Trend Setter: Ron Silk Wins Monaco Modified Tri-Track NAPA Fall Final At Stafford Speedway 

Ron Silk celebrates after winning the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series NAPA Fall Final Saturday at Stafford (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The resume of Ron Silk when it comes to Modified racing is overflowing with highlight accomplishments. 

Now the 39-year old from Norwalk can add a statistic to his racing history that stands exclusive to only him.

On Sept. 29, 2002 Silk won the SK Modified feature at the Fall Final at Stafford. On Sept. 26, 2020 he won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the Fall Final. 

And Saturday, the the 49th running of the Fall Final, Silk added one more notch to his Autumn accolades at the historic half-mile. 

Silk held on through three late race restarts to win the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series NAPA Fall Final 80 Saturday at Stafford. 

The victory made Silk the first driver to win Fall Final events with an SK Modified, a Whelen Modified Tour car and a Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series car. 

“I think I’m the only one that’s tried that yet,” Silk joked after the victory. 

It was the fourth career Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series victory for Silk. His last win with the series came on July 27, 2019 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. Saturday’s race marked the second Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series event at Stafford. The series ran its first event at Stafford in October 2020.

“Just a great job by my guys,” Silk said. “We’ve been so close to winning on the [Whelen Modified Tour] all year. Seconds, thirds. We just needed something to get us over the hump. It feels great to win this race. Happy to be back racing with [the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series] back at Stafford. Want to thank Monaco Ford for their support. And just my entire team.” 

For Silk, the hope is that the relief of Saturday’s victory will help carry the team to a Whelen Modified Tour victory in one of the final two events for that division this season. Silk has six podium finishes in 14 events this year on the Whelen Modified Tour, but is still looking for a win. 

“We’re so close,” Silk said. “I guess it is frustrating. We’re almost defying the law of averages to finish second and third that many times and not luck into a win. It feels really good to get the Fall Final win and the $15,000 payday. It’s what everyone on this team needs, to get charged up for our last two [Whelen Modified Tour] races.” 

Jake Johnson of Rehoboth, Mass. was second and Matt Galko of Moodus third. 

Johnson was making his second start at Stafford. He retired early from an Open Modified event earlier this season at Stafford. Johnson said he wasn’t intimidated by the Stafford layout, which historically frustrates newcomers. 

“I was just following the guys in front of me,” Johnson said. “If he can do it then I can do it, that’s kind of my mentality. As we go we just feel it out. I was trying to take care of the car in the beginning. The pit crew did a killer job. So we came out out up front and once we were there I was like “Alright, let’s get after it, it’s time to go.” 

Pole-sitter Ryan Preece controlled out front at the start, but it was a short-lived run in the lead early. Ronnie Williams moved past Preece to take over the top spot on lap three. 

The early dueling was feisty with Preece and Williams. Preece moved back out to the front past Williams on lap eight. Behind them Woody Pitkat was up to third from his sixth starting spot. 

Caution flew for the spinning car of Kyle Bonsignore on lap 16. On the ensuing restart Preece held the top spot with Pitkat moving past Williams for second. 

On lap 17 Pitkat used a diving move into turn one to wrangle the lead away from Preece. But Preece stayed in striking distance and on lap 20 it was Preece using the turn one move to get back by Pitkat and regain the lead. 

A long green flag run allowed Preece to open some distance over Pitkat in second, but that advantage was gone when caution flew for the stopped car of Buddy Charette on lap 64.  

All the leaders headed to pit road with Preece winning the race back to the track under caution. Williams, who came in fifth, came off pit road in second. Craig Lutz went from seventh to third. Silk restarted fourth, Johnson fifth and Pitkat sixth. 

Under caution Mike Christopher Jr., running fourth at the time, went behind the wall. It was unclear what took place, but team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. vented angrily after the incident. 

“This pit road is a total piece of shit to be quite honest with you,” Baldwin said. “The Arute family spent all this money on fixing this place and they can’t fix pit road. It’s the most dangerous pit road we race on and they need to fix it.” 

On the lap 64 restart it was Preece holding the top spot with Silk going from fourth up to second past Williams. Behind them Pitkat went from sixth to fourth. On the next lap Pitkat tried to get under Williams into turn three for third place. Contact sent both cars hard into the turn three wall, collecting three other cars in the incident. 

