Keith Rocco Snaps Winless Streak In SK Modified At New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Keith Rocco (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Keith Rocco (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

WATERFORD – On July 4 Keith Rocco scored his fifth SK Modified victory of the season in nine starts at the New London-Waterford.

And then he disappeared from victory lane in his Modified at the track.

With summer heat in the rearview and school back in session, Rocco finally returned to educating the competition in the SK Modified division Saturday.

Rocco drove away from Ted Christopher over the closing laps to win the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Saturday at Waterford.

It was Rocco’s first victory since July 4, a winless streak that spanned six events for the most dominant driver in the division over the past five years.

It was Rocco’s first event in about a month running without a cast on his right arm for a wrist injury he sustained July 29 at Thompson Speedway.

“That’s probably the longest drought we’ve ever had here,” Rocco said. “We just out of the rhythm. Then we had the cast for four or five weeks. … I got the cast off. These short tracks aren’t very easy with one hand, but tonight we had two.”

And the victory dramatically changed the complexion of the championship chase in the division.

Despite missing two SK Modified events this season because of conflicts with Whelen Modified Tour events on June 28 and July 25, Rocco now sits second in the division standings.

Rocco jumped from fourth to second in the standings. He came into the event 16 points behind leader Diego Monahan. He left Saturday eight points behind Monahan, who was seventh in the feature.

“I had a pretty good feeling that we still had a shot [at the championship] until the first night I tried to race with the cast and I stuffed it in the fence because I couldn’t hang on with one hand. I thought that took us out of contention. But I think we’ve got a shot now.”

Rocco has won four of the past five SK Modified championships at the Speedbowl, in 2010, ’11, 13 and 14.

Rocco started seventh in the field and bided his time early to let issues up front sort out.

“All the guys up front looked like they wanted to dice it up pretty good,” Rocco said. “[Timmy Jordan, Paul Kusheba and Dylan Izzo], they seemed pretty wild at the drop of the green. Things got pretty rough up there. We just kept it in line and waited for them to single it out and then we were able to show what we had.”

Rocco restarted second to Kusheba on lap 12. He used the outside lane off turn four on lap 13 to take over the lead for good.


  1. Shawn – what’s the story regarding the helicopters taking off from Speedbowl property(?) tonight?

  2. Rafter,
    That’s Bruce Bemer – the track owner – in his helicopter.

  3. Shawn – thanks. Any idea how the Speedbowl is doing financially this season?

  4. Rafter,
    I haven’t spoken with the track management specifically about finances this year, though I think they’re pleased with the direction a lot of things are going at this point.

  5. Management ! says

    They have a really cool new owner

  6. It certainly seems that the Speedbowl is having a successful first season under the new ownership. The level of offseason investment in track improvements will probably be a good indicator of financial health.

  7. So last week was one of the most exciting sk races at the bowl, this week one of the most boring. Well next week they got 2 chances to put on a good show. Rafter, as long as they got someone smart and honest taking care of the finances this year there is no reason why they shouldn’t have success financially. The stands and pits are packed every weekend. Plus they have 2 huge race weekends coming up. There has been talk of updating the fence, stands and concessions. Hopefully they can get some stuff done this winter.

  8. Never mind new this and that.The beauty of the speedbowl is it’s link to the past.Walking into the ‘bowl is like taking a step back in time.We are so lucky to have this track!If there are a few extra bucks,pay the drivers a larger purse.Thanks to all that kept the Speedbowl operating.

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