WATERFORD – Early in the evening Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco celebrated a milestone victory with his 50th career SK Modified victory at the shoreline oval.
And by the time the clock neared midnight Rocco was celebrating a big first at the track.
Rocco, of Wallingford, held on through a rash of late restarts to win the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon third.
“I really pushed in the heat race to see what we had and I knew we had a good car,” Rocco said. “In the race I figured I could either ride and try to save the car or I could get out front and save the car. Starting fifth, I just took what we could get and went to the front and rode.”
It was Rocco’s first career Valenti Modified Racing Series victory at Waterford and his second overall with the series. Rocco, who runs part time with the series, got his first Valenti Modified Racing Series victory on Aug. 12, 2011 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
“It’s awesome,” Rocco said. “To double up in one night, whether it’s an SK and Late Model, or SK and [Valenti Modified Racing Series], it’s always great to win more than one race in one night.”
Rocco took the lead from Pasteryak on lap eight and never trailed again.
Rocco had more than a straightaway lead with when the caution flew with 11 laps remaining. From there Rocco had to get through five restarts to secure the victory.
“I saved a lot of car right up to the end,” Rocco said. “I knew the good guys were going to be coming and putting pressure on me and we were going to have restarts. We had a good car in the end though.”
Pennink didn’t have the car to stay with Rocco on the final restart with four laps remaining.
“It was tough,” Pennink said. “There was a lot of fast cars out there tonight and coming from back in 17th to start the race, we had to work out our way up. … It was a tough race out there.”
Pennink came into the event with a four point lead over Tommy Barrett Jr. at the top of the standings. Barrett picked up four points with a second place in his qualifying heat and Pennink did not score any points in his heat.
With Barrett’s fourth place finish, Pennink was able to leave Waterford with a four point lead in the standings once again.
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