“I think Woody got in the back of me down the backstretch,” Williams said. “Just kind of ripped the wheel out of my hands, hit the wall and just came back. I know it was a hard hit for him, it was a hard hit for me. Just sucks. I know it’s not the way either of wanted to end the Stafford Open shows. It is what it is.” 

On the lap 65 restart it was Preece and Silk battling side-by-side with Preece clearing Silk off of turn four. But two laps later Silk got under Preece into turn three and came off of turn four with the lead. 

Preece looked under Silk on laps 70 and 73, but Silk deftly defended the challenges. Caution flew on lap 74 for the stopped car of Anthony Flannery in turn three. 

On the ensuing restart Silk and Preece battled side-by-side for three quarters of the lap. But in turn four contact from Lutz sent Preece spinning through the corner. 

On the next restart it was Silk getting away out front with Lutz moving past Johnson for second place. Caution flew once again on lap 75 for the stopped car of George Bessette Jr. 

On the lap 75 restart Silk quickly checked out on the pack with Johnson going past Lutz for second place. 

“We had a really good piece,” Johnson said. “I’m just pumped to be here. I’ve got to thank [crew chief] Ryan Stone a lot and [the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series] and Stafford all working together to put on this awesome event. … The restarts at the end, it was a heart pumper for me but it was a lot of fun. Great group of guys out here to race against. It was a real experience.” 


  1. Was a really good show! Preece, Silk and Pitkat had the rest of the field covered. Baldwin’s 7NY was fast, but could not challenge those three cars.

    Not sure what happened to the 7NY, but I agree with Tommy B. – widen the pit lane and don’t cram 33 stalls in it if it can’t support that car count (or make it longer)!

    And hats off to the 20 lap SK LIGHT Invitational feature. After one hard hit in turn one, they ran caution free. This is, to some, the most entertaining and popular division at Stafford.

  2. Stuart A Fearn says

    7ny was pulling out after getting blocked in on his pit stop and another car ran over hit right front and apparently caused damage to end his night

  3. Suitcase Jake says

    Now the Modified World knows Jake Johnson can really wheel a Modified,… Won the Snowball derby in Super Late model and many races in full fender cars … Now with Ryan Stone turning wrenches… the Sky is the Limit…. Like to see Him run the full Tour Schedule in 2023…. Silk was overdue ,…. Great Driver …

  4. Great run by Jake Johnson! Not sure enough is being made of this kids talents, he goes to 5 Flags and wins the Snowflake 100 and now jumps in a tour type modified and is running towards the front.

  5. Penny for your thoughts. Good race or bad?
    My vote is bad. Perhaps annoyed from having to add up so many high numbers in our Pick 6. The picks weren’t bad, how the race played out was horrible. 27. 28. 29 & 31. Preece, Williams, Pitkat and the 7ny. All really good cars that for one reason or another end up behind the wall. We needed 4 Mulligans for this Pick 6. It’s just not right.
    Hopefully the collective wisdom of the forum contributors can provide insights into why this happened.
    The steering wheel got ripped out of his hands says Williams after taking a shot on the straight away from the guy whose car he wrecked. That little bit of self serving recollection is pure Ronnie Williams. I’ve never heard that steering wheel excuse used more then this year. Lutz, really high quality driver turns Preece. No, none of this is what happens in a good race. When bone head moves by really good experienced drivers ends up taking out so many of the best cars it can only be framed as a terrible race. Made all the worse because the drivers responsible are some of the best modified drivers around.
    Very nice to see Silk win and he did have a really good car. Thing is he should have had to beat Preece and Pitkat at the end to really make it the race it could have been.

  6. knuckles mahoney says

    Good racing. Glad to see Woody is ok. That was a brutal hit. Hirschman nowhere to be found all day. Preece kinda got screwed. Can never figure out what the hype is over Myers. He wasn’t even competitive, really never is when he comes up here. Big deal he has success down south, like winning a novice class championship in motocross, you’re the best of the worst. What happened to Les Hinckley, a no show? Glad to see Tyler Barry give it Cipriano in the heat, after his BS move. Worst of all, wife and I had a bet to win. She picked Silk, I picked Woody, now I owe her.

  7. Christopher would’ve probably been on that podium if he didn’t get smacked coming out of the pits. Real shame to see a front runner get brought down like that, especially unnecessarily.

  8. My first Tri Track show and was pleased with the overall product. One day show, reasonable ticket price, very well run program, hell the feature went off minutes before schedule… huh?? I can’t even comprehend that type of expedience after decades of tour shows.. great first price money, consi’s, last chance b consi or whatever it was called, 20 laps.. no caution flag laps counting… breath of fresh air for this guy.. I will be back to more of these shows for sure!

