Petite Celebration: Keith Rocco Tops SK Modified Feature At Thompson Speedway

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – Whether there was four cars, 14 cars or 34 cars, the winner of the SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson Speedway was going to get paid $1,500. 

And it was clear that neither Keith Rocco or Todd Owen wanted to see the other taking that cash. 

Despite having an extremely short field on hand, Rocco and Owen put on a show for fans out front at Thompson. 

Issues late slowed Owen and Rocco pulled away to grab victory in the 25-lap SK Modified feature Thursday at Thompson Speedway. 

Troy Talman was second and Owen third. Four cars started the feature. 

“It was fun racing with Todd,” Rocco said. “We parked next to each other tonight. We were laughing and joking all night so it was really fun to race like that. We had some good battles. It’s all about putting a show on for the fans with the low car count. He faded at the end. It looked like he had a tire going down. But it was a lot of fun.” 

Rocco, Owen and Talman sliced wildly among each other over the first two laps. Owen went to the lead on lap four, but a lap later it was Rocco grabbing the top spot. 

On lap 10 Owen got by Rocco to go back to the lead, but Rocco fought right back. On lap 11 Rocco got by Owen for the lead going into turn three, but Owen crossed him up off turn four to retake the lead. 

On lap 12 Rocco got by Owen off turn four to go back to the lead and the battle was over. Rocco pulled away from Owen gradually and by lap 19 Owen was slowing noticeably. 

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  1. Easy $1500 for Rocco. surprised more cars didn’t show. Paid cash at window for the purse.

  2. Think a couple things probably happened regards to the car counts.
    1. Some drivers may not have wanted to run back to back nights at Thompson and Stafford, and with the Thompson race being a late addition it might have not left people enough room to arrange work\vacation schedules.(you would pretty much need the day off to race)
    2.The Thompson season got off to such a late start, other drivers had probably given up on getting their cars ready for this year

  3. Wow
    Car count less than 10 for almost all divisions except late models and tour.

  4. No one will be asking for their money back after witnessing a terrific NWMT race headlined by a lights out best in show performance by Ryan Preece. Intense man intense. Still the under card showing won’t do going forward. Teams voted by not participating for whatever reason so changes will need to be made. The show is the NWMT, there is flexibility in coming up with enthusiastic support divisions so all should be well going forward with the proper changes. You can’t say the promoters didn’t try to do right by the traditional Thompson divisions. This could be for the best.

  5. This is why it’s very important for Thompson to put together and announce a 2021 schedule soon. No later than the World Series I’d say. Thompson has been all over the place with it’s 2020 plans and it showed last night. I’m sure opening their season in September didn’t help.

    The good news is the WMT will probably anchor three or four events next season at Thompson again which will help mask any shortfalls in weekly counts.

  6. I figured the fields would be small, but I never expected them to be THAT small! The Late Model turnout was great, the street stocks and mini stocks were OK. However, I was shocked by the small field of Modifieds. Thank-you to all the teams that showed to support the people that put this event together, and thanks to the promoters as well!

  7. Unfortunately Thompson is the “late Lucy” for 2020 and most teams are already committed to running either Stafford or Waterford. Being a Thursday night it does not leave much available time to get the cars turned around for the next night or two of racing especially when you work for a living. Unless you have two cars which the majority of teams don’t, it is a risky decision.

  8. Capt. Mike Qbvious says

    3. Despite everything that was announced, far too many people still think Terry Eames is running the show and paying the same lousy purses that were announced over the winter.

  9. I think JMB probably nailed the reason the local car counts were so low. Changing from Wednesday to Thursday probably didnt help either. Most guys who planned on racing probably took Wednesday off maybe they couldnt also get Thursday off. Are they Nascar sanctioned awarding points toward the state and national title? I know there used to be a minimum amount of races (6 or 7) for a Nascar sanctioning but that may have changed given the situation we find ourselves in. I had a friend who always said that there would be a race that paid double points and they would get 50 percent more cars than a regular night. Whereas a double purse night would get about the same amount as a regular night maybe a few more. He has been proven right more time than not. The other thing is the drastically reduced purse announced earlier probably kept a lot of guys from putting cars together during the off season for thompson maybe switch cars over to Stafford. The short announcement for 1 or 2 races probably was not enough time or incentive to put their cars together for this midweek show. Running back to back nights is probably the main reason. Why risk your equipment when you are in a points championship at Stafford? I would hope the car count would be better for the weekend show. For the promoters, I hope the show was successful enough to go forward with the World Series weekend. Thankfully the tour race was great. Hopefully most fans left happy.

