September 29, 2019
Todd Owen Wins SK Mod Battle, Ronnie Williams Wins The War At Stafford NAPA Fall Final Championship Day
A www.racedayct.com article
STAFFORD – It was a day for Ronnie Williams and Todd Owen at Stafford Speedway that illustrated just how immensely important every position gained or lost in every event of the season is.
After 20 events this year, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship was ultimately decided by a pass for fourth place with less than three laps left in the season at Stafford Speedway.
Williams passed Michael Gervais Jr. for fourth place on lap 37, which proved to be the championship clinching move for him in the 40-lap SK Modified finale at the NAPA Fall Final Sunday at Stafford Speedway.
Owen, of Somers, got his fourth victory of the season in the race. Owen came into the event in second place in the standings, six points behind Williams. Each position on the track is worth two points. William and Owen ended up tied at the top of the standings with Williams winning the tiebreaker on the strength of five totals wins on the season compared to Owen’s four victories.
“It’s unbelievable,” Williams said, “I can’t thank these guys enough. We worked hard all year.”
Said Owen: “I told myself before today that no matter I wasn’t going to be disappointed. I lied. That’s a heartbreaker for sure. Not just for myself but for every one of my guys, everyone that sponsors me, everyone that stands behind me.”
Stephen Kopcik of Newtown was second in the feature and Keith Rocco of Wallingford third.
The championship battle of the day was between Williams, Owen and Rocco, who came into the day 16 points behind off the lead in the standings.
Williams and Owen each finished the season with 840 points. Rocco finished with 826 points.
“It goes down to every spot matters no matter what you’re doing,” Owen said.
Owen led Williams by 42 points coming into the Aug. 9 SK Modified feature. In the event Owens was involved in an early wreck and recorded a 22nd place finish. Williams used a last corner pass of Mike Christopher Jr. in the same event to win that night. It left Williams and Owen tied at the top of the standings that night.
“We had a 42-point lead and lost it in one week,” Owen said. “You never know what’s going to happen. All we could do going into the weekend was come here and win and let the cards fall as they may. We did what we had to do.”
Said Williams: “I almost feel bad for the one bad race that [Owen] had where he got wrecked on the backstretch. I also made that move on [Mike Christopher Jr.] for the win on the last corner. That right there made all the difference. That changed our season and it came down to the wire. He did what he had to do, which was go out and win the race. And we also did what we had to do.”
Williams started eighth in the 27-car field with Owen starting ninth and Rocco 11th.
At the start it was Owen and Rocco going forward and Williams going backward. By lap eight Williams had fallen to 13th.
“I just couldn’t get in the right line,” Williams said. “We were lined up on the top and it just seemed like the top wasn’t going today. I was definitely getting frustrated in the car.”
On lap 12 Owen went by Marcello Rufrano for the lead. Rocco was into second three laps later, with Wiliams mired in 10thplace. At lap 21 Owen and Rocco continued to pace the field with Williams sitting in 10thplace.
“I was about to lose my mind,” Williams said.
But Williams began picking off spots one by one and was up to sixth place by lap 29.
On lap 31 Williams went by Rufrano for fifth place and quickly caught the bumper of fourth place running Michael Gervais Jr.
On lap 37 Williams dove under Gervais in turn three and came out of turn four with possession of fourth place.
“He had a strong car coming off of [turn] two and I could really get him in [turns] three and four,” Williams said. “It was just a matter of me hitting my perfect marks. I kind of three it in there … and I think we pulled him away from him a little bit.”
Said Owen: “We definitely can’t hang our heads down. We had an awesome year. Won four races. … It’s just going to make me want to go home this winter and work hard for next year.”
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