THOMPSON – In 2011 Keith Rocco rolled to an SK Modified championship at Thompson Speedway driving for Mike and Mark Pane.
It was a small part of the mounds of success the Wallingford driver had competing for the Pane family.
After the season though he parted ways with the father/son Pane tandem.
In April Rocco and the Panes came back together to run full-time at Thompson in the SK Modified division and Sunday they were back all back in a familiar spot, celebrating another Thompson title.
Rocco finished fifth in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at the Sunoco World Series at Thompson to clinch the 2016 division championship.
“It feels awesome,” Rocco said. “Mark and Mike Pane have always been real great friends and it’s great to be back together with them and having fun again.”
The Panes’s were part of the Rocco stable of cars, along with John Rufrano, when Rocco won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship in 2010.
Rocco finished the season at Thompson with six wins 11 events.
“You race all year for that one trophy or plaque,” Rocco said. “You race every night for a trophy, but this one is pretty special because it’s not just one night, it’s all season.”
Sunday he played big picture racer while Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink battled for victory up front. Ryan Preece came out on top for the win.
“It was tough,” Rocco said. “There’s times when you’ve really got to think about the big picture. The way racing’s been up here, it’s been getting pretty tough for the lead so we didn’t really want to put ourselves in a predicament of getting cleaned out or bounced off the wall.”