Bearing Out: Keith Rocco Trusts In Crew Chief, Rolls To SK Mod Win At Stafford

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – Keith Rocco came to Stafford Motor Speedway Friday with major changes to his car, desperate to end a winless streak in the SK Modified division dating back to May.

And those adjustments had Rocco smiling after a strong showing in practice and a victory in his heat race.

Then his veteran crew chief Billy “Bear” Calicchio had some news for him that wiped his excitement away.

“We came here different because I’ve been breaking Bear’s stones that we’ve been too tight lately,” Rocco said. “So we came here with something different and we were pretty good. We won the heat race, kind of driving away in the heat race. After the heat race he said ‘It ain’t gonna work, we’ve got to go back to where we were.’ I kind of doubted him.”

By the end of the night at Stafford Rocco had turned from doubter to believer.

Rocco rocketed from the fourth starting spot to the lead early and held on through three late restarts to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at Stafford.

Joey Cipriano III of Waterbury was second and Chase Dowling of Roxbury third.

It was the fifth victory of the season for Rocco and his first since May 18. He had won the first four events of the season.

“I let him do this thing,” Rocco said of Calicchio’s decision to change the car’s setup before the feature. “… The guy’s been calling shots a lot longer than I have. That’s why we work well together. He let me try pretty much what I wanted to try in practice and the heat race and I thought we were pretty good, but he didn’t think it was going to last. His whole thing is he wants to be good on lap 40.”

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Comments

  1. Congrats to Keith and the 88 team.

  2. Viva race fan says:

    Bla bla bla…. Keith the cry baby couldn’t get it done with out help. So he’s not the great SK Guru he thinks he is. So many people talk about how great he is and setting these cars up well he went pretty quiet lately and the rest of the boys are catching up. Oh well

    I’m not a fan of arrogance and oh boy Keith is loaded with that. Love the kids moving up and doing great. The start of changing of The guard.

    Looks like rain outs tonight ..

  3. Chris Turbush says:

    No one wins without help period.

  4. Oh no, not Rocco again. That makes 5 wins so far. You’d thing between he and Williams passing excellence back and forth this would be a terrible season. Not so.
    The last two seasons there were 17 events completed. This year with no rain outs 16 down so far with 6 to go. It must be brutal on the teams but the car counts are still great for the SK’s, Lights and Streets.
    8 feature winners so far in the SK’s. Rocco 5, Williams 4, Berndt 2 and one each for Pennink, Dowling, Christopher Cipriano and Reen. The possibility of one or two other first time winners like Owen, Galko or Gervais would be the icing on the cake for a banner year for competition. That is no surprise since the best lap time splits in the top twenty cars is ridiculously light and a no caution breakaway from any car is always a possibility.
    Good season!

  5. Longtimetourfan says:

    Smh, arrogance… or confidence? The guy clearly has the trophies to backup either. Not to mention at 34-35ish the kid is solidly among the top sk modified drivers of all time. Love him or hate him he’s the show 90 percent of the time he’s behind the wheel. Dare I say just like TC

  6. Real Race Fan says:

    Keith did plenty of winning without this crew chief, multiple track championships (Waterford, Thompson and Stafford) so Viva race fan stop talking out of your ARSE, When you open your mouth you just show how ignorant you are.

  7. He started up front, rocketed from 4th, WOW, very impressive, handicap definitely a factor in the starting position and win. Start mid pack or further back, different result.

  8. I think that’s the point of the handicap system. Fact is in this race The Roc maintained top tier speed that mostly Berdt and Williams showed in the past. And as Owen, Talman and Vasser proved it’s really hard to stay in front if you don’t have the juice.

  9. Wonder how many new tires he had last night?

  10. At lap times of 19.19, two or more.

  11. Two or more new tires, great handicap, great driver = win. Not rocket science. We will see how it goes next week when he is back mid pack with the rest of the heavy hitters.

  12. The Roc paid his dues mid pack and on more then one occasion paid the price in getting caught up in things not of his doing. He’s also been second tier on the lap speeds for quite a while. This was the opposite side of all that. On the other hand this was the first time Williams got the short end of the stick in traffic and had to come from way way back at not the elite speeds he’s been generating. That’s racing.
    So you were going to go to Wings and Wheels were you humphry. You’re not getting squishy on the whole Speedbowl banned from your life deal are you?

  13. Doug,
    I’m not sure if you were present or not but the treatment on the track made a huge difference to many of the cars that are normally good. Talman was really strong and won his heat, unfortunatelly one of the crew members thought they were on there boat and mistakenly tied a boat anchor to the car prior to feature time. Mistakes happen

  14. My point is Rock started up front, great tires, very minimum obstacles and won. Easy peasy…….

    Speed Bowl, going with a good friend to crew on his MRS car, only reason. Went once last year, same race, that is what friends are for.

  15. Thanks Al. When I can’t go I “watch” the results on Race Monitor live. Your comment is interesting but I don’t have any idea what point you are making.
    I exchanged some pleasantries with some Talman supporters at the last Open and they were pretty cool. Loved the jacket logo.
    Troy turned a 19.33 in the heat and a 19.49 in the feature. Interestingly he turned a 19.47 in his first practice and a 19.33 in his second practice. They apparently erased the improvement they found somewhere between the heat and feature. Yes I know it’s simplistic but it gives credence to the anchor theory.
    I don’t know what the deal is but I think the team has consistent top 5 potential if they can get some kind of consistency.

  16. Hump. Agreed and glad you’re going.

  17. Joe White says:

    Does anybody know what the dust up between the 17 and 31 was all about and if the track will punish these 2 idiots? They were trying to wreck each other on the track , then they stopped near each other on the infield pit to fight. However there were a bunch of track officials there to stop it. This is not the first time Glen Reen has pissed off another driver with his antics. Just curious.

  18. Penalizer says:

    They finished 6th and 7th on the track and were placed 16th and 17th in the finishing order.

  19. getserious says:

    Ol Reen and his God-centric racing need to go to the Bible and learn what the “Golden Rule” is. It’s not diving in under your fellow competitors and making it three wide twice in one race, causing mayhem.

  20. geoffrey doppelgänger says:

    Bear is super genius. He is so good that Rocco wiil be winning WMT races next year with Fritos sponsorship.

  21. Fritos
    They went out of business last year..

    Belive me i have stock in ruffles and i was at meeti g where they said frotos is done..
    I watched wed night at waterford 88 was fast..so was stefanikk

  22. Dareal please comment
    I think dareal is the most smartest man i know
    Proud to say he is my protege too
    I only read dareal comments
    Gotta go my finacial adviser just arrived

  23. If the bearing is out, the crew needs to learn how to properly pack a wheel bearing with grease.

    Was that too obvious?

  24. Al Coholic says:

    Who do you speak so highly of??? Is that Dareal Liberal Fella??? I hear he took a job with the ClintonNewsNetwork and he’s Peter Storx Marriage Counseller!!! Stay tunned!!!!

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