Mr. Clean: Keith Rocco Remains Perfect In SK Modified At Thompson Speedway In 2018

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson Speedway with his daughter Giuliana and son KJ

THOMPSON – A week ago at Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco wasn’t shy about admitting he used some angry driving to rally to a victory after getting spun out of the lead in the SK Modified feature.

But Thursday before the SK Modified feature at Thompson Speedway, the point was made clear by racing director Scott Tapley that full contact passing wasn’t going to be tolerated by track officials.

No worry for Rocco, who went from slamming to surgical in slicing to the front for another win at Thompson.

Rocco held off the pressuring of Ryan Preece over the closing laps to win the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson. It was the third victory in three SK Modified events this year at Thompson for Rocco, of Wallingford.

“I think I probably set the bar a little too high last week trying to get back to the front after already being out front,” Rocco said. “[Tapley] pretty much told everybody if you break a guy’s momentum or hit them with the sidebar you’re getting a penalty the following week. So we had to make sure we behaved tonight.

“It’s just so hard to pass here that sometimes you have no choice but to make a little contact. But tonight we had no choice but to do it clean and not use the sidebar.”

Preece, of Berlin, was second and Todd Owen of Somers third.

It was Rocco’s seventh victory in 10 SK Modified features overall this year between Thompson and Stafford Motor Speedway, where he won the first four events of the season.

“It’s awesome,” Rocco said. “We had four straight at Stafford and we have three straight here. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

Rocco started eighth in the 18-car field and was up to third by lap eight. On a lap nine restart he got by Marcello Rufrano for second and then began sizing up then leader Preece.

On lap 12 Rocco was able to find a lane under Preece and came out of turn two with a lead he wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way, though Preece pressured in second to the checkered.

“I figured he had something for us,” Rocco said. “They’ve got a good car and they just built that thing. But it’s just so hard to pass here without touching anybody and we had a really good car tonight and after we got by him I figured it would be hard for him to get back by us, but he did pressure us for the rest of the race.”


  1. “It’s just so hard to pass here that sometimes you have no choice but to make a little contact. But tonight we had no choice but to do it clean and not use the sidebar.”

    I guess this is telling me if you drive like a gentleman and show some respect you can still win races rather than drive like an idiot, piss people off and win races.

    Nice job Scott for dropping the hammer, you just earned my attention and respect as a race director. Just don’t let up the pressure.

  2. Al Coholic says

    That was a good clean race. It looks to me that there is no comparison horsepower wise between Rocco and Preece. We all know Preece is a great driver, he was just underpowered compared to Rocco. It’s like Rocco was peddling it once he got by Preece… Just my opinion for what it’s worth…

  3. It didn’t stop Rocco from stopping the #6 car momentum in the heat race. All blahblahablah from the race director. He won’t do a thing to Rocco because he is afraid Rocco will take his cars away from the track. Rocco has them over a barrel he will do what he wants when he wants

  4. Preece excepted isn’t Rocco just consistently faster then the rest of the field on a track where fast shows weakness quicker. Top six cars are kind of in the same ball park then it drops off fast. As opposed to Stafford where the times are brutally close through the first 20 cars and handling is at a premium.

  5. Do you really think that engine in Rocco’s car is the same as the rest especially when he builds it?

  6. LM, so what if Rocco leaves Thompson? Do you think less people would not walk through the gate if he is not there? My guess is close to 50 fans might stop going to Thompson because he left. The big dog always gets replaced sooner than later

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