Numbers Game: Illustrating The Dominance Of Keith Rocco In An SK Modified

Keith Rocco celebrates the 2017 SK Modified championship at Thompson Speedway

Since joining the ranks of the SK Modified scene, Keith Rocco has proved to be the mainstay dominant force of the division among Connecticut tracks.

In a career that has bushels of milestones, Rocco reached another memorable one in 2017 when he became the first driver to win SK Modified championships at Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson Speedway and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

But think about this for a moment. Since Rocco won his first SK Modified championship 11 years ago, he has won nearly half of all the championships awarded at Connecticut tracks during that span.

A little bit of research done by local racing fan Paul Pond shone a light on the stunning statistic. Since winning his first SK Modified championship in 2007 at Thompson Speedway, Rocco has won a staggering 16 of 33 SK Modified titles handed out at Connecticut tracks.

During that 11 year span Rocco has seven championships at the Speedbowl, six at Thompson and three at Stafford.

The other 17 championships handed out over that same span were split among nine drivers, with the late Ted Christopher topping that list with five titles.

Ryan Preece has three championships over the last 11 years. Rowan Pennink and Woody Pitkat each have two titles during the span. Rob Janovic, Kerry Malone, Dennis Gada, Ron Yuhas Jr. and Tyler Chadwick account for the other five championships titles during the span.


  1. Wow
    Im like that in the finacial world too
    I have money

  2. geoffrey doppelgänger says

    This guy is really good under 450 horsepower. Mike Pettit is a former Formula 1 engine builder.

  3. Looking to buy says

    Would anyone happen to know if he has any any cars for sale? I can spend up to $75K for the right car. Must be painted, no wraps.

  4. And that isn’t counting his late model championships during the same timeframe. To me that stat is absolutely amazing given the driving talent in the SK’s. He has no reason to run the WMT to prove he can drive, although I’m sure he would do well with a properly funded team given a chance to run a full season. However, if you want to win an SK race or championship in CT, you gotta go through Kid Roc!

  5. I had a chance to meet Keith at the Bowl this season. He could not have been any nicer as we chatted. The picture I got with him is awesome. He is a true champion in so many ways. I will keep cheering for him each week!!

  6. I’ve never been a fan of Rocco but at some point you just have to give the guy his due. The good thing about the attention he’s gotten lately is that it highlights the powerhouse he has become as a car builder and developer in addition to his on track performances. WMT, who needs it if he’s got a winning formula, has fun and is home every night with his family. I’ll be strongly rooting against him next year at Stafford but only out of respect and only because I favor underdogs.

  7. Slow eddy, he tried the tour in good cars. Result was failure. Doug, not sure if he builds cars. He might bolt them together but a car designer or builder I think not. Who needs the tour? Don’t let anyone fool you. Any sK racer would give up their SK ride for a tour ride given the opportunity. It’s how to measure sucess in the north. Not SK racing in a cheater car with a cheater motor. Sorry. Looking to buy. Go buy a horse or do something better with your money. As they say in the movies….. you can’t handle the truth.

  8. Thanks Rick Dees. For the rumors,accusations, backbiting, petty uninformed nonsense, marginalizing of not only Rocco but SK racing as well. A jealous, scorned teenager couldn’t do it better.

  9. darealgoodfella says

    Rocco has always baffled me. He dominates in the SK and below, can’t find a home in a Tour, specifically a Tour Mod series. He’s tried it, and it didn’t work. And he’s been in good cars.

    He’s destined to be a B-list actor, at best.

  10. Doug. Tell me a car that he has built. Not bolted together but a car he got on a computer, designed, RnD’d, fixtured, welded and raced. Easy big guy. He’s not a builder he’s a assembler at best. While your doing that research I will pull up his stats on the tour. SK racing is WAY below tour racing. Your like my ex wife when it comes to the truth and dealing with facts.

  11. May not be a car builder but one hell of an engine builder

  12. Henry Lecomte says

    You hate him until you love him just as it was with TC I hated him however after watching over the years you begin to love them. And as far as car builder does it matter the only thing that matters is W&L

  13. darealgoodfella says

    Ricky W, Doug doesn’t let facts get in his way.

