Last To First: Keith Rocco Bounces Back From Rough Week With SK Modified Win At Stafford

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

STAFFORD – The final results rundown from the SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway on July 26 is nothing Keith Rocco wants to look at. 

Twenty-three cars in the feature, and a 23rdplace finish for Rocco. 

Rocco’s Friday foray last week at Stafford was short and crushing,  both emotionally and for his car. 

While battling near the front of the field early in the event contact was made with Joey Cipriano in turn two and Rocco’s car was flung hard into the wall.

“It was just frustrating,” Rocco said. “We had a stout piece last week just like we did tonight. Last week there was no doubt in my mind that I had a car to win the race.” 

Friday Rocco flipped those results upside down. 

Rocco went by Eric Berndt for the lead on lap 20 and never trailed again on the way his third victory of the season in the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

“This awesome after getting wrecked last week,” Rocco said. “We got the car back put together and put a clip on it. It really shows what we can do in the shop. I’ve got thank everybody.

“We came here, we were the fastest car in practice and we won the race from [the 12thstarting position],” Rocco said. “It really shows what we’re capable of, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people already know that.” 

Glen Reen of Wilbraham, Mass. was second and Berndt, of Cromwell, third. 

Before the July 26 event, Rocco had been clawing his way back up the standing and closing in on points leader Todd Owen. The last place effort put a huge damper on Rocco’s championship hopes and changed his attitude for the rest of the year. 

“To get wrecked really sucked,” Rocco said. “We were closing heavy. We were just closing and closing on [points leader Todd Owen]. It just sucks to put us back that far. But, I guess now it’s game on, it’s wins only.” 

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  1. Congrats to Keith and the 88 team.

  2. Ray Skoglund says

    More times than not he is the class of a very strong field.
    Proof that hard work pays off.
    He learned that at a young age.
    Congratulations 88 team.

  3. Last week Rocco gets wrecked in the SK’s and Hodgdon got wrecked as fallout when Narducci goes three wide. They both work tirelessly to put the pieces together and do it so good they each win. Good for them.
    Moreover neither lives in the past by mentioning what happened and are looking forward.
    To my fellow threadster SK Mod fan, perhaps the most loyal fan of Williams ever take a look at the results. I think it proves the point I have been trying to make. Williams starting 15th did every possible thing a good driver could do to get the best out of what his car had but it’s didn’t have elite speed this night and no driver can milk something out a car that isn’t there.
    On another topic to all the race fans check out the dust up last week at Bowman Gray on Speed51 including the Morning Bullring show. You think we have disagreements here. Whoa, that deal got nationwide attention. Much of it not good.

  4. Kenneth Latham says

    I love Rocco’s talent. An amazing driver, but he did take a swipe at the Speedway I thought, when he said the Rufranos were not there for “A discipleine” thing

  5. Kenneth,
    I’m not sure how it was “swipe”. His car owner John Rufrano was suspended for an issue from the week before so he was indeed not there because of a disciplinary reason by track. Not sure how Rocco mentioning that fact is a swipe at the track?

  6. Kenneth Latham says

    I suppose his tone thats all. Maybe I’m wrong. Am totally a fan and definitely recognize his talent as a driver AND a setup man.

  7. Dramabaga says

    Congratulations to Keith Rocco, the entire Nº 88 crew, owners, sponsors and family! … “It’s game on”!

  8. SK ModFan says

    Doug, Amen. I’ve never argued that point. I saw Adam after the race distraught that he missed the set up for his car, truly a team sport. But what about the 88 Elephant in the room. A driver is responsible for his crew. Joey 78 Zipdrive sat out the race for a crew member fighting Rocco’s car owner. Joey sits, Rocco races and wins. He’s too stupid to keep his mouth shut about the incident but bottom line is HE SHOULD HAVE NOT BEEN ON THE TRACK RACING. Check the rules. Unbelievable favoritism by the Stafford puppets, I mean officials. I would Love for someone to explain that to me and this thread. By the way, good race at Beech Ridge tonight. With little sleep, can’t wait for Thompson.

  9. You are a sad sack indeed SK Modfan. My God you always go for the jugular while your hair is on fire. Never ever a nice thing to say about any body or any thing other with that 50 team.

