Perfect Launch: Keith Rocco Grabs SK Modified Victory At Speedbowl Bud Blastoff 2016

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature at the Bud Blastoff 2016 Sunday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature at the Bud Blastoff 2016 Sunday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD – Over the last eight years, opening weekend at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl has come to be defined essentially by the dominance of one individual.

And that was once again the case for 2016 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Opening weekend at Waterford usually means Keith Rocco in victory lane, at least once, if not twice and Sunday Rocco continued his recent doubling up prowess of the track’s Bud Blastoff weekend.

Rocco, of Wallingford, rolled to victory in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature.

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

It was the seventh time in the last eight years that Rocco has won the opening SK Modified event of the season at the Speedbowl. He also won Saturday’s 30-lap Late Model feature at the track. He has swept both the Late Model and SK Modified features in the last five Bud Blastoff events.

“Just this first race, I’ve won both division for I don’t know how many year’s,” Rocco said. “It’s just pretty awesome to start off the season with two wins.”

Rocco is chasing his fourth consecutive SK Modified championship this year at the Speedbowl, and looking for his sixth in the last seven years.

Rocco started 10th in the SK Modified feature and wasn’t very optimistic that he would keep his opening day streak alive.

“This car wasn’t very good today,” Rocco said. “It got better at the end of the race. I just kept digging at it and kept working at it. It was to the point that we were almost thinking about coming in and making an adjustment. But we stuck it out. We didn’t have the car to win, but the fastest car doesn’t always win the race. We got some breaks. It’s better to be lucky than good I guess.”

Janovic led the field to green with Diego Monahan starting second.

On lap 26 Monahan stuck his nose low through grass in turn one to get under Janovic. The two made hard contact through turn one and Janovic was forced to save a sliding car through turn two while Monahan went to the front.

“I just saw dirt and dust flying and saw somebody go across the apron and clean somebody out,” Rocco said of the incident between Janovic and Monahan.

Said Janovic: “We were a tick off, but we were fast enough to stay in the lead and finish with the win. If there was a little bit more sportsmanship by the person following me than we definitely would have won it. And neither one of us ended up winning it, so where did that get us?”

Two laps later, Monahan ended up in the frontstretch wall while battling for the lead with Rocco.

“He had a tire or something going down,” Rocco said. “I was running him down pretty quick. I saw him come off of [turn] four and just go straight. His left rear was down.”

The Monahan crash gave Rocco a lead wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

“Usually when you start 10th or 12th or whatever, when they drop the green you know what kind of car you’ve got,” Rocco said. “They dropped the green and I felt I didn’t have a car to win. We just took our time and tried to get what we could. At the end of the day we got pretty lucky, but you’ve still got to be there to win the race.”

Christopher used the outside on a lap 31 restart to go by Janovic for second, but had nothing to challenge Rocco late.

“I’m lucky I got to him,” Christopher said. “I was just happy I got to second.”


  1. In his post race interview, did I hear TC acknowledge Pettit as his engine builder? If so, was Northeast Racing Engines replaced because of last year’s end of season DQ?

  2. Correction – TC replaced East Coast Race Engines with Pettit?

  3. JimBinCT says

    Some folks were mad at Rocco for putting Monahan into the wall, but I was seated near turn four looking straight at Monahans car coming off the corner and I thought I saw something broken in his right front. Like a steering issue. I could be wrong. Not defending one person or another. Just reporting what I thought I saw.

    Some good racing today. Glad the weather cleared out.

  4. There was other drivers too
    Besides tc and rocco

  5. Tc engine maker
    Is Ted himself
    He thanked petit because he put them on his car
    Mike and ted are best friends for a long time
    Ted has always ran his own stuff
    I seen his shop
    And petit get a lot of info from ted

  6. old observer says

    The track was on the scanner saying he had a right front flat just before he crashed!

  7. speed kills says

    Monahan put himself in the wall by damaging his car with his typical driving style.. if ya cant block then go for the “spot” that wasn`t there LOL.. teddy was a menace and rocco brought home a car that was not to his liking but persevered. please ask the track to NOT stick a microphone in Timmystocks face after a wreck.. he should sell his stuff, go buy a late model from LFR Timmy it might save ya a couple bucks ! I was ok with the rain delays and the effort to complete the show. the price was right and the improvements are a great start.. long live the bowl.

  8. Justafan says

    From what i saw my opinion is monahans right front went flat from contact of dumping the 51 keith didn’t dump him….my question is how in the world was the 78 not put to the rear to begin with? That was about as obvious as it gets. A little brother love or just total incompetence?

  9. OnlyIfYouKnew says

    to answer the question, the motor in the 13 is a pettit motor at the moment and he didnt change it to pettit because of the disqualification. pettit builds the thompson motor, pete from east coast builds the waterford motor and with it being a good piece and in the car already from thompson why not try the pettit. as for jeffery t saying tc builds his own motors with help from pettit, he hasnt done that in i would say 20 years, his brother mike however still does build his own for mike jr.

  10. Justafan says

    Ok so i just watched the video from sid and if anyone can say diego didn’t dump rob or that keith dumped diego is just either completely blind or just an idiot….diegos in car cam says it all.

    Now if pay close attention to the very end diego says F U to a fan threw the fence, how is that acceptable behavior? And i dont want to hear he was egged on or instagated because that’s irrelevant you bite your lip take it on the chin and walk away. Under no circumstances should telling a fan to F himself should be tolerated……period case closed

  11. OnlyIfYouKnew – thanks for the info re: Ted’s motors. Do you know if Ted plans to race at Thompson on 5/18, or at the other SK events there this year?

  12. OnlyIfYouKnew says

    rafter: at this time its unknown to be quite honest, take it a step at a time its a possibility, also depends on what happens at waterford the week beforehand.

  13. teddy fan says

    Did Ted Make it through tech this time?

  14. Folks,
    I know we’ve mentioned it before, but English only is the rule here for comments. Just making sure everyone is aware of that.

  15. Doug DiPisa says

    Is this better Shawn ?? The cheese is old and moldy, where is the bathroom ? 🙂

  16. Vortec Heads says

    Im glad Ted made it through tech. did he make it past the gates? Heard he “assaulted” the young Kusheba boy. I hope that rumor is not true. is he suspended this week?

  17. OnlyIfYouKnew says

    yes he made it through texh and no he didnt assault kusheba, and people were put on probation for the incident not suspended tho.

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