  14. Hate to break it to you Ricky W, but the Stafford SK’s are the most competitive division in the Northeast.

  15. Rick Dees, you may want to check your speed as well. Rocco’s one full time tour ride that I’m aware of was in the Bob Our 22 to replace Tommy Barrett. That only lasted about 4 races due to a broken wrist received at the Speedbowl, which got TC the ride. Further reason for me to stick to my original theory… If Rocco had FULL SEASON(S) with a PROPERLY FUNDED TEAM he would do well. Case in point. look at Tim Solomito; 1st year in the 16 – no wins. Second year – 3 wins (I think). Third year – 5 wins. Team chemistry takes TIME! Also overall I don’t think Rocco has had much seat time in a WMT car, and I would bet there’s more differences than similarities to the driving technique. I have no doubt given a similar circumstance, Rocco would do just as well.

  16. Some people just can’t give anyone credit for anything. I’ve said it before. Some people think if you’re not successful on “The Tour”, you’re not anything. Sad. Give the guy some credit for his accomplishments. He’s happy doing what he’s doing, and that’s all that matters.

  17. darealgoodfella says

    Fast Eddie, Rocco hasn’t had much seat time in a WMT, and I agree with you. Why not? Why aren’t the top WMT car owners fighting over Rocco’s driving services? He was in the WMT 3 for a season, and was not impressive, and don’t disrespect the 3. Think about it, Rocco with all his legendary engine building prowess should be able to bring the power to an already proven chassis.

    Rocco will be a legend at the SK level.

  18. We’ve seen this movie before. Ted Christopher shamelessly attacked. Now it’s Rocco’s turn as the top dog in SK’s. All he does is assemble cars. SK’s are a lower tier division. Rocco not fulfilled until he wins consistently on the NWMT. It’s an opinion, but not mine.
    I believe Rocco is a monumentally successful force in Northeast modified racing. A monster resume of wins, championships as an owner and driver and he’s so young. Has a stable of cars some of which he rents out. He does work for and helps new teams get started. Does he jig up and tig his chassis’s? Who does outside of Todd Owen. Does he tig up repairs? I’d bet that arrow is in his quiver. Is assembling cars and setting them up easy as some imply? Of course not. Does he build and maintain his own engines? I’ve heard he does but even if he doesn’t it doesn’t change his importance to the sport. Does being a business man with a broad interest in modified racing count at all? Does being a mentor to newer teams and furthering the sport mean anything at all. For me it’s huge and demands respect.
    The NWMT crowd unfailingly levels cheap attacks against any convenient target in the SK’s. I have no idea why you can’t respect the SK division and the NWMT at the same time.
    Enjoy the movie. It’s a repeat.

  19. Old man racer says

    When Rocco had a broken wrist, he continued to drive sk @ waterford and stafford.

  20. Mark Andrews says

    Da real….with every post you put up you continue to show your sad bitter self.i wish you to get well soon.your precious modified tour has been a loser for years.lets spend 200,000 or m more to race this test to make 40 or 50,000.thats if your able to beat the 2 with his majical flux coin a phrase are you for real da real?if Rocco decided to dedicate his full time to a tour effort it would be over for the tour.previous endevors have been in good equipment prepared by others.even if you are half as smart as you claim about racing… will agree it’s a total package of personnel,driver,and luck and money that win championships.he has 2 little children,a wife,a life.add to that he works full time for one of the top engine shops in the northeast.prepares and maintains race cars for others and leases cars out to others as well.i don’t know when he has time to sleep.also seeing g who mentored him in the sport growing up,he has learned where priorities locally with less travel and expense allows him to have a family….if he follew your plans he would have nothing!the tour has become a dedicated group if filjs with disposable income who do it as a hobby..period.even those with so called limited or low buck budgets still manage to pull in with thier stacker trailers and toters and the latest and greatest big dollar cars and motors.rocco is entertaining to watch and races to win.every time he buckles in.p.s…..while we are on the subject of your precious tour….as another never was in the tour how he did this season money wise and win totals….Matt Hirshman?Do everyone a favor da real and go camp out at the speed bowl and keep everyone on this site up to date on the ever fluid news story about the bleachers……can’t wait till the place opens with new stands and concessions on time and you go away for good and troll on craigslist or Backpage u der rants and raves.

  21. Ricky W. What the heck racing do you watch.WMT cars put on the worst modified racing showaround.Follow the leader lap after lap after lap after lap after lap.Sk modifieds put on the best show around and don’t need 150-200 laps to do it.Once in awhile the tour will put on a good show,but not every week like the sks at SMS.

