Keith Rocco Beats The Weather And The Competition For SK Modified Win At Thompson

THOMPSON – Keith Rocco is a sporting a brace on his left wrist after breaking it last month during an event at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Keith Rocco celebrates an SK Modified victory at Thompson Speedway Thursday

“They said wear it for high risk activities, I consider this high risk,” Rocco said after Thursday’s SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson International Speedway.

But was it a little more high risk than it should have been? That was the question Rocco was asking, despite coming out victorious in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Thursday.

Woody Pitkat of Stafford was second and Ryan Preece of Berlin third.

It was the second victory in three events this year at Thompson for Rocco, of Wallingford, who won the season opener on April 14.

Pitkat used a diving move on lap 25 to take the top spot from Rocco, but Rocco fought back two laps later to retake the lead for good.

Preece made a bid to get into the battle for the lead on lap 29, but it allowed Rocco to get away from his pursuers on the final lap.

“You know the battles here coming out of [turn] four on the last lap, it’s never over,” Rocco said. “But the way it fell today, when Preece took that last shot at me with two to go it kind of bunched him and Woody up enough to give me a little run to get away two or three car lengths, enough to save me at the end.”

Rocco was leading the race when caution flew on lap 20 for a hard wreck involving Stan Mertz and Nick Boivin. While under caution rain started falling at the track, causing a delay. At one point during the delay, the cars were brought to pit road so drivers could get their windshields wiped off.

The drivers were sent back out on the track to run hot laps and tell officials if the track was ready to race on or not. Rocco said officials made a bad call on restarting the event.

“I’m happy I won, but it was definitely a risky situation making the call that they did,” Rocco said.

Pitkat said he felt the track was ready to race on but said it others might have felt differently.

“Obviously it’s hard,” Pitkat said. “They were trying to ask me what I thought. I couldn’t see it coming down straight, all I could see was it coming down on the windshield. Obviously we want to race, being in the car, being all high-strung and wanting to go back to racing. And the [officicials], they have to be more in control instead of having us [decide]. We washed the window and it was real bad. I said ‘Have them give us some hot laps and we’ll see.’

“I know it’s hard. I know [first year race director Jeff Zuidema is new and he’s doing the best that he can and he kind of sees it from our standpoint because he’s a [former racer]. But honestly, it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as bad as maybe it looked in the stands.”

Preece said he didn’t see any issues.

“I didn’t think the track was bad,” Preece said. “We all raced and we all raced pretty hard. I thought it was a good race. As a leader, I probably would say the same thing as Keith. And as Woody, I would say the same thing as Woody. Me, I knew I had a good car, hell I’d race in the snow, I wouldn’t care.

“I was happy that Thompson did whatever they could to get the show in. It worked out, it was a great race, I had fun and I couldn’t say anything more about it.”

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