(Stafford Springs, CT)—What to do for an encore? There lies the challenge facing Ellington native Ronnie Williams and the #59 Advice One SK Modified® team at Stafford Motor Speedway. When the final checkered flag of 2015 flew over the SK Modified® field, Williams wrapped up his best season to date with 6 wins and a sixth place finish in the points standings. Williams says the only proper way to follow that up is with more feature wins during the 2016 season.
“I don’t really want to call last year a breakout season because I feel like we have so much more to give and I as a driver can give more,” said Williams. “I don’t want people to think that was a breakout year and we’re never going to win that many times again. I want to be the car that people think is the car to beat each Friday night. Hopefully last year is the first of many for us.”
If not a breakout year, the 2015 season was a season in which Williams made it known that he is a contender in the SK Modified division. Williams’ 6 feature wins last year were one more than he had accumulated in his previous three seasons of racing at Stafford. Williams won 4 features in 2 seasons of SK Light racing and then had a single win in his rookie SK Modified® season in 2014. As good as Williams was in 2015, he was also just as inconsistent. After winning 2 of the first 4 SK Modified® feature events, Williams didn’t post a top-10 finish in the next 6 races. He then won 4 of 5 races in a stretch from late July into August to end the year with 6 wins.
“Winning those first 2 races last year was extremely big for us,” said Williams. “It brought a different level of confidence that I didn’t have previously. After we won those 2 races to start the season, we had a little stretch that I think I needed as a learning experience, you’re not always going to have the greatest luck each week. We won 4 out of 5 races at the end of June and start of August and that just brought a whole new level of confidence and expectations to us for this year. I think finishing the first and last races of the year is the biggest thing for me to work on this year. I haven’t finished the Sizzler or the Fall Final races yet. Especially the Sizzler, to start the year off and you’re already behind everyone is one of the worst things that can happen to you. I think I’m more focused on the championship this year where last year I was more focused on wins. If we run well, things are going to go our way and we’ll end up in victory lane and to win the championship I need to be more consistent.”
If Williams should need some inspiration, he need to look no further than defending SK Modified® track champion Rowan Pennink. Pennink had only 1 career SK Modified® win before scoring 5 wins in the second half of the 2014 season and then 6 wins and the championship in 2015.
“We just have to continue doing what we were doing in the second half of the season,” said Williams. “If we can carry that over to this season, we have all the same crew guys and equipment, we’re looking to do what Rowan Pennink did. He finished off 2014 strong and he came back last year and dominated. My goal is to win a championship and that will always be our goal. To do that, we have to finish races even when we might not have the best car or a winning car. If you don’t finish well, that’s a lot of points you’re missing out on so I need to do a better job of finishing races. I can’t wait to get back racing. I’ve been telling Stash [Butova] since January that I’m ready to go racing. We have high hopes from last season and hopefully we can carry that over to 2016. Stash hasn’t won a championship since 2006 with Frank Ruocco so I’d love to be able to give him another championship and I’ve never been able to win a championship so to get a championship under my belt would be a pretty awesome accomplishment, especially at a track that I’ve been going to since I was a kid.
Williams will kick off his consistency campaign at the first SK Modified® race of the 2016 season which will be a 45-lap feature commemorating the running of the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. Action gets underway Friday, April 22 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 23 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions, the U.S. Legend Cars, and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, Legend Cars, and Mr. Rooter Trucks. Spring Sizzler action continues on Sunday, April 24 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party from 11am-noon followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds® in a special 45-lap feature and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets will be available at all 57 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores beginning on Monday April 4th. For a full list of the 57 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores .
For more information on the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen