Keith Rocco Rolls To SK Modified Victory At New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Keith Rocco

Keith Rocco

Editors Note: Following the publishing of this article, second place finisher Ted Christopher was disqualified from his finish after his car was found to have an illegal intake in post race tech inspection. 

WATERFORD – There was plenty of newness going on at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday.

New ownership, new management, new paint, new concessions were all on display at the Speedbowl Saturday.

But when it came to the track’s premier NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division, it was the same old same, Keith Rocco domination.

Rocco, of Wallingford, rolled to victory in the 35-lap Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at the season opening event at the Speedbowl Saturday night.

It was the 104th career victory at the Speedbowl, drawing him within two victories of tying Phil Rondeau atop the track’s list of all-time winningest drivers. Rocco later won the 30-lap Late Model feature to close to within one victory of tying Rondeau.

Ted Christopher of Plainville was second and Rob Janovic Jr. of Waterford third.

Rocco started on the pole and went to the lead by Janovic at the start.

Rocco’s biggest challenge came about halfway through the event when he and Christopher made contact on a restart. Christopher ended bouncing off the frontstretch wall during the incident. Christopher fell to third, got back to second, but never challenged Rocco again.

“Once we got in a rhythm and got the tires back up to temperature [the car] was pretty good,” Rocco said. It was very greasy on the restarts with the cold tires. The restarts were tough. It’s just so cold. It’s hard to keep heating the tires. [Christopher and I] bounced off each other there coming to the line and it’s just tough on the restarts when its this cold.”

Asked if he had any issues Christopher said: “Yeah, when Keith put me in the front straightaway wall.”

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  1. Chris D. says

    Same old same old is right. Look, nothing against Keith, but the sk division at Waterford is not very competitive, it is going to be pretty boring to watch Keith win every week. True, Teddy put on a great show as he always does, but does anyone really think any of the other 15 cars really have any chance to beat Keith? Tonite he started on the front row, but even if he starts in the last row, does anyone think he won’t win anyway? At least at stafford there’s 5 or 6 guys that can win. And the late models is an even bigger bore. I know everyone is gonna say Keith is not legal…well, if the track is letting him win they are killing their own show. I’m not sure I would bother going back, it’s like watching the same movie every Sat nite.

  2. Teddy…how’s it

  3. Chris, I have to disagree with you on the competition. I would say there are at least 10 cars that could win on any given night at the bowl and stafford. There is always going to be a car to beat every season and Rocco is usually that car on sat night, he is just that good at both setup and driving talent. You are right if he is illegal and they don’t do anything about, they are shooting themselves in the foot. The motto for tech should be – you win the first time we shake your hand, second win, we take a close look, third win, you take your car home in a basket.

  4. Rocco actually had competition from TC and Janovic. He knew it too. TC was right, Rocco did push him into the wall on the restart and that messed up Ted. Janovic was closing till the last 5 laps. I do not think the fastest car won last night.

  5. Great job Keith. Not to change the subject too much but doe anyone know where complete results from last night can be found or at least the lap times as I could not attend last night due to having to work at the last minute? I looked on the Bowls website but could not find them.

  6. It looked like the same speedbowl to me. The same lights were out, too many red flags, the trucks are boring and they waste too much time after each race. I arrived at 4:45 and had to leave two features from the end so that I could get home before midnight and not freeze to death. Next week my cooler will not be allowed, it’s too big. If my cooler is not allowed in I will not be attending. I guess they don’t need the money.

