Keith Rocco Back In Front At Stafford Speedway With Coors Light SK Modified 100 Victory

STAFFORD – Week after week this season at Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco has had a fast SK Modified, though after six events he had nary a win to show for all that speed.

Keith Rocco celebrates Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Nicholas Teto)

For a guy that it seemed couldn’t go three weeks without winning an SK Modified race at Stafford over the past few years, it was a shocking development to get so deep into this season without a victory.

But Friday night Rocco picked one of the prestige events of the season to finally make his way back to SK Modified victory lane at the track.

Rocco drove away from Frank Ruocco on a lap 96 restart and went on to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Coors Light SK Modified 100 Friday at Stafford.

“I knew it was just a matter of time,” Rocco said. “From day one at the [Spring] Sizzler, we had a fast car and every week we had a car that was capable of winning. We knew it was just a matter of time before we got that first one.”

Frank Ruocco of Cheshire was second and Eric Berndt of Cromwell third.

Rocco had eight wins in the SK Modified division at Stafford in 2011 and 10 wins in the division 2011 on the way to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short track national championship.

“I don’t know if it was really about getting the monkey off our back or breaking the new car in, one or the other,” Rocco said. “Finally got it. Hopefully they’ll come easy from here on out.”

Rocco started 17th in the field and spent the first half of the event avoiding landmines as he tip-toed toward the front of the field.

“They were blowing up, spinning out, missing shifts, just everything you could imagine,” Rocco said. “And for some reason it was all happening right in front of me. I just kept the bumpers lined and looked ahead and luckily we missed everything.”

Rocco went by Ted Christopher for the lead out of turn two on lap 57. Christopher made a valiant attempt at retaking the lead in turn three on the same lap, but with no success.

Christopher went to the pits under caution while running second on lap 68 and from there Rocco went virtually unchallenged, at one point building a 10-car length lead over Ruocco before the caution flew on lap 96.

But Ruocco was left fighting for second place on the last restart as Rocco drove away from the field out front.

“I was worried about the caution with five to go, but we got some distance and just kept our lead,” Rocco said. “The car was pretty awesome tonight. We’ve always done well here in the 100-lappers. To be able to get this one as our first one, I would have liked to have gotten one before this, but I’m definitely not going to complain.”

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