Keith Rocco Looking To Carry Momentum Into 2018 At Stafford Motor Speedway

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Keith Rocco (right) celebrates with Mike Christopher Jr. after winning the final Friday night SK Modified feature of the season last year at Stafford Speedway

With the 2018 season at Stafford Speedway less than 6 weeks away, defending SK Modified® champion Keith Rocco is looking forward to getting back to his winning ways on the track. The driver of the #88 Wheelers Auto Chevrolet scored his third career SK Modified® track title last year and his 2 wins moved his career SK Modified® win total to 45 races, only 2 wins behind Bo Gunning for second place on Stafford’s all-time SK Modified® wins list.

“We’re really excited for the season,” said Rocco. “We’ve been working hard over the winter and it was really great to finish last season off with 2 wins and end on a high note. It’s always a morale booster for everyone to end the season like that. It definitely sends you into the next season full steam ahead and ready to pick up where we left off. I have to thank Wheelers Auto with John and Maina Rufrano, Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair, FK Rod Ends, and Pettit Racing Engines for their support.”

While his championship effort last year was the third of his career at Stafford, it might have been the most impressive title that Rocco has won. Rocco entered the final 2 races of last season with no wins to his credit and he trailed Chase Dowling by 34 points, or 17 positions on the track. With only 2 races left to determine the champion, Rocco and the #88 team were able to deliver their 2 best performances of the season and they won both races, which was good enough to give the championship to Rocco by a 6 point margin over Dowling.

“Last year was pretty special,” said Rocco. “We hadn’t won a championship at Stafford since 2010 but we were in contention for a lot of those years. To get another championship at Stafford is very honorable and there’s a lot of drivers who have stood out by winning more than one Stafford SK Modified® championship so it was great to be able to win another one.”

One race that Rocco will be looking to take the checkered flag in during the 2018 season is the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, scheduled for June 29. The 2018 season will mark the 5th Annual running of the big $5,000 to win race with a total purse of over $27,000 and with 4 career top-7 finishes but no wins yet, Rocco would definitely like to add the race to his long list of SK Modified® feature wins at Stafford.

“The 5k is always a great race that draws a lot of cars, a lot of fans, and a lot of attention to the SK Modified® division in general,” said Rocco. “It’s great for the SK Modified® drivers to have the opportunity to be able to race for that kind of money. I think we’ll have a good shot at it this year. We ended 2017 on a good note and hopefully we can carry that momentum with us to the 5k race.

Rocco will be looking to become only the sixth driver in the history of the SK Modified® division at Stafford to win back to back titles, joining Jerry Pearl (1984-1985), Mike Christopher (1989-1990), Bob Potter (1991-1992, 1994-1995), Ted Christopher (’00-’01), and Rowan Pennink (’15-’16). While Rocco likes his chances of once again being counted among the championship contenders during the 2018 season, he says his focus will be on winning races and not the race for the championship.

“It would be nice to win 2 in a row, but anything can happen,” said Rocco. We’re just going to try to win races and go from there. We go one week at at time looking to win races. We’re going to work off of what we had last season for notes and what we did with our other car and try to duplicate that. We have a pretty good program now. Every year it seems like someone new comes along or something changes so we’ll see how things go.”

Chasing the checkered flag behind the wheel of his #88 machine won’t be the only thing occupying Rocco during the 2018 season. Rocco will also field a full-time effort for Michael Gervais, Jr. as well as lending his knowledge to help several SK Light drivers with their car setups.

“We have my car and the car for Michael Gervais and that’s it for now unless something else comes up,” said Rocco. “I’m sure we’ll probably come up with something else during the season for a few races. I also have a couple of other cars that I work on and setup with Cassandra Cole and Teddy Hodgdon in the SK Lights, so it’s definitely going to be a busy season. My stuff is usually pretty good and pretty much takes care of itself so I don’t have to go running around but I definitely stay busy.”

The first SK Modified® checkered flag of the 2018 season will be up for grabs during the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Spring Sizzler® tickets will be available beginning in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores.

