THOMPSON, Conn. — Ronnie Williams nearly won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park back in April, but came up just short.
An incident on the final lap dropped him to a 19th place finish, however, Williams paced practice, won his first career pole, and showed plenty of speed to run at the front of the pack.
Thursday, in his attempt to prove his Thompson speed would stick around, he was the fastest modified in the only practice session for the Thompson 125 at the Connecticut oval.
The Ellington, Connecticut, native posted a quick lap of 18.625 seconds (120.805 mph) around the 0.625-mile high-banks behind the wheel of his No. 21 Chevrolet.
RACING-REFERENCE: Thompson 125 Final Practice Results
He will look for his second straight Thompson pole, and his first career Whelen Modified Tour win later this evening starting with group qualifying at 7 p.m.
Rob Summers, who was at the top of the charts for much of the middle portion of practice, was second fastest at the conclusion with a time of 18.749 seconds. Justin Bonsignore, who has two victories already in 2018 and enters the race as the championship points leader, was third with a lap of 18.755 seconds.
Bobby Santos III and Jon McKennedy completed the top five spots. McKennedy was leading the Icebreaker 150 in April before his fuel tank ran dry inside the final 10 laps.
Six through 10 went to defending race winner Ryan Preece, defending series champion Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink and Chase Dowling.
Ron Silk’s No. 85 went up in smoke down the backstretch, and he has since withdrawn from the race with a mechanical failure. Ray Parent, who is the defending Thompson Late Model champion and is making his debut in the Thompson 125, went for a spin in the turn one grass at about the halfway point, but was able to continue without damage.
Even though Santos posted the fourth best speed, he won’t be in competition the rest of the night because of a motor issue that will force the Tinio Racing team to load the car into the trailer.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for group qualifying at 7 p.m., while the Thompson 125 is just one race in a full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing tonight. Fans can view the entire card beginning at 6 p.m., via a live stream on FansChoice.TV.