Bugging Out: Keith Rocco Gets Fifth SK Modified Win Of 2020 At Stafford Speedway

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

STAFFORD – The ultimate goal in the mind of Keith Rocco when it comes to career numbers at Stafford Motor Speedway is someday reaching the unprecedented bar set by one of his hero’s and mentors in racing, Ted Christopher. 

Christopher, who passed away in 2017, is Stafford’s all-time winningest driver with 131 career victories. 

On Sept. 4 Rocco won the SK Modified feature at the track to get his 72nd career victory, matching the legendary Bugsy Stevens for fifth on the track’s all-time win list. 

“My eye is on The King, Rocco said when asked about reaching the plateau. “That’s a long ways away.”

Friday Rocco took one more step toward that ultimate goal and climbed another spot on the ladder.

Rocco, of Wallingford, drove away from the field over the closing laps to win the 40-lap SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford. 

Stephen Kopcik of Newtown was second and Chase Dowling of Roxbury third. 

It was the fifth victory of the season for Rocco and moved him into a tie for third with Tom Fearn on the track’s all-time win list with 73 victories. 

Woody Pitkat sits second on the all-time win list at Stafford with 78 career victories after winning the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Friday at the track.

Todd Owen went to the lead by Kopcik on a lap 29 restart. On a lap 30 restart it was Rocco moving to second when Kopcik fell back after contact on track. 

Rocco took a look under Owen on lap 33, but it was Owen denying Rocco out front. Owen was looking for his second consecutive feature victory after winning last Friday’s main event and also the exhibition TC 13 Shootout. 

Caution flew on lap 35 and things went bad on the ensuing restart for Owen. Contact from third place running Mike Christopher Jr. going into turn one sent Owen sliding up the track and allowed Rocco to easily take over the top spot and go unchallenged the rest of the way. 

“It was getting a little frustrating in the beginning,” Rocco said. “Every lane we got into was the wrong lane and we just kept going backwards. I saw [Owen] up front and I really just wanted to get up there and race with him.” 

A frustrated Owen had to settle for an 11th place finish after getting knocked from the lead. 

I” got bumped out of the way I would say,” Owen said. “Me and Keith were alright. It was Christopher behind me sending me into the corner. He was pushing on both the [restarts] before that. I told my spotter to tell his spotter to stop pushing. I don’t understand the mentality of pushing someone into the corner. It’s so stupid. 

“It would have been a race. I think we were pretty equal. I think it would have been a race right down to the end. Christopher couldn’t even stay with me, so I don’t know why he didn’t want to just settle for third.”


  1. When will people realize that Rocco is no Ted Christopher. There is not even a comparison between the two

  2. Tough night for the 82. It spun the 48 early in the race, too(?). Was the 82 involved in Kopcik’s move up the track?

  3. Geeze Mike what was that?
    For my money Owen did a masterful job keeping the car from going around. That ability may have saved a lot of repairs in the shop this week.
    By now in Ted Chistopher’s career he was doing a lot more driving then physically preparing the cars whereas that’s all Rocco does for himself and others.. Christopher was all over racing in so many other series when you look at it in Wikipedia it blows your mind. Rocco has a different approach almost entirely focusing on SK’s.. Christopher’s wifeless, childless life in his 30’s devoted to his business and racing. Rocco more traditional balancing racing with being a husband and father.
    It’s too early like he said. There’s another 14 years of so to go before comparisons can be made. Where the two do seem similar is the both were/are cocky, acerbic at times not suffering fools and wins are expected.. Not classic good guys like Jerry Pearl, Bob Potter or even Todd Owen in any way and that gets you critics. Look at Owens response in this race. It’s more analytical then emotional.
    You don’t have to root for Rocco or even like him for that matter but respect what he means to local racing. Tim Jordon does for sure and got a real kick out of beating him last night at the Speedbowl.

  4. Charlie Brown says

    Good Grief !! The problem with Mikey Junior is his father on the radio; Sr.should not be allowed to talk to him during the race, just his Spotter should be talking to that kid; he would have better results 🙃

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