Record Breaker: Keith Rocco Looking To Set New NASCAR Mark For Track Titles Friday At Stafford

Keith Rocco celebrates an SK Modified victory on July 17 at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

On the national stage that is NASCAR Weekly Series short track racing, Keith Rocco has developed a reputation over the last 14 years as a driver known countrywide by the competition as one of the best ever. 

Friday at Stafford Speedway the Wallingford driver can cement that legacy among NASCAR’s all-time short track racing greats in a colossal way. 

With two races left this season, Rocco goes into Friday’s 40-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series SK Modified feature at Stafford with a 70-point lead in the standings over second place Ronnie Williams and a 76-point lead over third place Todd Owen. 

An 11th place finish or better in Friday’s SK Modified feature will clinch Rocco’s fourth SK Modified title at the historic half-mile. In 12 events at Stafford this year Rocco has five wins, eight top-five’s and has finished in the top-10 in every event. 

The 2020 Stafford SK Modified title would be Rocco’s 18th NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Division I track championship over 14 years, which will set a new NASCAR record. 

Rocco tied Joe Kosiski for the national record for total Division I track championships last year when he won his eighth Weekly Racing Series SK Modified championship at Thompson Speedway. He also has six Weekly Racing Series SK Modified titles at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. 

Rocco won his first SK Modified track title in 2007 at Thompson. His first at Stafford came in 2008 with his first at Waterford coming in 2010. He was the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion in 2010. The Speedbowl lost its NASCAR sanction prior to the 2017 season. Rocco went on to win his seventh title at Waterford that year. 

“To be honest, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve been focusing on,” Rocco said of the NASCAR national record. “It’s such a huge accomplishment. I kind of got gipped when we ran the Speedbowl [in 2017] and won the championship there because it wasn’t NASCAR sanctioned so it didn’t count. But it’s really cool. That’s a lot of titles, and in such a short period of time to be able to accomplish that is just mind blowing.” 

In addition to 2008, Rocco also won SK Modified titles at Stafford in 2010 and 2017. Rocco would join the late Ted Christopher and the late Bob Potter as the only drivers in track history with four or more SK Modified championships. Christopher had nine titles at Stafford and Potter had five. 

“I didn’t realize we would be the only one’s in that bracket,” Rocco said. “That’s pretty spectacular. Those are two legends that are no longer with us. Obviously things would be different if Ted was still here because he’d still be a fierce competitor and he’d still be one contending every year. It’s kind of [bittersweet], but it is cool to be on the same page with them.” 

Rocco said he’ll go to Stafford Friday like he does every other week at the track, with the singular focus of winning the feature. 

“If you’re going to win [the championship], this is the way to win it, not going down to the final race,” Rocco said. “We’ve got a pretty good cushion there, so there’s no better way to do it than to do it winning the race.” 

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