Inside Out: Keith Rocco Uses Late Restart To Grab SK Modified Win At Stafford Speedway

Keith Rocco

Keith Rocco

STAFFORD – Pick a lane and Keith Rocco would find a way to make it work Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Rocco showed that outside lane, inside lane, it didn’t matter, if there was a lane open he would use it as the fast lane to the front.

Rocco used a late restart to go by Ryan Preece for the lead and held on to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway.

“I think sometimes I just worry to much about practice times,” Rocco said. “We’re not setting fast time in practice but when it comes time to drop the green [flag] this car is awesome. We raced it right to the front.”

It was the second victory of the season at Stafford for Rocco, of Wallingford.

Preece, of Berlin, held on for second and Matt Galko of Meriden was third.

Preece went to the lead by rookie Jeremy Sorel on lap 26. Preece briefly lost the lead on lap 29 to Woody Pitkat, but he regained the top spot a lap later.

On lap 34, Rocco used the outside lane to go by Galko for second place off turn two and then got by Preece for the lead off of turn four. But half a lap later, Preece drifted Rocco up the track in turn two to take the lead back.

But a caution on lap 36 set up the decisive restart between Preece and Rocco. Preece chose to restart the event in the outside lane.

“I’m not quite sure what he was thinking,” said Rocco, who started 14th in the field. “We got singled out there and I drove by [Galko] on the top and I drove all the way alongside Preece. He just wouldn’t give it up. He ran me up [the track]. I figured he was going to do that, he didn’t want to give up the lead. Then to give me the opportunity to give it back to him in him taking the outside, I’m not quite sure what he was thinking.

“My car was good on the top, it was good on the bottom. It didn’t matter where it was. When he chose the top it kind of baffled me that he did that. I was totally happy with taking the bottom. I figured he was taking the bottom and I knew I had a really good shot on top because our car was good firing up quick and rolling the top really good. When he did that, it just made my job easier.”

Rocco easily pulled out to the lead off of turn two and held off Preece over the closing laps.

“We keep getting better and better,” Preece said. “We had old tires on tonight and whenever I lined up on the bottom it seemed like I’d go backward and lose three of four spots. I did what I thought would work in restarting on the outside and it just didn’t work out for us.”


  1. beserious says

    Thanks for the coverage, Shawn. You have the story before Stafford’s own web site does! When I can’t make it to te event I want o find out what happened ASAP.

  2. This division continues to put out great races every week and most of the time its clean racing. No idea what Preece was thinking we all saw it like Shawn did, Preece rode Rocco up the track in 1 and 2. How did Preece not know giving the Rocco the bottom, he would do the exact same thing? That’s what makes these two such good drivers they know how to move each other out of the way without wrecking them. Any other average driver would cause a crash….

  3. This division is awesome. I see complaints on other stories about how they only cares about the mods. With good reason I say. There the only draw they have right now.

    The dare stocks need to be moved up to limited sportsmans or limited late models. 12 cars with 5 being rent a racers is a joke. Maybe try mini stocks as an entry le el division, I dont really know what the answer would be there. The Late models had 9 in the heats then magically had (14?) For the feature. For which they just wreck each other. They either need open up rules to allow ACT cars to run or find a way to get them to stop wrecking each other for no reaon. People might actually want to buy one and run it if they didnt have to rebuild it every weekend. I know its not feasible but they should try to run sone double features for the sks. They raced clean for the most part and they raced hard the entire time. Other than the 00 bringing out 2 cautions fighting for last place it is thrilling to watch them run.

    Just my 2 cents.

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