An impressive outing for Ronnie Williams in last year’s Sunoco World Series will bring a new opportunity. The reigning Sunoco Modified Rookie of the Year will be driving for John Jensen this season in the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park and Tour-Type Modifieds.
Williams will enter the 9 Connecticut races for the Valenti Modified Racing Series and the Modified Touring Series. The VMRS has 5 races at New London-Waterford, Stafford, and Thompson. The MTS visits New London-Waterford and Stafford 4 times.
“I think it’s easier on all of us and it will fit in our schedule easier,” Williams said.
Williams finished sixth in his first Valenti Modified Racing Series race driving for Jensen. Jensen’s No. 79 uses T/A Engines.
“I think we had a great time. It was just all smiles and especially when we finished sixth at the end of the night it was definitely a good step forward to like our relationship. … (John Jensen) called us up and he wanted to know if we wanted to run the limited Thompson schedule since its only like 7 races this year and we knew it was a good car. We’re going to have Stash (Butova) setting it up again and we think it could be a good opportunity for us.”
Williams will compete full-time in his family’s No. 59 car at Stafford. He is confident a harder tire compound will bring success like 2015 when he won 6 times. Tick Free Organic Tick Control and AdviceOne will return to his team. Williams will have discussions with his other sponsors soon.
Williams will also return to New London-Waterford part time. It could become a full-time effort if he is championship contention after 10 races.
Williams believes he has an opportunity for a Stafford championship. He matched track champion Rowan Pennink’s 6 wins in 2015, but DNFs brought him a sixth place finish. Williams finished sixth in SK Modified® points last year with 6 top fives and 13 top tens in 17 starts.
“I finished every single lap at Stafford which is crazy to me and we’ve got one DNF at Thompson, one DNF at Waterford, so I wouldn’t say it was a bad year for us. It just wasn’t the year full of wins, it was just more consistent.”
A relaxed outlook for last year’s Waterford appearances helped Williams. Williams made five SK Modified® starts with 1 win (September 3) and 3 top fives. He was the fastest qualifier in August 20 time trials.
“We were almost going there having fun. We had no stress on ourselves contending for points or wins or anything like that. … The win against Teddy (Christopher), which was obviously the biggest moment of our year.
“I didn’t really think I would love Waterford, but especially after this year and how we ran at it, it’s definitely a track that has warmed up to me.”
Williams finished third in Thompson points with 11 top fives in 12 starts driving a team car to five-time track champion Keith Rocco.
“He’s a hard guy to beat, but at the same time, he also taught me a lot. If I had any questions, he always was there to help … Thompson is probably one of the trickiest tracks I’ve ever raced at just because the passing is so much different. You really gotta send it in there if you want to make a pass.”
“It did mean a lot to me to know that Keith Rocco is able to help me out especially when how good he is at those tracks.”
Two of the newest members of William’s team have been contributors. A hockey buddy and his friend joined his team two years ago and have been learning by spending time at the shop.
“They’ve come along a lot and that’s something big for our team this year I think is just getting them more involved and I think they’re gonna be one of the key guys on our team.”
Williams is expecting a “solid year” at Waterford, while still adapting to Thompson.
“I know I’ve got the cars to win it’s just a matter of getting to the end and being in the right spots to win the races.”
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com