Steve Masse To Fill In For Injured Keith Rocco In Boehler Racing Whelen Modified Tour Ride

It’s not exactly the way Steve Masse dreamed of making his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut, but he’ll take it all the same.

(Photo: NASCAR)

Masse, of Bellingham, Mass., will be behind the wheel of the Boehler Racing Enterprises Whelen Modified Tour car for Friday’s Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Masse is filling in for the injured Keith Rocco in the BRE car.

“I was pumped up when they called me and asked me to do this,” Masse said. “Overly ecstatic. I can’t believe they called me. I can’t wait for the opportunity to drive that car.”

Rocco, of Wallingford, is in his first year running full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour. He sustained a dislocated left wrist and fractured arm in a practice crash Sunday at Thompson International Speedway. Rocco is scheduled to have surgery at the UConn Health Center in Farmington on Friday.

“It is what it is,” Masse said of having to step in for the injured Rocco. “It happens every day in sports, people get hurt. It’s unfortunate fort Keith but I’m just going out to do what I can with the opportunity I’ve got.”

It’s unclear how long Rocco will be out of the car, though it’s likely he will also miss next Thursday’s Budweiser 150 at Thompson International Speedway.

The 22-year old Masse is a former regular on the Valenti Modified Racing Series. He has made three starts in the division this year. He has one career Southern Whelen Modified Tour start, coming last September at Thompson. Masse seemingly won that event, crossing the finish line first, but he was penalized by NASCAR for jumping a late restart.

BRE president Mike Boehler said seeing Masse run from the rear of the field to a third place finish in the Open Modified show Wednesday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway helped him make the decision to put him in the car.

“He’s been good,” Boehler said. “He always runs up front. He’s a hard charger, clean and he’s done a real good job.”

Boehler said right now it’s a one-race deal with Masse.

“We’ll go from there and see what happens,” Boehler said. “After that we’ll make a decision about [the next event at] Thompson over the weekend.”

Said Masse: “Hopefully it goes well and I can make it work for them.”

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