cars that have had some tough races previously were there at the end. The 50 did pass a ton of cars pitted passed more cars and inherited the lead he was able to fend off 25 on restarts and was able to keep lead when Williams got under him. He was protecting his line but had enough car to force Williams into trying to move him, both good drivers pretty even cars roles easily could have been reversed. Seems 25 has been pretty dominant going back to Penniks last couple runs, Dowling and Williams, different tracks, drivers, and series solid performances and some big wins, team seems to be doing things right.

  11. Muddbus461 says

    As usual fantastic race put on by the Tri-Track mods.Heats meant something.Love this tour and can’t wait for the next show.Star divisions weren’t all that bad either.

  12. I’m confused SK Mod fan. If you were at Stafford and saw Kopcik “drive into the rear of Williams just past the flag stand” that didn’t happen by the way. And I correct you by doing my homework while not attending does attendance make you right anyway. Can you say anything happened if you are there?
    I’m sure TC pulled that stuff at some point in his career and I’d still say it was fine EXCEPT ON THE FINAL LAP when you can’t come back. I’d also say as good as Ted Christopher was if you’re claiming his decision making was the epitome of good conduct on the track at all times you weren’t paying attention.
    I get the Williams enthusiasm. My view it’s mostly the cars and their excellence in putting him in a position to take cheap shots on the last lap. But the pop and go is a skill too so I freely admit it’s only the view of a fan in the cheap seats and he may be the greatest driver since……….well you get the idea.

  13. SK ModFan says

    I’ll enlighten you Douggie. Yes I was there in the infield, the not so cheap seats, saw with my eyes including Sparks flying, heard with my ears the 50 spotter keeping Ronnie cool after the hard contact saying to hit his marks and forget about the hit. It did happen. You Tube Bagot has last 2 laps and you see Ronnie’s line suddenly change, hard to see contact but I’ll keep looking buddy so you can believe it. It really doesn’t matter. My point with TC is he won with front bumpers pointing up to the sky, he would move you to win; this is nothing new but how many of Williams wins happened that way? Not many. Put any driver in those “excellent cars” Ronnie drives and you think the results would be the same as he is producing? You’re out of your mind. If that is the case, hows MikeJr82 doing in TC’s cars? Pick a car and switch drivers and who would you bet on with real cash. For example, Put Ronnie in the 78 and put Joey in the 50. Start them 14th and 15th. who wins? Place your bets. Enjoy the races. I’ll have to get you a signed 50 shirt.

  14. Then we’ll agree to disagree SK Mod Fan. I spent a lot of time looking at the video and if you insist on sticking with that cockamamie story of yours then I’ll never deter you. You insist on mocking the views of fans in the stands and claiming superiority simply by being on the other side of the fence that’s fine. My experience is that it was a terrible view.
    There are several different versions of Ted Christopher. The beginning where he was essentially a grenade. The middle when he became more of disciplined driver learning his craft and the last third of his career where he was top tier but far from dominant and pretty low drama with a couple notable exceptions. Recollections are deceiving as you prove all the time with your myopic, sycophantic one sided view but I can not recall any race where Christopher gave a guy a shot in the third turn on the last lap to steal a win. Plenty of times during the race all over the track for sure. Last lap turn 3 nothing sticks out. If he did I know it would have been memorable so maybe someone reading this can recall an instance.
    So lets talk about bumping because it’s not all equal. There bumping on the straight to let someone know you’re faster, you’re annoyed and intimidation is afoot.. There’s bumping in the middle and coming out of the turn that there is little upside for anyone when done on purpose since both cars are on thin ice.. Then there.s that cheap, punk ass deal just as the leader is entering the turn, the car is unloading and starting to brake via deceleration of brake points and it’s just ripe for picking. Williams never did that before in his own car I can recall. Now with proven fast cars he did it to Kopcik and repeated it with Silk in the TTOMS race.
    I fully recognize that the move is liked by some including Silk it would appear and even revered as a classic racing move. I’m expressing my opinion on it.
    I don’t know if Williams is some kind of wonder boy in modifieds or not. I suspect not. He was fine in his own car but the superior driving skills you seem to think are so evident didn’t get him a lot of wins there. In the NWMT he was fine there as well but again nothing to be in awe of and he did not keep the seat after all. He’s in two proven cars with a history of winning and he’s continuing the tradition. Except for that cheap last lap move that I’m fairly sure Pitkat and Dowling never used. Pennink once I can recall with TC but that was in the 99, retribution and a special circumstance.
    I wouldn’t say I’m completely objective but I’m not the slobbering, drooling groupie you seem to be that only sees the glow of perfection every time you meander into they guys orbit. And I’m really weary of hearing how superior your opinion is based solely on your location at track that in my view has nothing to do with the accuracy of recollections.
    It’s been fun. See you next time.

  15. SK ModFan says

    Oh, it’s my turn. Great. To answer your questions Doug, Williams had 8 of his 15 wins in his family car. It always was a car in the hunt with Stash as his crew chief so your theory of current superior cars making his name is untrue, unfounded and plain ignorant. Enjoy the races, see you there!

  16. In the hunt……..fer sure. Very Michael Geraisish now. Second tier and nothing wrong with that.
    This is how much I value you SK Mod fan. There is no data base summarizing the results Williams had the previous year or two to the 50. What I’m going to do is round up the figures by tediously going through the race results on race monitor to see if you are right.

  17. Well that was tedious.
    A couple observations:
    1) I don’t trust anyone’s “recollections” about anything in racing least of all my own. They are overwhelmingly wrong or distorted. You are such a William’s fan SK Mod Fan your recollections are virtually worthless.
    2) I hate being chucked into a hating Williams category which you infer but I have never implied. He’s fine. I just don’t think he’s exceptional.
    2016: 1 win, 7 top 5, 14 top 10 in 17 races.
    2017: 1 win, 9 top 5, 14 top 10 in 17 races
    2018: 4 wins, 14, top 5, 17 top 10
    “Williams had 8 of his 15 wins in his family car.” This is the sort of nonsense that serves no purpose. I don’t know he didn’t have 8 wins in his family car but Williams sure didn’t accumulate a lot in the two years before moving into the 50 seat. 2 exactly in two years.
    I can say this. In 2017 the Williams team car did in fact have tier one speed in terms of lap times while being somewhat inconsistent over the course of the year in terms of finishes. Maybe not so unlike Eric Berndt.
    My contention was that Williams jump in results was significant when he moved to the 50 and the car was primarily responsible. I think that observation holds up by the numbers.
    This year some are heralding Williams and Narducci as exceptional drivers. I think neither is exceptional. I think their cars are exceptional and the cars put them in a position to do exceptional things. For me it’s 95% car, always has been. The driver 5% which is huge when two cars are equal and one driver a cut above. Williams in my view is not that guy. He’s one of many good drivers in exceptional cars.
    You’re unique SK Mod Fan. I have never encountered a fan in these pages that has so many nice things to say about one driver, a large percentage of which are distorted and virtually nothing nice to say about any other.
    And that’s the view from the cheap seats.

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