Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Shawn Williams off to strong start in Eco Mods

DENISON, Texas — It’s a division often mistaken for “entry level,” or “support class” by some race fans, yet the talent level within its ranks is far from shallow. Take a closer look at the Eco Mod division across North Texas, and you’ll quickly find some very skilled drivers and results-driven race teams. 

Yet as much as these top-tier teams focus on results, it’s also about family. For third generation driver Shawn Williams, competing in the Eco Mod division is all about enjoying time with his amazing grandfather. He’s two-for-two at Rocket this year, with more wins surely on the horizon. 

“Over the off-season, me and my Grandpa went to Iowa and picked up a Northern SportMod chassis,” Williams said. “It’s very different from the Southern car I was used to driving. There are a lot more adjustments you can make, and it seems to be a lot better performance-wise.

“The car is actually a lot better than than the driver right now, but I really just have to get used to it. It likes to be driven a lot harder, and I’m more of a conservative kind of guy. So it’s definitely a learning curve. That’s where we’re at with it now, I’m still learning how to be more aggressive with it.”

Shawn is a cousin to IMCA Stock Car master Shelby Williams, and comes by his talent naturally. He’s now in his fifth year behind the wheel. 

“My Grandpa started racing back in the late 1960s or early 1970s,” he explained. “My uncle Jimmie followed in his footsteps, then my uncle Gary, my Dad, then all of their sons started racing, and I’m just the last one. You could say racing is in my blood. And all of us have won races, especially my cousin Shelby. 

“I actually raced a Stock Car a couple times for somebody, and finished second at Kennedale the first time I drove it. I really like Stock Cars, but Open Wheel is what does it for me.” 

As mentioned earlier, that Eco Mod class in which he competes is loaded with talent in North Texas. 

“A lot of people still think of this as a beginner class,” Williams said. “And that’s just not the case. It’s a division for guys who just don’t have the funds to compete in SportMods or Limited Modifieds. They can race in Eco Mods, and not spend a ton of money on a motor, or setup work and licenses. 

“It’s there so a guy can take an old SportMod or B-Mod chassis and go race without breaking the bank. And the best part is, you can have a blast doing it and still be competitive.” 

When Williams puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he straps into a more-than-capable ride.

“That northern car we bought in Iowa is actually a 2017 Sidebiter chassis,” he added. “Ryan Ruter built it; it started life as a Modified originally but was converted into a Northern SportMod. We are still learning about it; I’ve been working in the shop almost every night to win those two races this year.” 

Along with his immense natural talent and top-notch car, Williams has a long list of loyal supporters. 

“There are so many people who make this possible for me,” he said with obvious sincerity. “First off, I want to thank my Grandpa, Jimmie Williams Sr. He puts a lot of time, money and effort into my racing program, and I definitely couldn’t do it without him. 

“I also want to thank my uncle, Jimmie Williams Jr., and my cousin, Jimmie Williams III for all the help in the shop, and for trying to coach me when they see an area where I can improve; my Mom, Dad, son, brother and all my other family members and friends that come sit in the stands every week.”

Williams is also blessed to have a fine group of marketing partners that stand behind his race team.

“I need to thank Stanford Trucking, Webb Turf, WS&S Race Fab; Elite Glass, Stinky’s Scrap Metal, Diamond Pools, CarQuest Auto Parts of Paris, Texas; Don-Co Plumbing, HD Aggregates, CRS Suspension, Powder Addictionz, Dirt Defender, Revolution Graphics, Kustom Race Engines, Team 5 Enterprise and Patriot Racing. I appreciate their support of my team more than they will ever know.” 

Now that race season is in full swing across the state, Williams knows what he wants to accomplish. 

“My goal is to win as many races as possible, and to spend as much time with my Grandpa as I can. He’s 81, but still works like he’s 25. We all love him dearly. I also want to spend as much time with my son as I can this year while he’s still into racing. Family is number one for us; we all just click together.

“I’ll primarily be racing at Rocket Raceway, just because back when they took over that place I made a commitment to support it. I just want to do my part in keeping that race track thriving, because good, successful tracks like that are rare. When I’m not at Rocket, I’ll be racing up in Ardmore, Oklahoma.” 

By Phil Whipple, RaceON.com Staff Writer
Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern Sass