Family Affair: Keith Rocco Scores Victory In SK Modified Feature At Stafford

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

STAFFORD – It was a double celebration for the Rocco family Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

The track celebrated its final Kid’s Night of the season with another round of Big Wheel races and taking down the victory in the first of two kids events was KJ Rocco, the five-year old son of SK Modified division racer Keith Rocco. 

Not be left out of the celebration, it was dad closing the night at Stafford with another trip to victory lane. 

Rocco held off the charges of Mike Christopher Jr. to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature. 

“It’s fun to race with [Christopher],” Rocco said. “It’s like racing with his [late uncle Ted Christopher]. We raced side-by-side and we never touched. It was a lot of fun.” 

It was the fourth victory of the season for Rocco, of Wallingford. 

Christopher, of Wolcott, was second and Todd Owen of Somers third. 

Christopher pestered Rocco in second place before caution flew on lap 23. On the ensuing restart Christopher was able to find a way under Rocco. The pair battled side-by-side at the front for two laps before Rocco cleared him for the lead off turn two on lap 25. 

“He was really good tonight and he got by me on the restart,” Rocco said. “I don’t know how he got by me, but he got a good run down the back straightaway and go under us.

“We race good together. Obviously he wants to win too. Even if he did run me up a little bit or got by him, there was still plenty of time to try to get the lead back. I wasn’t really worried. I knew we had a really good car.” 

Said Christopher: “It got a little tight at the end there. I could see that he had real good drive off the turn. At the end of the day that’s what made him beat us. Coming up to that point I was beating his back bumper in so it was fun. Then we had that yellow and we were racing side-by-side so. As long as we put on a good show for the fans that’s what it’s all about.” 

The finish tightened up the SK Modified point standings with four events remaining. Coming into the event reigning division champion Ronnie Williams held a 10-point lead over second place Owen in the standings with Rocco 26 points off the lead in third. 

Keith Rocco with his son KJ in the press box Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Williams was sixth Friday. It means the trio will go into next Friday’s event with Williams leading Owen by four points and Rocco in third, 16 points behind Williams. 

“We’re here to win races and winning races wins championships,” Rocco said. “As long as you have the finishes. I think out of the three of us that are contending to win the championship we have the most DNF’s of anybody so I’m really happy with where we are.” 

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  1. A step in the right direction for those of us that want the Fall Final to be a three way battle royal for the points championship.
    No days off again this summer and yet there were outstanding SK Light and SK fields. Including Dowling who had a great run again in Kopcik’s old CD car, Todd Patnode in the 29 and Nocella once again in the 11.

  2. Congratulations to Joey (and his crew chief) taking the win in Big Wheel feature #2 !!! Awesome job buddy

  3. Beat DA cheat says

    GREAT JOB Kieth! Way to hold off the Cheated up 82 motor! Anyone could see that that motor had some wicked pull down the back stretch! …….but hey gotta get the kid a win somehow! LOL

  4. Who builds the 82 engine?

  5. Beat DA Cheat says

    there free Petti house motors that the old man plays with cuz he thinks he knows it all

  6. SK spec engine, how can you cheat? I really don’t think that Mike C Sr would do anything to the engine that would jeopardize Mike P’s reputation as an engine builder.

  7. I don’t get it. Christopher has been a tick off most of the season,he has a good race and now the accusations are flying. Obviously Rocco didn’t notice anything was amiss.
    “Even if he did run me up a little bit or got by him, there was still plenty of time to try to get the lead back.”
    All good hard racing we fans love. Except on the last lap.

  8. Who knows, maybe a fresh engine in the 82. Certainly would explain the difference in performance. Rings, bearings, heads cleaned up, new valve springs all make a difference. Maybe used his tire bank as well. Doesn’t mean he is cheating.

  9. It may have been addressed in detail many years ago, but I never see any discussion of Rocco’s role in building Pettit engines for his chief competitors (Ronnie Williams this year; TC in the past). I gather that it’s just accepted as a given within the local racing community??

  10. I looked at Stafford points with 4 events left and it looks like they have some good championship battles. As mentioned in the article, the SK point battle is great. 32 points separate the top 4 in SK’s. 34 points between the top 3 in SK Lights.. 48 points between the top 3 in Street stocks. 2 points between the top 2 in limited. The only division which appears to be over is the Late models. First place has 114 points on Second. Fearn averaged something like 47 point/night. I think you get 50 for a win then -2 for each position back. There may be a win bonus too. There is no specific information on how points are awarded in the Stafford rule book. I just thought I would highlight that several of the divisions have good point battles going on.

    Also Keith Rocco is in 6th, Ronnie Williams is 7th and Todd Owen is 9th in Nascar national points as of the last calculation dated Aug 18. Losing Waterford as a Nascar points track really hurts a locals chances of winning the national championship. Couple that with Thompson running a limited schedule and you really cant compete with guys down south. The top 5 in National points each gather points toward the championship at 3 different tracks. The leaders have 9 to 12 more starts on Rocco and Williams. It was a pretty impressive accomplishment when Teddy and Keith won national championships running up here.

  11. Wow, so the car pulls good down the straight, so must be a cheating motor. Really? Get a life! Speed on the straightaway is mostly determined by how well you get through the corners, and wether or not you can get the power down. Watch MCJ for a few laps, he picks the throttle back up before the appex of the corner. Most of his speed is a product of a good setup.

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