Super Sub: Doug Coby Gets SK Modified Victory For Keith Rocco At Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD – Keith Rocco has won a lot of races over the past few years in ultra-dramatic style at the Waterford Speedbowl, but Saturday night he topped the drama of any victory before.

Rocco scored the win in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature in Waterford while standing in street clothes and an arm sling in the pits at the Speedbowl.

Although it did take some help him from his friend Doug Coby for him to pull off the magical feat.

When a caution flew on the first lap of the feature, Coby relieved the injured Rocco in the car. Rocco then took on the role of car owner on the radio as Coby drove from the back of the 25-car field to the win.

“I was expected to put on a show and this [car] is awesome,” Coby said. “ I really want to thank Keith for giving me the chance to drive it. This was [research and development] mission for me tonight to find out what it’s like to pilot the [No. 88]. I’ve raced against it enough so why not drive it.”

Kyle James of Ashaway, R.I. was second and Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard third.

As the driver that started the event, Rocco gets his seventh SK Modified victory of the season at the track and will be credited with the track points and the points toward the Whelen All-American Series national standings. Rocco leads the track’s SK Modified division standings and came into the weekend second in the national standings.

“All that matters is you cross the line first, you get the flag and you get the trophy so that’s all I’m happy with,” Coby said.

Rocco, of Wallingford, sustained a dislocated left wrist and fractured radial bone in a practice crash at Thompson International Speedway last Sunday. He had surgery on the arm Friday and was sporting a nearly arm length cast on Saturday.

On the first lap of the race a multi-car incident on the backstretch brought out the caution and Rocco ducked into the pits and handed the steering wheel to Coby, of Milford.

“It was picture perfect, that’s all I can say,” Rocco said of the lap one caution.

Coby then tiptoed his way through the field, until he found himself in third place behind leader Kyle James and second place Diego Monahan with five laps left.

“I’ve watched [Rocco] and he just seems like he’s always on the edge out of control but totally in control,” Coby said. “Being able to be a driver in a car that’s like that let’s you make those decisions. I was obviously a little more conservative than he would be, I didn’t want to wreck his car.

“Then he comes on the radio and says ‘Make something happen on this restart.’ That means it’s green light to do what I’ve got to do and that’s when I was third.”

Coby went by Monahan on the restart before the caution flew again with three laps left. On the ensuing restart Coby motored past James on the outside, clearing him for the lead off of turn two.

“I timed it perfect,” Coby said. “Right when Kyle went I went. I just shifted, put the foot to the floor and rolled this thing on the outside like I’ve seen [Rocco] do all year. He just didn’t have a great restart, he didn’t have a bad restart, I just timed it perfect.”

Said James: “He had a great car tonight. He had the motor to pull me on the restart. There was really nothing I could do.”

Rocco said there was nothing easy about watching someone else drive his car.

“It was pretty hard from out [in the pits],” Rocco said. “I think it’s easier from in the car.”

It capped a perfect racing weekend for Coby, who won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday to extend his lead in the standings in the series.

With the celebration over, Rocco and Coby were already plotting their new partnership moving forward.

“We’re already planning for next Saturday,” Rocco said.

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