  10. Shawn, I know it’s traditional to report the podium finishers, but since there were only four cars, who was fourth?

    Hey, they showed up when few others did… 😉

  11. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Fast Eddie, 6 mini stocks and 10 sportsman was OK? Are you nuts? 5 lites with one car destroyed on the first lap. 4 sks with 3 running at the finish. 3rd place multiple laps down. I knew it was going to be bad but I was shocked at how bad it was. In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like it. If last night was any indication of things moving forward you can kiss the oval goodbye. And don’t try to blame the fans or the complaints. The fans showed up. The drivers did not. I’m reading every excuse in the book on social media. Top one is that Terry Eames is still running the place and there was a very low purse.🤣 Are people that dumb? Then there are the people asking where the PASS and ACT tour was last night. Again, clueless people. The announcers sounded like it was their first rodeo when it was not. That’s what happens when Buckler isn’t in the booth. Bottom line is that it was sad to see. Here’s hoping for a better world series.

  12. Barry,

    Steve Reich. He was in a rental car from Keith Rocco Racing. Very far off the pace. Was getting lapped about every five laps.

  13. 2020, although the car counts were low, the racing itself amongst the teams there was pretty good. Some good 2 and 3 car battles for position can sometimes help to make up for a short field, at least from my perspective. Case in point was the street stock battle between Monahan and Waterman, with Larry Barnett close behind I think waiting to see how that played out. It certainly would have been better to have numbers closer to the norm for Thompson though. Full fields ultimately make for better racing as long as most are using their heads.

  14. Suitcase Jake says

    The Race was set up perfectly for a storybook ending for Ryan Preece. Running the low groove getting up front to Ron Silks Bumper He kept running low, Silk moved down a little to take a little space away, Then Ryan suddenly swooped to the right in turns 1 & 2 gaining the outside groove coming off the turn taking the lead. If the yellow didn’t fly from Shawn Houlihan’s Talented hands, Preece would have Won the race thus finishing the last chapter of the Storybook celebrating with His ragtag part time crew long into the Night. I was impressed with Silk’s post race comments that He was in trouble when Preece got the preferred line heading down the backstretch , Felt that he had given away the Win, But with Preece running out of fuel under yellow handed him the lead back, Being the Pro that he is didn’t make any mistakes and took it to the Checkers…As i stated before Thompson seems to separate the Men from the Boys. That Race was Excellent !! The crowd was Excellent !! Can’t wait for the World Series and I believe full fields of cars because tracks will be closing and everyone will be at the World Series in force to have a great time in this most Crazy year in racing to try to get a Win to make the winter a little warmer… The addition of PASS Series , Along with the ACT Tour will add to the Excitement. The experts are saying that after something that you really enjoy is taken away from you.. When you get to attend a Race or do the thing that was taken away again you Enjoy it even more than before. I felt that in the crowd , I would usually never watch time trials, I sat and watched them from start to finish with track drying in between. I enjoyed it. People seemed to be upbeat even though car counts were lowest I have ever seen at Thompson. Rocco , Talman, Owen did have some fun swapping the lead back and forth the fans truly appreciated what they were doing, Putting on a show and then settling it later on. Most divisions had decent battles for the lead to add to the fun. Everyone was happy they ran quickly so they could see The Mod Squad take the track on time for their 150 laps of ground pounding action. I agree with other comments that there were a number of cars that could have won the race. The 7NY had to start in the rear for unapproved adjustments after qualifying, That was interesting watching him slicing and dicing his way up the pack. After the pit stop the 7NY was lining up 3rd on the restart, so the pit stop musta been really quick. I agree that the #75 is showing a-lot of strength this year, probably a reflection of the Crew Chief. There are plenty of storylines that will be played out at NHIS , We may have a real close points race as the schedule winds its way down. The drama of a three way battle for the 2020 Championship would be a nice reward for all the fans who have tried their best to stay engaged in this most challenging season of 2020… Enjoy the Races any way you can….

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