Unbeatable: Keith Rocco Remains Perfect In SK Modified At Stafford In 2018

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – There was a point late last season at Stafford Motor Speedway when it seemed that Keith Rocco couldn’t buy a victory in an SK Modified at the historic half-mile.

But ever since breaking a season-long winless streak in the penultimate event of the 2017 season at Stafford, it seems Rocco has decided nobody else will ever win again in an SK Modified at Stafford.

Rocco held off Eric Berndt on a restart with four laps remaining to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway.

It was Rocco’s third victory in three events this year and his fifth consecutive victory dating back to the final two events of 2017.

Berndt, of Cromwell, was second and Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott third.

Rocco said the current roll is reminiscent of his 2010 season at Stafford when he had 10 SK Modified victories on the way to his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title.

“Luck is on our side and things are going smooth,” Rocco said. “… It’s awesome. It’s like back in 2010 again. You put the right people in the right places and you get a lot of success.”

Rocco started 14th in the 25-car field and weaved his way to fourth by lap 13. On lap Rocco got by Todd Owen to move to second. Moments later Owen ended up turned in a massive turn three crash.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Rocco said.

The race restarted with Stephen Kopcik leading and Rocco to his outside. Rocco went by Kopcik for the lead off of turn four on lap 17, with Berndt following him to second.

Berndt briefly passed Rocco for the lead off turn two on lap 21, but Rocco grabbed the top spot back on the same lap through turn three.

Rocco pulled away from Berndt, but caution on lap 37 gave Berndt one more shot for the lead. Berndt rolled on the outside for Rocco for nearly a lap following the restart. On lap 39 Berndt took a look under Rocco in turn two, but Rocco deftly defended the top spot.

“I knew he was going to be really good,” Rocco said. “I knew they were going to be really good. I didn’t want to see that caution at the end. We were just getting better and better. We were stretching the lead out there. It takes me a few laps to get going and I knew he’d fire pretty quick.”

Said Berndt: “We were close. We got behind the eight-ball after the [Spring] Sizzler. It’s a brand new car to star the year. We’re building a notebook on it and getting closer every week. Podium finish, first on in probably two years. We’ll take this podium finish and see if we can build on it next [week]. We’re going to have some good races with [Rocco] this year, I can see that.”


  1. Great job

  2. If you can look past the glow on invincibility that Rocco is emitting this promises to be just an outstanding year. As many said Stash is having an affect of Berndt. Not only with the strong second finish but also a heat win and what may have been the second fastest lap time in competition 18.81 to Galko’s 18.77. Michael Christopher in the new 82 in three races has proven to be the real deal. Coming in second in positions improved 10 to Rocco’s 13 and he’s more aggressive and has been passing really good cars for three races now. Although not showing up in the results Chase Dowling is fast and improving and should show up in the top 5 soon. Pennink’s 99 is always fast but I keep wanting him to challenge Rocco for the win but those days may be mostly over. And how competitive are the SK’s. Rocco won with a fast lap of 18.97 and DJ Burnham came in 13th with a best lap of 19.17. And those really fast first 13 exclude “jingle” victims Williams, Owen and Reen who where turning top 5 speed..
    Good for Rocco but with great car counts and fast competition that glow he is emitting may be hard to come by some nights down the road.

  3. Cheaters paradise says

    Keith cheats…..first cheat comment in

  4. The win also puts Keith Rocco 2nd in career SK wins at Stafford, breaking a tie with Bo Gunning.

    Doug welcome back, I always enjoy reading your comments on Stafford. I have always been a big fan of Eric Berndt, and was excited to read Stash was joining the team. Gotta expect big things out of that team this season.

  5. Shawn great coverage this night of racing.Glad to know what’s going on during the shows i can’t make. The coverage at the bowl is horrendous I for one miss your coverage of it and completely support your position. As for KEITH he has a rocket ship this season. As for cheaters paradise go back and look at who has been docked positions and points for cheating this season and one name not on their is Keith’s. Don’t you think tech is going through his car looking for something and have found nothing. Great job Keith!! Keep the can of whoop ass open for the rest of the season!!

  6. Welcome back Doug. Rocco is on a streak, can anyone stop him? The addition of Bear seems to have had a positive effect on the #88 team. I don’t like Keith but you cannot denie his talent both behind the wheel and as a mechanic/ motor builder. MCJ seems to be doing great now that he’s in top equipment, and I don’t think it will be long before we see him in victory lane. Thanks to Mrs Quinn Christopher for staying involved in racing and giving MCJ a chance. Williams has looked strong, and Dowling seems to be getting the handle on his new car. All in all should be a competitive season at Stafford.

  7. Does Rocco plan to run the 80 lap SK event at the Bowl next weekend?

  8. Rafter fan,
    My understanding is that it is something he is looking at doing.

  9. Jeffrey P says

    Bear is like [ suitcase ] Jake Elder from the old cup days jumps from team to team after just a few races . Most not by choice. Hangs around just long enough to get there notes and set-ups then tries to sell his wares to the victim i mean team . Did it on the whelen mod tour , then the VMRS , now he’s down to the SK’S i guess next is SK LITES . lol He’s riding the wave right now with Rocco but if you look back a few years you can see the trend . After no more takers on the top tours he got his foot in the door at Doug Dipisa’s team at the bowl with Teddy . They were already winning races .Doug had a new car builds his own shocks smart guy . Bear shows up now front and center in all the victory lane pics so every ones thinks he was the crew chief the man behind the plan . Wrong . After a few races no more Bear he’s gone .Why ? Next stop Teddy’s 13 team with guess what a new car with Dipisa’s set-ups and tricks teddy is winning races again at stafford.. Next stop . John Jenson’s team but he vanished after a trip to speedweeks .Why ? Now its Rocco’s 88 team new car Dipisa’s tricks Rocco is running like Teddy at stafford . Mike Jr. is on fire in what Teddy’s car from last year . Pattern here ? All good teams with great drivers already winning races but Dipisa had the better mouse trap first without the Bear on his team . That’s racing i guess but if you are already fast and want to keep it to yourself buyer beware .

  10. Dougdacheater says

    Doug dipisa couldn’t set up a swing set with instructions. He had every top driver in New England drive his garbage and didn’t win a race till bear showed up. I’m sure he’s in for another disapointing year, that’s why he is on Facebook doing the most whining about letting more cars come that will beat him.

  11. Race 413. says

    I think TC may have forgotten more than Doug Dipisa could ever hope to learn. As far as Bear, the guy is very smart and doesn’t need to ” steal ” setups, again probly forgot more than Dipisa could ever hope to learn.

  12. Jeffrey P says

    LOL ..Doug Dipsa is so modest he will not even take credit for his success .The only reason Bear was there was because they were already winning so he could learn something to take steal credit for .

  13. Why are we talking about Waterford Toilet Bowl teams again. They are running at an unsanctioned track, run by a sheister and owned by a pedifile. In my mind they don’t even exist in the respectable racing world. Wipe yourself and flush already.

  14. You all sound like you have some good inside information on the behind the scenes set up guys. Not to change the subject but how about that Michael Christopher. Can Quinn keep a team together or what? My prediction was Michael would continue to be safe and mediocre. I even called him a capable but unremarkable legacy driver. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He’s on fire and his day in the winners circle is not that far off.

  15. Christopher was so on fire he failed tech at the Sizzler. I want him to win just like everyone else AND pass tech too.. I enjoyed watching him in the legends division..

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