  22. Dareal: I think when Rocco was in Old Blue the equipment was all theirs including engines. No disrespect to #3 (I LOVE rooting for those guys!) but they are not a high budget team, for sure. I think TC had more success with them in part because I believe they were using his engine. Tour or not, Rocco is fast becoming a legend in SK’s.
    Old Man Racer: Yes, but at the time he gave up the WMT ride. I’m guessing it’s one thing to run 35-40 laps with a broken wrist, but running 125-150 laps is another story altogether.
    Kevin T.: If the WMT ran twin 75’s or triple 50’s for separate points and $$, I would bet the racing strategy would mirror the SK’s – Get to the front NOW! That’s the biggest difference.

  23. Here are Roccos tour stats when he drove a decent car.

    2012 #3 boehler car: 7 Races 1 top5 and 5 top 10’s

    2015 #22 Our Car: 7 Races 1 top5 and 4 top 10’s

    I think he would run just fine if he ever ran a full season. It doesn’t seem as though he has any interest in doing that though.

  24. darealgoodfella says

    For those of you that are projecting the SKs as the best racing in the northeast, please reconsider.

    It is rare when the SKs can go more than a few laps before a yellow flag or worse. When they do run without interruptions, they can be exciting.

  25. I agree with Doug Rocco is a great driver car owner crew chief and engine builder all wrapped in one. I don’t think he has any interest in going full time on the tour because he enjoys Stafford Thompson and Waterford so much. And he’s home every night which with 2 young kids is important. Didn’t realize just how many championships he has and he has allot of years of racing left.

  26. wow!
    great piece Shawn. i knew K Roc was dominant, but man oh man, these numbers really illustrate his dominance! great driver for sure!

  27. Tour this tour that all the tour is us a bunch of rich guys playing racing. When the tour rolls into Stafford the car owner driver and 10 crew members get in for free. Yet the weekly racers pay double the price to get in. The racing is boring and if there weather in the area the weekly guys get screwed. I think if Stafford had a 150 lap SK race it would be allot more exciting than a tour race and the weekly competitors wouldn’t be getting screwed. Who wants to go watch a bunch of rich guys playing follow the leader anyway.

  28. Asked you before am asking again have you ever owned built driven crewed or even sponsored a car. If you had done any of the above you would know it takes allot of time money and commitment to even get a car to the track. Then it takes more money talent and luck along with more commitment to run up front and win . Everything I’ve read that you’ve written tells me you ain’t got a clue and should maybe keep your comments to yourself. 17 championships in an SK doesn’t make you a b Lister just cause you haven’t won on the tour.

  29. Still better than watching follow the leader for 150 boring laps

  30. The only exciting tour race is New Hampshire.

  31. Maybe he needs to try the Super Late Model thing

  32. I think the Super Late models at Beech Ridge or Oxford Plains might give them a run for their money.

  33. Technically you can’t call the WMT the cream of the crop at all. That would be the Monster Series. Then Xfinity. The WMT being kind of a regional third string deal with many comparable regional series of equal importance. I just don’t get the guys that treat the WMT like some elite bastion of racing excellence and we humble SK fans are an unimportant back water. They are all important.

  34. Maybe I have ADD and lack the attention span for the WMT races. But I love the SK’s and Lights. I’ll confess I get bored with the Street Stocks, Late Models and LLM to some degree. But man when the Lights come on the track the attention meter rises and those guys with full fields put on a great show. Then the SK’s make their entrance and it’s electric. 40 laps of flat out, no strategy, no tire changes, no nothing except get to the front as fast as you can. And a field loaded with talent and top names. Since 1980 there surely have been better, faster cars but the competition has never been better. I don’t see how anyone can find fault with that division.

  35. Hey Doug. Who do you think would be the late model equivalent of Keith Rocco. I’m undecided between Tony Sylvester and Norm Plantier as they both ran multiple tracks back in the day.

  36. Rob P. not sure where you got this information but I wish this was true.
    “Tour this tour that all the tour is us a bunch of rich guys playing racing. When the tour rolls into Stafford the car owner driver and 10 crew members get in for free. Yet the weekly racers pay double the price to get in.”

  37. Totally agree love the SKs and the Lights Late models would be more exciting if there was a full field like back in the 90’s.

  38. If you were to go by time trial times for the tour compared to practice lap times for the SK’s. The top 10 SK’s would have qualified for every tour race last season at stafford and may have even cracked the top 10.

  39. Old Observer says

    Rob p. I don’t know where you get your info but most of it is wrong. The WMT crew does not get in free but receive a reduced rate that requires a $300+ NASCAR license for each person.

    NASCAR did not want Rocco driving on the tour with his injuries. He also showed progress with both teams considering limited experience at some tracks.