For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at


  1. Indeed it will be fun this year respect hating Rocco. From his obnoxious web site where he writes about himself in the third person. To his huge shop and reigning guru of SK Modifieds and Lights. Those two wins at the end of last year that stuck out as being crazy dominant after a season of simply being a front runner. And the podium chats that always seems to include a bit of whining or taunting when a guy with his record can afford to let it speak for itself. Oh ya, it will be fun.
    But to be clear it’s respect hate, not hate hate. TC’s gone so someone has to be the top dog to root against. Sure it’s unfair since Rocco drives hard, clean and fast but how can you root for an underdog if there is no top dog to hate. On the other hand when he’s racing a NWMT event I always root for him to do well. He mentors Casandra Cole and how can you not wish her to make strides this year. Go figure. Fans, sheesh. Superficial and precocious to the end. But knowledgeable and engaged.

  2. Don’t personally like Keith but have great respect for him. He definitely has talent and him helping out other racers has earned him my respect.

  3. Dougdacheater says

    Hey Doug, Aren’t those stories on his website written by someone else… Third person LMAO

  4. No Longer a Rocco Fan says

    No longer a Rocco fan after his tasteless poor attempt at humor directed towards the owner of the track at the Speedbowl banquet. Those of you in attendance know what I am talking about.

  5. WeldingWonders says

    Watch Rocco’s banquet speech’s. He tries to be entertaining and funny. You could argue that the joke was not in the best taste for a host of reasons. But defending the track owner in my humble view is equally in poor taste.

  6. No Longer a Rocco Fan says

    Welding, I was not defending the track owner if that is what you were implying. The Speedbowl has always seemed to have issues with whoever has been running the place for nearly the last two decades. Things were/are appearing to be moving in the right direction thanks to Mr. Whitney and I see NO value what so ever to bring up dirt that has NO value in being brought up in the first place. Sometimes it is better to just leave sleeping dogs lie. My mother always said sometimes it is better to say nothing at all and IMO this was one of those times.

  7. Hey No Longer A Rocco Fan, my mother always said if you don’t want people to say things about you being a sex trafficker then you shouldn’t be a sex trafficker. No sympathy for that guy. Rocco only said what everybody else was already thinking. You act like George Whitney is some business guy that came in to run the track. He is the owner’s business partner and a name on a fake lease. Anybody spending money there is putting money in Bemer’s wallet, and supporting his crimes. How are things moving in the right direction? The place is owned by a guy who will probably spend the rest of his life in jail for sex crimes against mentally ill people. Last year the track had the lowest car counts in history, and the numbers are going to be worse this year. People are bailing left and right. Look at the SK division. Look who is not running every week? No Rocco, no Kyle James, no Todd Owen, no Janovic, no Diego, no Chadwick. Go watch Izzo and Buzel fight for the championship. And those four Late Models they have should put on some great races. It will be funny to see what excuse they make this year when they announce they’re not opening on May 5.

  8. Ernie McCracken says

    What’s going in the right direction at the Speedbowl? What track are you watching Rocco hater? Since he took over Whitney has lied about everything. When he took over he said he was getting the NASCAR sanction back. Didn’t happen. Said he was getting the Modified Tour back in 2017. Didn’t happen. Said he was going to pay point funds to the weekly divisions. Didn’t happen. Said they were putting in new grandstands for 2018. Didn’t happen. Said they were getting the NASCAR sanction back for 2018. Didn’t happen. Said they were getting the Modified Tour back in 2018. Didn’t happen. He did add MMA fighting between competitors for banquet entertainment, so I guess that’s one positive thing.

  9. darealgoodfella says

    Doug, you having fun talking with yourself?

    How many personalities did Sybil have?

  10. darealgoodfella says

    At this point, George is praying the town does not issue a permit. It would be much worse to open and have minuscule car counts, and disappearing crowds.

  11. wmass01013 says

    Wow this site just gets weirder everyday!
    nothing like it used to be with good racing talk

  12. WeldingWonders says

    Sorry No Longer a Rocco Fan. I hear you and well said. It was like rubbing salt in the wound in front of people that clearly were there only to celebrate fellow racers accomplishments and ended up a little creepy. Which is not to say you support the owner at all. And sorry for unleashing a torrent of hate that really has been said many times over now it’s like an echo chamber. For me the death blow was when the track decided to use Ryan Gilbert exclusively for it media coverage.
    The only thing this demonstrates is that the emotions will always be raw until ownership or management changes and preferable both or the place simply does not open. It’s all so very sad given the tracks history.

  13. Assuming that the Bowl’s Facebook post is accurate, it looks like we’ll enjoy Saturday night racing from the same grandstands again this year. What’s the story re: Thompson’s old stands?

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