It had been nearly four years and 42 races since Ron Silk last visited victory lane following a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race. He put an end to that streak Saturday night by winning the New England Cycle Center 161 at New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The win, the 10th of Silk’s career, was his first since August 2012 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Silk held off Max Zachem, who had a career-best second-place finish, and a fast Jimmy Blewett, to score his first NWMT win with car owner Danny Watts. After some strong showings before Saturday, Silk was confident the team could win, but did not think it would come this soon in the season.
“Three races in is kind of tough and I haven’t for whatever reason run well in Tour races here,” Silk told the media afterwards. “They have really good stuff. Danny is not lacking anything when it comes to the car, the guys are working really hard on it. Someone new is driving it and it’s got everyone really pumped up, everyone’s putting in a lot of effort. I thought we’d win a race this year for sure. Did I think we’d win the third one? Maybe not. I’m really happy for the guys, I’ve been making Danny spend a lot of money the last couple of weeks so I’m glad it paid off.”
The race was slowed by four cautions in the first 40 laps. Silk managed to move up from fifth starting spot to challenge polesitter Eric Goodale for the lead on lap 47, pulling even with Goodale on the outside. Silk cleared Goodale on lap 50 and only surrendered the lead once on a lap 145 restart when Max Zachem led the lap after Silk bobbled.
“(Restarts) were the only part of the race where my car wasn’t great,” said Silk. “If I was going to get beat, that’s where I was going to get beat. After a few laps the car was so good I could just drive away, and start peddling a little bit. Max ran me clean, Jimmy ran me clean, it was good racing with Eric early on. It took a few laps to get the lead, I think I surprised him when I went after it that early, just happy I made it work.”
The victory ended Silk’s 42-race winless streak and brings a lot of relief to the 2011 Whelen Modified Tour champion.
“I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to get back,” he said. “I’ve been close a bunch of times, since then for whatever reason it didn’t work out, but it’s great to be back. It’s not that I couldn’t believe it, just thank God the monkey is off your back. Hopefully we can get a few more.”
The relationship between Silk and the Watts No. 82 team got off to an early and strong start in February at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks, where the team not only came away with a victory on the first night of Modified competition, but got a chance to come together.
“That’s a good place to go when you’re new, and just get to know everybody, it kind of gets a little bit of awkward tension out,” he said. “You can build a relationship while you’re down there, know what everyone’s job is, what needs to be worked on. I think that definitely helped, anytime you can go race it helps.”
Silk also firmly believes that the team will continue to be a threat to win for the remainder of the season.
“This is a group that can really contend, we can run good every race and challenge to win. We got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
For a full race recap visit Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com by clicking here.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, LI) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen
NWMT New England Cycle Center 161 Results
|16||32||Tom Abele Jr||159|
|21||78||Walter Sutcliffe Jr||124|
NWMT Top Ten Points