THOMPSON, Conn. – After success just across the state, Ronnie Williams is bringing his firepower to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this season.
Williams, one of New England’s rising Modified talents, teamed with Adam Skowyra in the SK Modifieds® at Stafford Motor Speedway for last season, and the team won four races and a championship.
Now, Williams is joining a Thompson Sunoco Modified division that is already filled with talent, as he will sit behind the wheel of the No. 50 Sunoco Modified for the entire 10-race NASCAR Whelen All-American Series slate in 2019.
“They had successful seasons before, and although they had never won a championship, the car was really fast and when I had the opportunity to go over there it was a no-brainer,” Williams said. “My dad was starting a new business, so his time was going to be limited as well. It all worked out.”
Even though Williams joined a new team, the eventual move was seamless and resulted in success right away.
“Once I went over there, we really jelled quickly. A few of them are into hockey, so there were just things we all were able to do together. We ran up front and finished second in the first two races together and Stafford and we just kept rolling from there,” Williams said. “There was a lot of hard work that goes into it with basically no off-weeks.”
At Stafford, a half-mile oval, Williams dives into the corner and turns a hard left getting his modified slowed down. At Thompson, Williams dives off into the corner, hits the high-banks of the .625-mile oval, and stomps on the gas as quickly as possible to keep momentum up off the corner.
The difference between the two tracks doesn’t seem to be bothering him. At the 45th annual Icebreaker weekend, Williams had plenty of speed under the hood of the car, but some parts failures cost the team two motors and a solid run. They purchased a new car to run for the Sunoco Modified title at Thompson this season.
“We went to the Test & Tune (on March 30) and we were fastest all day. But not even one lap into the Friday practice at the Icebreaker we blew the motor. We changed the motor from the Stafford car into the Thompson car that night, and it was running fine on Saturday, but on lap 12 of the race we blew another motor,” Williams said. “It definitely wasn’t what we wanted to do. It set us back a little bit, but now, we just have to be perfect the rest of the way.”
That perfection is what Williams will likely need if he wants to be in contention for the title this year. Keith Rocco, who won the last three Sunoco Modified titles, is off to another hot start after winning the 30-lap feature at the Icebreaker. Todd Owen and Woody Pitkat, two more championship contenders, also finished on the podium. Rocco leads the standings with nine races remaining.
“Thompson has always been a great track for me, even though I haven’t won there yet, I’ve always been fast. I’ve had my own cars at Thompson, I’ve raced for Keith Rocco there… coming there with the No. 50, I have all of the confidence in the world,” Williams said. “I don’t really know what it is to be honest. There is a lot of throttle control, just finding the right groove and it’s a lot different. Just keeping the speed up, and, I’ve been watching a lot of in-car cameras.”
With nine races left, the uphill climb for Williams begins on May 19, when the division returns to the track. He is still hopeful to turn things around and be in contention for the title come time for the Sunoco World Series in October.
“We will be contending for wins at Thompson shortly. Winning races will help give you the championship,” Williams said. “We have to go there and be perfect everytime. I know there can be a lot of cars. You just hope something happens where we can catch a break.”
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials are working hard ahead of the fourth annual Limited Sportsman Extra Distance event on Sunday, May 19. The five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will compete in their second race of the season, and all active military and veterans will have free general admission for the afternoon.
Prior to the next NASCAR event, Thompson will be busy with various different road course events. For the entire upcoming event schedule, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.
For more information on the Connecticut oval, visit us on the web or follow on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Thompson Speedway Press Release
Photo credit: Rick Ibsen / Speed51.com