Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – When the SK Modified® division takes the green flag this Friday night, September 14, for their 40-lap feature, Ronnie Williams will be looking to put the finishing touches on his first career SK Modified® track championship.
Williams and the #50 Les’s Auto Center team enter the race with an 86 point lead over his closest championship pursuer Keith Rocco, meaning that all he needs to clinch the championship is to finish 18th or better. Despite being so close to the championship, Williams is refusing to look any further ahead than the race at hand.
“It’s exciting to be in this position, but I’m not taking anything for granted,” said Williams. “Until we lock it up, I’m not even thinking about the championship. There’s still two races to go and a lot of things can happen. We need to have a good, solid final 2 weeks and then we can celebrate and talk about it as much as we want. You really can’t focus on the standings. One race can change everything. I remember last year I was in the points lead for one race and then all of a sudden things changed. As much as you like to look at it, it’s pointless because everything can change in the blink of an eye.”
The 2018 SK Modified® season kicked off with defending track champion Keith Rocco winning the first four races of the year and looking like he was well on his way to a second consecutive championship. But Williams and the #50 team remained consistently fast all season while Rocco struggled through the month of July and the beginning of August. Williams and the #50 team took over the points lead from Rocco following the July 6 feature event and they have held the top spot ever since.
“The beginning of the year didn’t worry us at all,” said Williams. “It was still early in the season and we finished second a couple of times. We had an early wreck and we were like 5th or 6th in points but not for one second were we worried about making that deficit up. We still had a lot of things we could do to make the car better and all the guys on the team have done an unbelievable job. We’re definitely looking forward to the final 2 races and hopefully we can get 2 more wins. Going into this year I had one goal and Adam [Skowyra] and his guys all had one goal and that was to get a jacket for being the track champion. I think the key for us was showing up to the track every week and everyone having the same goal in mind. Everyone knows what they need to do and everyone wants to win every Friday night and if we can’t win then get the best finish possible.”
With the 2018 SK Modified® championship ever so close to being in his grasp, Williams says that he and the #50 team won’t change their approach at all to the final 2 races of the season.
“We’ve all been talking about it and we basically said we need to keep on doing what we’ve been doing every week,” said Williams. “It’s got us this far and got us the point lead so we’re going to show up with the mindset just like we did at the start of the season where there’s no points involved. We should be in good shape if we do what we do on the track. Whatever issues may come up, I know I have the best crew out there and for the last 2 races we’re going to try to keep on doing what we’ve been doing all year long.”
Jeremy Lavoie Ready to Clinch Stafford Limited Late Model Championship
(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Stafford Speedway Limited Late Model driver Jeremy Lavoie, the 2018 season has served as a breakout year. Lavoie has doubled his previous career high for wins in a season with 8 and he enters the Sept. 14 First Responder Friday / Final Friday Night Shoot-Out program on the verge of becoming the 2018 Limited Late Model champion. In order for Lavoie to clinch the championship, he must finish in front of R.J. Surdell and no more than 4 positions behind Ryan Fearn in this Friday night’s Limited Late Model 20-lap feature event.
“This would be the biggest achievement of my life and for my family as well,” said Lavoie. “They’ve been racing since the ‘70s and they’ve won a lot of races but haven’t been able to secure a championship yet. If we win the championship, it would mean everything to me and my family. My grandfather is in his 80’s and he’s seen everyone in the family race from day 1 so he’s pretty excited. It’s been a lot of fun this year. I can’t thank Aspen Hill Farm, L & S Equipment, Gene’s Ford And Chevy, P2 Perry’s Powder Coatings, and Delivery Solutions, LLC. enough for all their support this season. I also have to thank my whole family for sticking behind me, believing in me, and helping me do the best I can every week.”
As strong as the 2018 season has been for Lavoie and the #6 team, their year got off to the worst possible start as a mechanical issue eliminated Lavoie from the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature event and left him with 20 point deficit. Lavoie rebounded from that misfortune in grand fashion, scoring 4 wins in the next 5 races following the NAPA Spring Sizzler to vault himself to the head of the Limited Late Model standings. Lavoie and Ryan Fearn then took turns leading the standings during June but Lavoie took a firm lead in the championship race with a 6-race stretch from June 29 through August 3 that saw him score 4 wins and 2 second place finishes.
“It was a bad start to the season but we knew it was going to be a long season,” said Lavoie. “We rebounded from that and we just tried to make the car the best it could be each week. I’d say the secret to our success was grasping the handle of the car early in the season and work with that and make it better. We made the car consistent for 20 laps every week and it’s showed with 12 podiums in 19 races. It’s a whole family effort with everyone putting in long hours at the shop and we’re all happy with how things have gone this season. We never tried to look too far ahead and we took things race by race this year.”
With only 2 races left, Lavoie and his team are focused on putting a solid bookend on what has been the best season of his racing career.
“We’re going to stick with our same game plan we’ve been going with all season long,” said Lavoie. “We’ve been fine tuning on the car every week to make it better because as the season has gone on everyone else has gotten quicker. That only makes us work even harder to keep up. Even though we have 8 wins, anyone in the division can win on any given Friday so we’re going to give it our all and bring the best race car that we can to the track for these last 2 races.”
Tickets for this Friday night’s First Responder Friday / Final Friday Night Shoot-Out program are priced at $18.50 for adult general admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. All First Responders with proper I.D. can get a general admission ticket for only $10. Reserved seat tickets are $20.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.
The 46th Annual NAPA Fall Final Weekend will close out the 2018 season on the weekend of September 29-30. Tickets may be purchased by calling the speedway office. Discount tickets are available through participating NAPA stores.