    Ryan had that race, maybe Silk would have gotten him, but I think Ryan would have grabbed the checkers, a shame those cars that could have put up a fight were wrecked. 80 laps was just right, and plays into the overall well run show.

    While Baldwin may have a point, and honestly, I picked the 7NY to win – he takes my lowest class denominator award for the foul language and trashing the Arute clan over the PA. Take those grievances off line – If he hates the place so much, why show up? I expected more from someone who I thought was a “bigger time” professional – there’s kids out there in the stands you bare knuckle, LI dummy..

    Otherwise a great afternoon and evening at the racetrack!

  9. Well, I’d like to say it was a good race, but it’s hard to say that when so many good cars took themselves and each other out.

    If those cars weren’t taken out, it could have been EPIC!!!!

    Congrats to Silk!!!!

  10. end of season race for many,, equipment does not mean so much,, easy to be over aggressive,, see you next year,, that’s racing… hat’s off to Johnson,, he has what it takes,, be interesting to see how things develop between him and BRE over the silly season.. Hirschman got off to a bad start,, worked his way to top ten,, then got trapped in the pack due to multiple restarts at end.. good to see no major injuries..


    Preece didn’t get screwed he`s an entitled baby.. lutz was pushed into Preece between 3 and 4 in a pack that’s RACING. Williams AFTER getting hit from behind by pitkat who had huge momentum coming outta 3 instinctively hooks him (dirty busch league move but par for the course with this punk) where he took a tremendous impact destroying what was likely the fastest car at the time .then is laughing claiming the wheel was knocked out of his hand.. gee not shaking the sting outta your wrist during the interview.? I’m sick of everyone coddling Preece. he is the bigs but he doing nothing and he gets paid! stop it already !. otherwise a good weekend of racing by the track that sets the standard. PS someone tell Bob Charland to stop racing with kids.. he doesn’t have the temperament for it ..

  12. Stuart A Fearn says

    First off this was a highly competitive race. Good cars went home, some all the way back toNorth Carolina. The first car to go a lap down on the track was on lap 47. Typical tour show it’s like lap 10 so to me that is an impressive field.
    Jake Johnson solid all day running a smart race on that Ryan Stone prepared car. Stone is a top wrench and is a huge piece of the puzzle over there.
    Hirschman started so deep in the field his only chance was to play strategy game and come late. Exactly lap 40 he turned it up and started marching forward. Before the caution came out he was faster than the leaders and up to about 9th. Actually right behind Johnson I think. He had a great pit stop but just didn’t have the car after and went backwards.
    Shame the top 2 or 3 perhaps cars wrecked out. Good race overall though, I enjoyed it. Great racing, strategy, pitting and tight racing at the end.

  13. It would be interesting to hear Woody’s take on the incident with Williams.

    Has anyone seen a replay of the MCJr pit road collision?

  14. Stuart A Fearn says

    I’m pretty sure I know what woodys take is
    What do you think when the 88 gets right reared like that going into the corner? That means he was 3/4 past the 50 but I could be wrong

  15. There is a simple way to stop pit road accidents just make it a competition yellow. These guys are not used to doing pitstops and someday someone will get hurt real bad or worse! The race should be on the track not pit road. They even have mishaps in cup and people have been injured. Its going to take someone getting killed before anyone is smart enough to do anything about it!

  16. Buddy,
    That seems a little aggresive. Pit stops are part of the sport and have been forever. How many people have been seriously injured or killed on pit road at Stafford in the past 30 years? Saying you should just get rid of live pits stops because something that hasn’t happened might happen is like saying the NFL should eliminate tackling and become flag football because someone might get hurt.

  17. I thought the race was really good. 4 heats, 2 consis, and an LCQ just to set the main event! Despite bad moves by a few drivers towards the end, it was still a great race day overall.
    Doug, sorry about all the math, but that was a perfect example of why they don’t race them on paper. Figures the first time I don’t pick Silk, he wins! I gave a shining example of “hero to zero” on my last two picks. At least i have a good shot at beating my most recent score next time!

