THOMPSON – It was a relationship in the past that proved highly successful for Keith Rocco and SK Modified team owners Mark and Mike Pane.
Sunday Rocco and the Pane family returned to racing together full-time for the first time since 2011 and the reunion immediately paid off for everyone.
Rocco held off a feisty Ted Christopher over the final circuits to win the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at the Icebreaker 2016 at Thompson Speedway.
“We got the band back together and put it right in victory lane,” Rocco said.
Rocco won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship while driving for the Pane family in 2010. Rocco will drive full-time in the SK Modified division at Thompson in 2016 for the Pane family.
Christopher, of Plainville, was second and Ronnie Williams of Tolland third.
Rocco went to the lead past Ryan Preece at the start and never trailed again, though his ride to the win didn’t come without having to play some stout defense.
Christopher moved to second place on lap four and pestered Rocco at the front the rest of the way. Christopher took a couple looks under Rocco over the closing laps, but couldn’t make any move work.
“It’s like we were at the [New London-Waterford Speedbowl] last year,” Rocco said. “Racing with Ted, it’s either me or him that’s going to win.”