Rocking Return: Keith Rocco Makes Triumphant Reappearance Speedbowl

Keith Rocco (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

In the words of Public Enemy’s Chuck D: “Once again back is the incredible.” 

The king of the record book at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl made a surprise return to the shoreline oval Saturday to show the competition that the throne, the crown and all the trappings of lordship over the kingdom that is the facility still belong to him. 

Keith Rocco, the Speedbowl’s All-Time winningest driver, returned to the track for the first time since 2018 Saturday and rolled to victory in the 35-lap SK Modified feature. 

It marked career win No. 151 overall for the Wallingford driver at the Speedbowl and his all-time best 90th in the SK Modified division at the track. 

“It’s just been a long time since we’ve been down here,” Rocco said. “A little rusty. Just a little bit unsettled. But a great day. I can’t thank [car owners] Mike and Mark Payne enough for putting me in such great cars.” 

It was the first victory at the track for Rocco since 2018 with the Modified Racing Series. It was his first SK Modified win at the Speedbowl since 2017 when he last ran regularly at the track and captured his seventh SK Modified championship. 

Kyle James was second and Joey Gada third. 

James looked to the outside of Rocco for the early going but couldn’t make the moves stick. James got into the wall with about 14 laps left trying the outside and never challenged Rocco the rest of the way. 

“We had a couple good runs there on the outside,” James said. “The last time that I tried it I just got squeezed up pretty good. The right front got bent up pretty hard. From there the car got crazy free.” 

Travis Hydar topped the field in the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature. Wayne Burroughs Jr. was second and Nichole Thibeault third. 

Al Stone III won the 25-lap Sportsman feature. It was the 55th career Sportsman win at the track for Stone, extending his all-time record for wins in the division. 

Ryan Morgan scored victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature. Mark Panaroni won the 20-lap Mini Stock feature. Shawn Monahan was victorious in the 25-lap Open Street Stock feature. 


  1. 🌈🦄2020 says

    2020 has been full of surprises at Waterford so far. The first is that they even opened. Nichole coming back after six years. Seekonk late models running up front. Lineman should get a win soon. Travis Hydar showing up out of the blue and winning. Rocco winning again in the old 57. The Seekonk street stocks putting on a good show that could become a weekly thing, even though that swagin wagon might be unbeatable. Then you got Johnson in the late model that looks lost out there not being at Thompson. But didn’t he race Seekonk also? We’ll see what next week brings.

  2. A second solid night at the Bowl, although a couple more competitive SKs would be welcome. The early start (approx. 5:00 pm) for features, resulted in a refreshing 7:50 pm end time. And, I was impressed with the mask compliance in the grandstands.

  3. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Also, the ticket sales are doing just fine without the need for the online option. I don’t need nor want to pay an extra $5 or whatever just to purchase a ticket.

  4. Lineham May get a win but if they do a good tech job he will get DQ’d especially the way he is running his 604. Just saying.

  5. How is 12 SK’s with Rocco, James, Jordon, Janovic and former unbeatable Lite driver Narducci not a swell feature.
    How is the last minute Seekonk invitational Street Stock race not a premier draw?
    Under the circumstance Bemer is doing everything as good as he could possibly do. Exceptional actually. Sadly he is an albatross for the track at the same time.
    Last winter special events were scheduled including Granite State and the mysterious new modified tour. The TTOMS was a natural and is off to Stafford as Seekonk remains in limbo and Granite State is making a deal will Thompson. Meanwhile the Speedbowl is Wednesday and Saturday.
    That’s good enough for now. It may have to be good enough for a while longer.
    The only cure is a new owner. As long as “Bemers” appears on the race day event schedule and is the owner of record the track will never reach it’s full potential. That actually could be OK because what’s wrong with local racing every week which is the way the track started.

  6. Facebook
    “Granite State Pro Stock Series
    12h ·
    The GSPSS Returns to the New London Waterford Speedbowl on Sat Sept 26th for 150 Laps and on Saturday Oct 24th to crown our 2020 Series Champion ! details soon”

    Going against NWMT at Stafford 9/26 and TTOMS at Stafford 10/24

  7. Glen Da Bozz says

    Some people need to worry about making their own car faster before worrying about what others are doing 🤔🤔🤔

  8. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Shouldn’t matter much running against Stafford when both tracks are at 25%. Both tracks will get the crowd they want or can have. I’m curious as to why the GSPSS choose to hold their championship night at Waterford. I think they did back in 2018 also.

  9. Sharpie Fan says

    The skeleton crew seems to be doing the best that they can.

    It was disgusting to see the next morning the mess that some crews left after the race in the parking lot out by the campers. I mean seriously, you can’t even pile your beer cans in one place? Or maybe they were Seekonk teams?

  10. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Great to see a rest of the season schedule. It’s nice to see the memorial races for Potter, Curry and Brouwer. The Potter Sk race at 102 laps, not sure the significance of that but the $5100 to win is a nice touch. Pleasently surprised about the traditional 3 day finale after the world series.

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