    He is not one of my favorite drivers but you have to respect what he has accomplished!

  40. Don’t know about cracking the top 10 but they definitely would have made the show

  41. Hey rob it’s NASCAR no one gets in for free I was an owner I paid they made sure lol as far as Rocco he’s a great driver and the sk division is filled with many good drivers so he earned the titles unless you work on the cars no one realizes the time and effort that goes in

  42. Saw it firsthand crews and drivers walk up to tour sign in show their Nascar license and get handed a pit pass asked about it and was told owner driver and 10 crew get in free. Meanwhile I’m paying $50 rather than the normal 25 to get in this was back in 2013 the last season I went in the pits ( was injured in a car accident in October 2012) maybe it’s changed now but pretty sure it hasn’t.

  43. If you read my pots that is exactly what I said.i was involved with a team for close to 25 years and know exactly how much time and dedication it takes to field a car I’m just baffled why everyone is so obsessed with the tour. The racing is boring except at new Hampshire. I think the Stafford SK’s put on a better show. And I don’t think a driver should be judged by his success or lack of on the tour darealgoodfella said Rocco is a B list driver. I said that 17 championships speak for themselves.and am wondering if darealgoodfella has ever been involved in any way with any team because it seems he has no clue. So next time maybe re- read before calling someone out. Nothing but respect for Rocco and all he’s accomplished in such a short time and he still has allot of years ahead of him. So what if he doesn’t have a win on the tour. There are allot of drivers who have run the tour full time for years and don’t have a win. And probly don’t have 17 track championships either.

  44. If you read my post from earlier I said Keith is a good car owner crew chief driver and engine builder all wrapped up in one. And probly has no interest in the tour because he enjoys Stafford Thompson and Waterford and is home every night which with 2 young kids is important.

  45. Have to defend Rob p. Went back and re-read read the thread he never said anything bad about kid rock in fact he complimented him. Also have to agree the tour is boring to watch and the SK’s put on a better show they should run a 150 or 200 lap SK race that could be exciting.

  46. Can tell you all about dedication. In 2001 got wrecked hard in turn 1. Car was back to the shop and stripped that night went to Johnson’s for front and rear clip (no tube snouts back then) got car back Tuesday night and re assembled it finished putting the decals on Friday afternoon in the pits. Started the feature 19 the by winning the consideration then won the race by almost a full staightaway. That was dedication and was what won us the 2001 championship. So I know what it takes to field a winner.

  47. No rob knew you wasn’t bashing Rocco and yes when the tour is at the track crew and drivers always try to watch because it is a great show merry Christmas

  48. Hey Rob p did you know Plantier? Great guy, what a card. Wore a cowboy hat and had some of the best stories in racing. My first Street Stock I sent out to Raceworks that was new at the time and they did virtually nothing productive not knowing Street Stocks at all. Eddie Flemke was nice to talk to with his advice on being smooth but it was wasted on a novice like me.
    Plantier told me to get my first set of motor home front springs and moved me from last to mid pack. Long story short he totaled my first car at Riverside and I loved the guy so much I let him race my second car the next year in the Icebreaker. Even short on HP he came in 10th.
    Tony the Tiger had all the money and did OK. I’m biased but Norm won everything he did with no real money, a giant personality and great skills. His team was NAC Racing standing for no available cash and it was true. One of the great personalities in racing and a good, hard nosed, clean driver.

  49. Old Observer says

    Rob P. Tour crews never got in free. There is a check attached to each team list covering the cost before anyone is allowed to sign in!

  50. darealgoodfella says

    Rocco is great in the SK, no doubt about it.

    The Tour can use a driver like him.

  51. Didn’t know norm personally but knew of him he was always a threat on the racetrack and was one of the cleanest drivers out there don’t know where NAC came from cause each week he seemed to show up at Thompson with a different car and they we’re always meticulous.

  52. NAC racing. No available cash. I asked him what NAC stood for, he smiled, held out and empty palm and said no available cash as his loyal crew nodded their heads enthusiastically. That was on or about 1983. There are so few genuinely talented and charismatic figures in racing. Norm was one in spades. He had no real resources to speak of. He made races with talent, doing a ton of work by himself, getting help from people that liked him like me and doing anything he had to get to the front. When the SK’s started he tried doing that for a few races, it was a disaster of failure and he went back to what he did best.

  53. Jim tried the SK and it was a disaster. Bought Chris Kopecs old M6 . Destroyed the car at an open practice at Thompson before the season even started. Downhill from there went back to late models

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