Jeff Rocco Closes Season At Waterford With First Career SK Modified Victory

WATERFORD – It was a victory founded in years of daydreaming in the premier event Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Jeff Rocco celebrates on top of his car Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl

Years of imagining what it would be like to stand in victory lane after driving a Modified to a win came to an end when Jeff Rocco won the 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American SK Modified feature at the Waterford Finale.

Jeff Rocco is the twin brother of former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short track national champion Keith Rocco and son of former Modified great Ronnie Rocco.

“It means a lot of join my brother and my father here, they’ve won in the past in Modifieds here and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid,” Jeff Rocco said. “The car was absolutely perfect tonight, I mean absolutely flawless.”

Todd Ceravolo of Gales Ferry was second and Shawn Monahan of Waterford third.

Jeff Rocco is in his first season driving full-time for SK Modified team owners Mike and Mark Pane.

“They gave me a huge opportunity,” Jeff Rocco said. “They let a kid drive a racecar that didn’t have any experience because we had a good friendship before this. Those two guys said ‘We’ll take it week by week’ and they stuck it out the whole season with me and here we are in victory lane. … I can’t thank them guys enough. It’s like giving a kid a dream or letting him live his dream.”

Keith Rocco is a two-time SK Modified division champion at Waterford and second all-time at the track in SK Modified victories with 36.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Jeff Rocco said. “Nobody steps back and realizes that coming into this season I never drove anything before. I ran six races in a Legend car. I never had a start in a Strictly Stock or a Late Model or anything. I think I had two starts in a Modified before this [season]. Coming into this season I was really as much of a rookie as anybody. So it’s good to kind of step out of the box and let people know I can drive too.

“It’s not so much the going fast part. When I got in the car in the beginning of the year I was fast. But it’s racing hard and being able to make passes and get the job done against good competition. That’s what I learned how to do.”

It was clear early in the season that Jeff Rocco could be a threat to win before the end of the year.

“The longer the season went on the heavier the weight got,” Jeff Rocco said. “There was a few times I was kicking myself in the butt coming into this race because I said I’ve only got one chance left and I felt like I gave up a few.

“You’ve got to lose a race before you can win a race. I lost a race earlier this year on a restart and it wasn’t going to happen again.”

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