Extra Special: Keith Rocco Adds SK Modified Victory On Milestone Night At Speedbowl

Keith Rocco

Keith Rocco

WATERFORD – Keith Rocco started his evening at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl by ascending the throne as the all-time wins king at the shoreline oval.

He ended the night by extending his hold at the top of that list.

Rocco ran away with victory in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified.

“Last week we finished second to Ted [Christopher] and it made me work harder,” Rocco said. “There’s nothing worse than finishing second to Ted. He’s the best. It made me step up my game this week and it showed. I’ve got to thank my whole team.”

It was the 108th career victory at Waterford for Rocco.

Rocco opened the night’s features at Waterford Saturday by winning the 30-lap Late Model feature to take over sole possession of the top spot on the track’s all-time win list. He had come into the evening tied with Phil Rondeau at the top of the list with 106 wins.

The 30-year old Rocco had 103 victories at the conclusion of the 2014 season. The biggest worry about reaching the record for him was if there would even be a track to compete at in 2015. A foreclosure auction held October 18, 2014 had many wondering if the track would be purchased by an individual or group not wanting to keep the facility running.

Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer won the auction and announced that day he was keeping the track open.

“I think the relief was more hearing that Bruce Bemer bought the racetrack and was going to run it as a racetrack,” Rocco said. “That was the relief. I knew we’d come out and win races, it was only a matter of time. But the big relief was hearing that the Speedbowl was going to open.”

It was Rocco’s 67th career SK Modified division, which is the all-time best at the track.

“This night is awesome,” Rocco said. “I really wanted to get the record in the [SK Modified]. All my friends and sponsors were saying ‘Just throw the Late Model race away.’ I’m a true racer, that’s not possible. But to back it up with the SK [Modified] was great.”

The Late Model win Saturday was his 30th in that division. He got his first career victory at the track in a Limited Sportsman at the track on Aug 30, 2003.

He also has four Limited Sportsman wins, three Valenti Modified Racing Series victories, two Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series wins, one Pro Four Modified win and one NEMA Lite win.

Of his 107 victories, 103 have come since May 3, 2008 when he got his first SK Modified win at the track. Rondeau recorded his 106 wins between 1983-2004.

“To do it in the short period of time at my age is something most people probably wouldn’t believe,” Rocco said. 

Rocco has won two of the five SK Modified features at the track in 2015. Diego Monahan of Quaker Hill was second and Joey Gada of Salem third.

Rocco went to the lead with 24 laps remaining in the SK Modified feature feature and never was challenged again. He held nearly a half a lap lead over Monahan when the race ended.

“We needed good runs,” Monahan said. “We just needed a couple good runs to get the momentum going.”

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