  7. Chris D. says

    The point I’m making is, the track is not going to pack the house every week to watch the same guy win. Guys like Teddy at least have the ability to move someone out of the groove to get by. Last nite was not my first time at the bowl, I’ve been watching mods for over 40 years. I don’t see anyone at the bowl who has the car or the nerve to challenge Rocco week in and week out other than Ted. Kudos to Janovic for a great run…he had the pole but still couldn’t hold Rocco off. I don’t really care how or why Rocco dominates the bowl, its not worth the $$ to go see the same movie every week. Lauren, Stafford is different. Keith doesn’t dominate there because they have Pennink, Preece, Woody, Teddy, and others with equipment and ability equal to Keith. If you all think I’m wrong tell me who I’m overlooking that will challenge Keith every week beside Teddy. I will wait for the tour show to go back, let’s see who wins the sk/lm features between now and then. Meanwhile, I’ll spend my $$ at Stafford where not only is it less expensive, I’m seeing a different, better movie each week.

  8. Lets see- ALL NIGHT the empty suit race director made the right calls! From the heat race with mikey Flynn running the bumper of the 32 ledgends car and Flynn having to start at the back of the legends feature to joey walnuts not getting the win after he walled the 41 on the last lap of the ledgends feature. YET ON THE RESTART OF THE SK FEATURE ROCCO WALLS TEDDY AND THE EMPTY SUIT RACE DIRECTOR DOES NOTHING!!! Rocco new Teddy was faster and so alittle bump to throw the tow off worked well. This all comes from a Dennis Gada fan, not a Teddy fan!! You mean to tell me NO other crew or driver knows that BOWL but ROCCO? SAME OLD BOWL!

  9. Dick Burdick says

    Yes…How about a penalty for Rocco? Ted will need more power,too because Rocco would gap him coming off the corner.

  10. Chris D. says

    Great, the only car that could run with Keith wasn’t even legal. Again, I ask, who can run well enough at the bowl to challenge Keith so we wont be watching the same movie every sat nite? I’m not blaming Keith, but if that’s the way it’s gonna be every week it will not be very entertaining, will it?

  11. Chris, there goes ur theory that they don’t tech the front runners.

  12. Teddy got walled? It’s usually Teddy sending others into the wall.

    Teddy DQ’d? About time.

  13. Chris D. says

    Lauren, I know they tech Rocco, they never find anything with the sk OR the lm. So, again, there were 15 cars besides Keith and Teddy… Which ones can beat Keith if he doesnt’t break, say between now and the tour race? I want to know if I should spend my money to go back when I already know what the outcome will be. This is gonna be the 3RD STRAIGHT year of this! I feel foolish for going to watch this when Keith takes the lead by lap 5 then no one can touch him!

  14. Well now that Rocco got the 22 ride, some people should be happy he won’t be getting the championship at the bowl this year. I believe he’ll be missing two races.

  15. Rich,
    Will most likely miss three events actually.

  16. Chris D. says

    Rich, I bet you Keith STILL wins BOTH the sk and lm championships…there is NO ONE that can compete with him at the bowl. If I’m wrong, tell me who can beat him, cuz I don’t see it happening.

  17. speed kills says

    rocco has been in good equipment on the tour and wont win in that car ..its a more level playing field.. PS I dont think he will last the entire season in the tour ride. there will be differences of opinion etc ….

  18. Your right Shawn he’ll be missing three and with the new point structure I believe it will be almost improbable that he can get a championship. Am I right about that?

  19. In the late models I agree, if the low car count remains from what I saw last night no one can beat him, but at least he shouldn’t be getting the championship. The sk’s I think TC might be able to beat him this year. I mean last night he was right on his bumper until Rocco put him in the wall.

  20. Youhavenoidea says

    Chris our will make sure Keith is back in time to race the feature on a Saturday night when he is away on the tour don’t you worry about missing three races lol

  21. Chris D. says

    Ha, Ha, sure, someone else qualifies the car, then they do the old pit gate repair trick to kill time so Keith can get back in time for the feature.

  22. its all a scam…………… when you know what they tech before the race. good equipment my a…..s! The sk drivers should all be ashamed of themselves! They all know deep down keith cheats! hopefully Teddy will make it a point to wall Rocco every week and then tell the bowl where to go and then they can race with 8 cars in the feature.

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