  10. getserious says

    Whoa! Hold on here. Are you guys saying that the 88’s owner and a crew member of the 78 had a fight and the driver of the 78 had to sit out, but not the driver of the 88? At Stafford, I guess I could believe that kind of odd-ball justice and favoritism happening. I’d like
    to hear some thoughts on this….

  11. SK ModFan says

    Doug. What did I say to offend you? By the way, what was not true about what I said. Joey sat out the SK race. Why Doug? Go research that. You’ll find his crew had a fight with Rufrano, Keith’s car owner. Rufrano got suspended. Joeys Crew Chief and Joey sat out. What happened to Keith who is responsible for his crew? NOTHING! Why?? Dig in Doug, find that out for me. Or I can teach you the definition of favoritism and save you time. I’m so glad you hate my candor, but I’m not wrong. See you Friday buddy!!

  12. SK ModFan says

    Yes, that is exactly what happened. Please tell me how does that happen?

  13. SK ModFan,
    I know you keep bringing this topic up, so it’s probably time to bring some clarity to it. Yes, Stafford does have a rule in place that the driver is responsible for their crew. Punishment for fights in the pits is not standardized. Every situation is different, every fight is different.
    That said, according to Stafford management, the No. 78 team crew member was the confirmed aggressor who initiated the fight with John Rufrano by spitting in his face. Rufrano defended himself from the person who initiated that aggression. Joey Cipriano was suspended because his crew member initiated aggression with another person in the pits. Rufrano was in a fight and suspended for that action, but it was deemed he was defending himself from someone initiating aggression toward him and the driver is not responsible for a person defending themselves.
    And all that said, Rufrano is technically a crew member for the No. 68 SK Modified team, not the No. 88 team. So if it had been deemed that a driver would be suspended for the action of Rufrano it would not have been Rocco who would have been punished.

  14. You know sk modfan when you plead for someone to get suspended just so you don’t have to race against them, it really makes your team (50) look weak and scared.
    There are spotters that spot for multiple teams. If someone walks up and spits in their face and they defend themselves should every driver they spot for be suspended?

    That 78 crew is classless and I can’t imagine being associated with people like that. Terrible

  15. SK ModFan says

    Hardline, I’m not on a team and my original point was that nobody talked about the fight that I did see and results thereafter. I’m talking about rules not who I want to see suspended; as far as I know, I don’t get a vote. Like Shawn said, the Stafford officials can subjectively decide the penalty. But generally speaking, it’s known in the pits that if you fight, your driver sits. It’s happened to a number of drivers over the years, and this just seemed worthy of inquiry. Your assumption was funny, your example with a spotter fighting could jeopardize the driver he was spotting for at the time of the incident not all drivers he spots for. I did not see someone spit, I saw the aftermath I guess. I don’t support anyone who fights in the pits. There are usually at least 2 fighters and the penalties were different- I was just wondering why?

  16. I can’t speak to what I don’t know about. The point being I recognize what I don’t know and respect the judgement of those that do.
    This is a perfect example. That dust up and penalty was very complicated with so many moving parts. Yet you SKModfan just went at Rocco like mad dog to to a throat. No recognition at all you could not have all the facts.
    I do check video and the record books on you comments and invariably you’re wrong of have grossly distorted the facts. It’s just tedious at this point correcting you.
    In my view SKModfan the simple fact that you have one view that is so totally biased toward the 50 and against virtually everyone else all the time makes your commentary irrelevant. No one side is always right, no team always perfection and their conduct always beyond reproach. You routinely misrepresent and distort events shamelessly.
    Basically your disingenuous commentary I view as my loss. You are one of the few that have in depth knowledge of the SK’s and focus on the division. Unfortunately it’s so distorted through that prism of Williams there can be no good will exchange and reflection on events. My loss.

  17. Doug. Thanks for your insight. I admire your passion for this site. I don’t agree but that’s ok. But Doug, please go back to the top of all these comments and read mine. I never Once mentioned Williams or the 50 team. I commented on your opening comments that I saw Adam after the race but my comments were only an inquiry about a fight that happened 60 feet away from where I was standing. I saw Rufrano punch a guy in the face and thought, man, Rocco’s car owner and Marcello’s father just did the unthinkable. I wonder which driver will serve the penalty. Answer: neither. Again I was asking why. Shawn pretty much answered that. How you ascertain that I was talking about Williams when I was clearly talking about Joey and Rocco is unclear to me. Your rant seemed to me to be from left field.

  18. You look so weak SKAdam…..So weak…

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