Keith Rocco Finishes Third Nationally In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Standings 

Keith Rocco (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

Another year, another finish near the top of the country for Keith Rocco.

The most accomplished SK Modified driver of his generation has made it a habit finishing near the top of the national standings annually, and 2018 was no different.

Rocco, who competes full-time in the SK Modified divisions at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway, finished third in the final NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings.

It was the 11th time in the last 12 years that Rocco has finished in the top-five in the national standings and the eighth time since 2009 that he’s been in the top three.

Rocco, the 2010 National Champion, also captured his 10th Connecticut Whelen All-American Series championship.

Rocco, of Wallingford, finished the season with 10 victories, 17 top-fives and 21 top-10’s in 27 starts between Stafford and Thompson. He is currently second in the SK Modified standings at Stafford Speedway with one event remaining, though the championship has already been clinched there by Ronnie Williams, who finished sixth in the national standings.

At Thompson Rocco needs only to start the final event of the season on Oct. 14 to clinch the track championship. The Thompson title would mark Rocco’s 16th career NASCAR Division I title and would put him second all-time in NASCAR history and one behind all-time leader Joe Kosiski, who had 17 titles from 1985-2005.

Phillip Morris of Ruckersville, Va. won the his fifth national title, matching the record for titles set by Larry Phillips from.

Morris has finished the season with with 23 wins, 28 top-fives and 31 top-10’s in 35 Late Model Stock Car starts at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway and Dominion Raceway, North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway and Southern National Raceway Park, and South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway. Morris also claimed his sixth Virginia championship.

Morris finished with 670 points. Steve Carlson, who competed primarily at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in Wisconsin finished second with 623 points. Rocco had 621 points.

NASCAR uses a driver’s best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track within the state to determine the State Champion and the best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track in North America to determine the National Champion.

Todd Owen of Somers, who competes in the SK Modified divisions at Stafford and Thompson, was 18th nationally. Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott, who competes at Stafford, was 27th nationally. Eric Berndt of Cromwell, who also competes solely at Stafford, was 29th nationally.

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Comments

  1. old observer says:

    Another great season from a really good driver. You have to admire his consistency over a long time. He has the National points figured out. It would have been more interesting if New London was still a NASCAR track, He adopted Morris’s game plan of fielding extra cars for more points, but at least his cars are very competitive, not start & park like Morris’s

  2. Harold Carmichael says:

    Not trying to start an argument because Keith Rocco is always a formidable challenger for the National Title, but alittle mis information above. Philip Morris did not have/use any start and park cars this season at all. We raced against him all season. His title is legit and well deserved. He actually brought 3 cars to South Boston one time this season. It was an early season twin race. 2 of the cars raced in both races, no start and park, while the 3rd car sat in the trailer, just in case something happened to his primary car in race #1. All other races, he only brought 1 car. He won races all over the state of Virginia this season, as he has two very fast hot rods this season.

  3. Hillary 2028 says:

    I thought Rocco was going to race somewhere Saturday nights for points. Thompson’s short season didn’t help any either.

  4. As parents we are so proud of Keith. Racing is his life besides his family. Can’t buy talent.

  5. It’s really tough for someone from the North East to win the national championship. You have a limited season up here due to weather, down south there is a longer season. While running 2 or 3 tracks will help what does Thompson have 6 or 7 races which count towards the national points. Waterford isn’t Nascar so you don’t get any points there anymore. Seekonk is a different division and they reduced there Saturday Pro stock schedule taking their guys out of any national championship contention.

    Down south, Phillip Morris, the guy who won the championship ran at 5 different tracks. So there is more opportunity and more races to pick and chose from. Down south, I don’t think they handicap them like they do up here. Most of their races are started heads up from time trials. A lot of Southern tracks also run double features most nights. They just have more races to improve their win totals,

    In my opinion, the odds are stacked against the New England drivers. It is quite an achievement when someone from up here does win a national championship. Its a special season when it does happen. It doesn’t happen often, what does Kid Roc and TC have one each. I think that might be the only 2 we have up here. Nothing against Phillip Morris, he is good, runs a good program and is deserving a national championship.

  6. cg,
    They have to run 5 different tracks in Virginia\Carolinia’s because many of those tracks don’t run every week and if they do they don’t have the Late Model Stocks on the program every week. Plus they don’t really start the season much earlier and the end of the season cutoff is the same. The only real advantage they have is the cars they run are legal at more tracks. While the SK’s Rocco runs are only good for 3 tracks. but 1 does not run weekly, and another lost the NASCAR sanction.

  7. Ray Skoglund says:

    Keith come from a good racing family.
    I’m told he is a hard worker by people who know him well and have helped him past and present.
    His Dad Ronnie was a top gun when he raced, and his brother Jeff is also an outstanding driver.
    He is one of the guys people will look for as the race progresses.
    Good for you Keith.
    You deserve it.

  8. JMB it looks like Phillip Morris had 35 starts while Kid Roc had 27 starts to accumulate their point totals. So the disparity is 8 features, honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. I believe it’s your top 18 or so finishes on the year. So the more races you run the better opportunity you have to toss out some of your bad finishes. I think the year Rocco won he was perfect for national points.

    I would love to see another Northern guy win a National championship. It just seems like the Southerners have much more opportunities to race down there. If one track rains out there is another track you can travel to using the same car. So, I agree having standard rules and race class in the late model helps. Double features are more common down south so you have 2 point races in one night. Obviously the loss of Waterford and Thompsons limited schedule really hurts our SK drivers chances. The one thing we had going for us up here was our car counts were generally better here than down south. Nascar reduced the full field bonus car count a few years ago which reduced that advantage. Honestly our full fields aren’t as healthy as they were in the past. That is where you got some of the start and park field filler shenanigans in the past.

    I haven’t looked at the rules for nascar national points system in a few years and I am going off my memory. I may be wrong with some of the rules. I am sure someone will correct me where I am incorrect. Overall, I think Nascar does a good job with the National points system. It is quite an accomplishment to win the national championship.

  9. CONGRATS to Philip Morris for winning the national championship, and to Keith for finishing 3rd. Starts matter, the more racing you do, the better your odds are. They use the top 18 finishes you have, which makes it tough for a northeast racer to get the national title, using 1 type of car in Keiths case an SK. But great job finishing 3rd.

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