  18. For the sake of argument I’ll take the devil’s advocate position on competition pit stops.
    Regarding the NFL analogy. Tackling in the NFL is a fundamental structural part of the game. Competition pit stops are an optional element. The NFL has mandated specific limitations to tackling in the interest of player safety. One could view going to frozen field pit stops the same way.
    A lot of things were tradition in racing but were changed. The mod chassis’ were so rigid they could cause injury in a wreck so they redesigned them to give the front and back clips more give. The Hans device, and helmet restraint built into the seat frame a departure from tradition. Crate engines, crate cars, rental cars, lease cars, the reduction of production vehicle based race divisions and in Stafford’s case complete elimination. Stafford used to start races in turn three and by the time the cars got to the front stretch all hell could be breaking lose. We used to use VW and boat gas tanks in the Streets. No one was ever burned alive or even burned to my recollection but they mandated the fuel cell anyway. Safer barriers, the entire fencing system protecting the stands a departure from tradition. Heck go back far enough to the days when modifieds were street cars with waste pipe for roll cages and a plain bucket seat with not even a head rest and the idea of tradition for tradition’s sake seems to almost be irrelevant over time.
    Many changes made after injuries, many implemented to avoid possible injuries. With regard to pitting I’d ask why we need to wait for someone to get hurt to make the change?
    I can answer that question actually. It’s not about tradition so much as the entertainment value of live pit stops that add a critical element to the race. This is where my view departs from most of you.
    Watching the SMART races early in the season they had a mandatory pit stop at lap 35 with the field frozen. Not only did I not feel cheated by the absence of pit stops for position the pitting did provide drama. The field racked up once again with cars making changes to set ups and tires that changed there performance level. In some cases dramatically.
    Most tracks are not set up for competition pitting in any event. I’d argue that if you give the teams more time to make changes that can enhance their cars performance that alone will change the race dynamic and add drama.
    Those folks on pit road are like we in the audience. Some older, maybe a little heavier and most not having the constant practice that helps the professionals get acclimated to potential dangers that surround them.
    SMART made the cone a big deal in tour modified circles and I’m hoping their idea of a mandatory pit stop and frozen field will gain momentum up here as well over time without someone getting hurt to force it’s consideration.

  19. Baldwin is just like his father never his fault always blames someone or something else! Sorry but it’s the Spotter and Crew Chiefs job to help guide the car in and out of pit road!! Little communication goes a long way! I’ve pitted on that pit road since the 70’s never had a single problem!!

  20. Regarding Baldwin playing the infinite victim card 🃏, racers know they race the track, and that includes pit road. Now if they want to be big jerks and do demo derby on pit road, that’s what’s gonna happen. Without a doubt, Stafford pit road is tight, but it is tight for everyone. They have to be aware and careful on pit road as they are on the racing surface. If they want to play chicken, somebody is gonna have to back off, or both cars can get hurt. It’s a gamble they take, regardless of the pit conditions, it happens everywhere.

  21. Shawn the modified tour has had competition yellow pitstops at Loudon which has a huge pit lane for years. The crews made all the changes they wanted. As Doug said the cars were set up to go the best.Tell me if any race is more competitive and entertaining and keep you on the edge of your seat than at Loudon! I would be way more proud to win a race on the track than on pit road.

  22. No dry I don’t think your wrong

  23. Not sure how dry came out instead of stu

  24. Dareal, perfect summary. All competitors face the same problems due to track configuration, including pit road.

  25. Elect typed: “Not sure how dry came out instead of stu”

    Look at the location of the letters s, d, and t, r, and u, y on a keyboard and see if you can figure it out.

  26. What happened to MCJr on pit road that triggered the Baldwin comments? Is any video of the incident available?

    I’m neutral on “live” pit stops in tight spaces, particularly in a relatively short 80 lap event. Live pit stops add some drama. However, they present a safety issue that may no longer be acceptable (particularly if Stafford’s pit road isn’t going to be improved). Tires changes during “frozen field” pit stops would be OK with me.

  27. Rafter Fan,
    Christopher’s car was hit by another car as he coming out of his pit box.

  28. I agree with no live pit stops – Never been a big fan of them. Let the racing be done on the track not pit lane

  29. Anyone know why Baldwin wasn’t fined like other have this year at Stafford? In fact at the same event – Nick Anglace – Infraction- Actions detrimental to the sport, swearing over the P.A.

    Where’s the consistency?

  30. Goldy,
    Baldwin’s outburst over the microphone was during the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series event so any penalty would be up to series management on that deal.

  31. I see… thanks Shawn…

  32. instead of banning live pitstops,, lets ban live pit interviews…

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