Coming off two consecutive victories, Ron Silk is back to square one this weekend.
Silk –along with the rest of the drivers on the Whelen Modified Tour — will take to Richmond Raceway for the first time since 2002. All but two drivers (Chuck Hossfeld and Jamie Tomiano) have never turned laps in a modified at “The Action Track.” Justin Bonsignore, a two-time series champion and current points leader, has test laps in a tire test, but no competitive race laps.
It’s a bit of a catch-22 for Silk, who understands the lack of experience puts things on more of an evening playing field — himself included.
“Richmond is kind of an unknown for all of us,” Silk said. “The majority of haven’t raced there before, but it’s certainly nice to be rolling in there on a little bit of a hot streak.”
Silk’s victories at Beech Ridge and Oswego have him heading into Richmond as the hottest driver on the tour. Another win would mark the first time since 2015, when Doug Coby accomplished the feat, that a driver on the tour has won three straight races.
Sitting third in the standings, 57 points back of the lead, title hopes are slim to none for driver No. 85 Kevin Stuart Motorsports machine. That makes wins of the utmost priority for the final three races this season.
In addition to his two wins, the Norwalk, Connecticut, native has scored three top-five finishes in a row and in five of his last six overall. He’s not too shabby at tracks for the first time, either. Recently, he finished 12th at Lancaster and sixth at Jennerstown last season, in addition to his Beech Ridge victory last month in Maine.
That’s why Silk is approaching Richmond with a positive mindset. Sure, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but it seems to have worked out just fine for him in the past.
“It’s been pretty good for me over the years,” Silk said. “South Boston we went to two years ago for the first time, and I won there. We had a race in Canada (Delaware Speedway) 10 years ago that none of us had been to, and I won there. I normally acclimate to new tracks pretty quickly, so I’m hoping that works in my favor at Richmond.”
Besides the positivity, Silk isn’t changing his driving style any despite never turning a lap at the Virginia short-track.
“You still go down straightaway and turn left at the end,” he said. “Just try and make smart decisions when we get there. And hopefully, we’re close with the car when we get there. That’s kind of the real sticking point at a place you’ve never been to. That’s our main focus. And if not, we react quick and make the proper adjustments.”
RACING-REFERENCE: Ron Silk Career Stats
In addition to running every NWMT race thus far in 2021, Silk has kept himself busy elsewhere, running the Tri Track Open Modified Series, where he sits third in the standings with three top-fives in five races.
“I love to race and I am fortunate enough that people want me to drive their cars,” he said. “I feel very lucky that I have multiple opportunities to do this and hopefully can keep doing it for a while.”
The Virginia is For Racing Lovers 150, the 12th of 14 races on the Whelen Modified Tour this season, will go green this Friday at 7 p.m. ET with live coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass.