Marcello Rufrano Readying To Live Out Childhood Dreams At New Smyrna Speedway World Series

Marcello Rufrano celebrates victory in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 last July at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Marcello Rufrano’s roots in racing run deep at Stafford Motor Speedway. 

But for the North Haven driver, some of his earliest memories in racing are watching Keith Rocco race at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Fla. when the track’s annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing still included an SK Modified division. 

“For us to finally to go down there and race at a track that I’ve been going to – that’s probably some of the first memories I have of going to race track is actually going to New Smyrna Speedway and watch [Rocco] race the SK Modified there when they actually had those,” Rufrano said on a recent episode of the Unmuffled podcast. “Being that kid standing in turn three watching them dive into three. It’s real nostalgic when you think about it, going back to the track where your first racing memories are and you’re going to be actually turning laps around the track. It’s amazing.” 

Rufrano will go from being the kid watching Modifieds dive into turn three to be the driver doing when he makes debut in the Tour Type Modified division at the track next month. The Tour Type Modified division will run five consecutive nights of features from Feb. 8 to Feb. 12 at the World Series. 

“It was an idea that my father had floated around for the past couple years, but not with me, it was more for Keith [Rocco],” Rufrano said. “It was just something that he would think about, get serious about and then kind of throw it in the trash. It was just an idea that we’ve always wanted to do.

“But, this past year I kind of hammered it on him a little more and a little more and a little more to the point where he kind of got annoyed about it. He was like ‘You know what? Let’s do it this year.’ He finally pulled the trigger on it. Ever since then it’s been a total commitment. … There isn’t a day we’re not working on the car. Just always little knick-knacks that we’re trying to fool around with. It’s really exiting.”

Listen to Rufrano talk more about his upcoming trip to New Smyrna, the 2021 season and lots more on the latest edition of Unmuffled.


  1. I’m about to be very bad.
    Did Rufrano win that Stafford Open race because on that one day they hit the set up so perfectly that the car could not help but fly. Or did they sneak in the steel heads with the higher compression for this one race without declaring they did so and adding the weight?
    In any event for that one race that car was a thing to behold it was so clearly better.

  2. Not sure if this was reported already. Good news. I just checked to NBC Sports gold grassroots schedule and the World Series is covered Feb 5 – 13th. You need to sign up for Nascar Roots which costs 2.99 a month to secure access, Roots also includes ARCA and Whelen coverage. The 4.99 monthly track pass would also cover everything Roots does but also includes imsa and AMA flat track.

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