SIBLEY, Louisiana — Time after time, we've seen examples of how winning races one year is no guarantee you'll win more the next. Yet the guys who study the game, the ones who utilize experience, good equipment and sage advice given by helpful friends always manage to pull it off.
For 28-year-old Limited Modified driver Conner Williams, it's taking a little longer this year to get into Victory Lane than it did in 2022. Last year, his first of three wins came on May 6. While he's yet to carry the checkers this season, he has six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 20 starts. He's almost there.
“I'll say our season is going OK, but not great,” Williams said. “It's not terrible, but not where I want it to be, either. They changed the rules this year to where we can run a B Mod against the Limiteds. So we started the year with a B Mod, and came out of the gate real strong.
“We had several good finishes; a couple of second-place runs and felt like we were really close to our win. Then we started struggling, and ended up wrecking that car at Thunder Valley. So we had to put the Limited back together until that one gets fixed.”
You can tell the veterans from the beginners, they always fight adversity head-on.
“I think we've had four starts in the Limited, and finished inside the top six every time with a second-place finish as the highlight. So we're really, really close to getting it back into Victory Lane. I hope that happens soon. These things are getting very difficult to win; everybody is so competitive now.”
Williams has ample experience to draw from, having put in the time and paid his dues from the start.
“I've spent about 10 years on dirt, but my first couple of years racing was in Karts, he explained. “So it's been about 13 years overall. When we moved up from Karts, we went straight to a Modified. I kind of got thrown into the fire, but I appreciate that because I got to race against the best right off the bat.
“That Modified class kind of dwindled down after a while here in our local area, so we stepped down to the Sport Mods and have really had a lot of success there. I think we've won 11 or 12 races in the last four or five years, so you can't complain about that. Especially given the level of competition we face.”
When Williams unloads at Ark-La-Tex, Boothill, Sabine, Thunder Valley or at any other haunt in his region, you can guarantee that competition will be beyond stiff.
“I feel like down here we have the best Limited guys around,” he said. “We usually have between 20 and 40 every night, it just depends on where we go and how big the show is overall. There can easily be 20 to 25 guys capable of winning on any given race. You have to have everything in order.”
When Williams suits up and gets ready to compete, he climbs into a very nicely-built machine.
“I have a 2022 Wicked chassis here built by Donnie Shipp,” he explained. “Donnie doesn't build a ton of cars, but when he does they're very well crafted. His cars are sharp, fast, and he's always there to answer a question any time of day or night. I love my Wicked race car, and highly recommend them.
“As for horsepower, I run a motor from Myers Automotive here in this area. He's been in business about five years. I still own the original 360 cubic inch V-8 he built for me. It's got all kinds of power, and is extremely reliable. A racer can't ask for any more from his engine.”
Along with years of experience and a top-notch car/engine combination, Williams has several great people and sponsors on board who keep his program on-track and successful.
“I want to thank Payzone Energy Services, Black's Metals of Eldorado, Pro1 Transmission, Pinnacle Roofing, Williams Construction Works, Wilson's Garage, JRP Racing Products, Southern Saas Hair Salon, CB Morgan Machine, Myers Automotive, Affordable Cleaning, Superbee Speedway, and J&J Motorsports.
“I also need to thank my wife, parents and brother, and most important, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I'm blessed with a wonderful, supportive family and great sponsors. I truly appreciate what they all do for my racing program.”
With summer now upon us and plenty of racing ahead on the horizon, Williams has his goals in sight.
“I'm not really chasing points at a particular track this year,” he said. “But I am leading the USRA National point standings right now, and would love nothing more than to be able to earn that title. But I know I'll have to go out and win some races if we're going to make that happen.
“Obviously, getting back to Victory Lane is the primary goal right now. We'll race wherever they let us through the gates, try to learn, and put ourselves in a position to win. The gap between cars has closed; almost everybody is fast now. I feel like we're gaining, and we'll have our chance to shine here soon.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Chaz Brzeseki