Rocco, the winningest driver in the history of the New London-Waterford Speebdowl isn’t used to losing streaks at the track. And going winless for three SK Modified feature events at the track is what Rocco considers a legitimate losing streak.
Saturday Rocco broke free of the negative and got back to victory lane in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature.
Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard was second and Todd Owen of Somers third.
It was Rocco’s first SK Modified victory at Waterford since the season opening event on May 8, snapping the three race winless streak.
“What worked for me in the past five years or so just isn’t working anymore,” Rocco said. “The new walls, the construction on the racetrack over the winter, I don’t know. We’re just struggling. We come back every week with a different setup and now we found something that works and we’ve just got to tune on it.”
With 31 laps left Owen moved under Tim Jordan off of turn four to take over the lead, with Rocco moving into second place.
On a restart with 25 laps left Rocco was able to use the outside lane on Owen and clear him to take over the lead into turn three.
With eight laps left Chadwick moved to second past Owen and two laps later got to Rocco’s bumper. But Rocco was up to the challenge of defending the lead over the final five laps.
“I was just lacking a little bite off [the corners],” Chadwick said. “We’ve done that battle plenty of times. … He kept it on the bottom and I knew it was going to be tough for me to get by him on the top. I wanted to race him clean. I was happy, with starting 10th tonight I knew we were going to have our hands full and our work cut out for us. But my team, they gave me such a good car. This car was a rocket. I think if I had some more time I might have been able to do something.”
Said Rocco: “Tonight was our night. I owe a big thank you to my brother Jeff. He gave me a lot of help this week. He came here Wednesday and tuned on the car for me while I was able to go race [at Thompson Speedway]. He came here all day and helped me and spotted for me. I really owe him a big thank you.”
Dennis Perry of Pawcatuck finished fourth and moved into the division points lead. Rocco is second, four points behind.