Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – The biggest race of the season, the 6th Annual NAPA SK 5K is set to take the green flag this Friday, June 28 at Stafford Speedway. With over $34,000 in total posted awards up for grabs and a guaranteed $5,000 payday to the winner, the NAPA SK 5K is the race that all SK Modified® drivers throughout the Northeast have circled on their calendars.
One of the pre-race favorites has to be Ronnie Williams and the #50 Les’s Auto Center team. Williams will be searching for back to back NAPA SK 5K wins while the #50 team will be going for their third consecutive win, as they won the NAPA SK 5K with Chase Dowling in 2017 and Williams last season.
“It would be awesome to be able to win the race 3 times in a row for the team and twice in a row for me,” said Williams. “It’s the biggest race at Stafford. Everyone circles this race and everyone wants to win this race. There was nothing better than being able to hold that big check and getting those big trophies in victory lane last year and we’re going to try our hardest to do that again.”
The pairing of Williams and the #50 team could very well be a perfect combination for the extra distance NAPA SK 5K. Other than a 23rd place finish in 2014 when he got caught up in a wreck, Williams has scored finishes of 3rd, 4th, and 6th to go along with his victory last year. The #50 team has a pair of 6th place finishes in 2014 and 2016 with Woody Pitkat behind the wheel while Dowling won the race in 2017 and finished 11th in 2015.
“I think we’re a perfect combination in general,” said Williams. “Adam and all of his guys know what they’re doing and they make the car last for the entire 100 laps. Having the best car at the end of the race is the key and those guys do a great job with that so it’s up to me to do my job. I’ve been racing at Stafford for a while now so maybe I’ve learned how to save my stuff over the years and make the most of things at the end of the race. We’ve had some pretty good cars in the 5K and we’ve been able to put ourselves in the right positions at the right times. Last year we had a great race going with [Eric] Berndt and [Keith] Rocco and we were able to pull away at the end.”
Williams heads into the NAPA SK 5K fresh off a Modified Racing Series victory at Loudon this past Sunday and a victory in the $10,000 to win Tri-Track Series race at Seekonk on Wednesday night. With a third place finish in last week’s SK Modified® feature, Williams has some positive momentum in his favor.
“Winning at Loudon was awesome and last week was a good step for us,” said Williams. “We have some good momentum going forward and another win in the 5k would be pretty cool.”
Despite the NAPA SK 5K being two and a half times longer than a normal 40 lap feature event, Williams isn’t doing anything different in his pre-race preparations than he normally would.
“Every year I’ve had a game plan going into this race to make it to the end,” said Williams. “I’m sure the guys will have a few tweaks to make to the car to help it last for 100 laps and not just 40. This race is all about getting to the end. It doesn’t matter how many laps you lead or how fast you can get to the front, it’s all about surviving throughout the race and being there for the last 30 laps. Every race is different so you have to see how the race is playing out and we’re hopeful that we can be back on top.”
Williams chased the dream of winning the NAPA SK 5K for four seasons before finally breaking down the door to NAPA Victory Lane last season. With 6 winners in 8 races thus far in 2019, the competition in Stafford’s premier SK Modified® division is already at an elite level and the competition gets that much tighter for a 100 lap race with over $34,000 in total posted awards up for grabs.
“The competition at Stafford is second to none,” said Williams. “It’s very tough. I think everyone shows up each Friday night wanting to win, the NAPA SK 5K just has more money and more bragging rights. With an extra 60 laps, you have to make the car last and make the best of it.”
Be sure to tune to Stafford’s Instagram page as Williams will serve as this week’s Stafford Speedway Instagram takeover.
Discount tickets for the June 28th NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K are now available at your local NAPA Auto Parts Store. Tickets include a pre-race barbeque on the Stafford midway. A full list of participating NAPA stores is available by clicking the PARTICIPATING NAPA STORES link found at the top of the www.staffordspeedway.com homepage.
The 6th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K is set for Friday, June 28. Tickets for the NAPA SK 5K are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, and kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Speedway offers free parking with free overnight parking for self-contained RV’s available. Fans who do not have a discount NAPA ticket can also partake in the barbeque on the midway with some great food available for only $10.