Bionic Man: Keith Rocco Ready To Test New Body Parts At Busy Icebreaker Weekend

Keith Rocco celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature at the 2020 Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Anyone who spends their life in motorsports like Keith Rocco has comes to understand that parts constantly need replacement. 

For Rocco, the recent offseason wasn’t just about rebuilding cars in his stable, but also getting some personal rebuilding done. 

On January 13, ten days after his 36th birthday, Rocco had his left hip replaced. 

“It’s been bothering me for five years,” Rocco said. “It was so bad last year that once the cold weather hit I was struggling to just walk. It was time to get it done. The worst part about the whole thing was telling myself to get it done. Two weeks after surgery I felt better than I ever have. Right now I feel like I’m a teenager again.” 

The new and improved Rocco will put that new hip fully to the test with an extra busy opening weekend at the Thompson Icebreaker 2021 Saturday and Sunday. 

As would be expected, Rocco will drive for team owner Mark Payne in Saturday’s 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature and in Sunday’s $10,000 to win Thompson Outlaw Modified Icebreaker 125. 

He’ll also add in some full-bodied fun competing for team owner Rollie Linbland in Saturday’s 75-lap Pro All Stars Series feature. 

Rocco had originally planned to team with Linblad to run the Granite State Pro Stock event at Stafford Speedway on April 24. 

“’[Linblad] asked me to do the [Granite State Pro Stock Series race] at Stafford and then he called me back a few weeks later and asked me about doing the Thompon race also. I was like ‘Yeah, whatever you want to do.’

“We’ve always had good success with full-bodied cars, whether it was Stafford or [the New London-Waterford Speedbowl] or Thompson. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Rollie is like a legend to me. I remember when I was a kid watching the legendary No. 48 at Thompson. It’s pretty cool to be driving it now.” 

Rocco said he will compete in all six events at Thompson this season in both the Sunoco Modified division and the Tour Type Modified division. He’ll also run full-time in an SK Modified at Stafford and run the four Tour Type Open Modified 80 events at Stafford. Rocco is the reigning SK Modified champion at both Thompson and Stafford. He said he has no worries about overextending himself this weekend, or ever during the season.

“This is what I live for,” Rocco said. “This is what I wait all winter for. This is what I love doing. And I feel like I’m 15 again.” 


  1. Seekonk fan says

    Had both my hips done in 2019, biggest mistake I made was waiting to long. Can do things I couldn’t do for 10 years.

  2. I just had my hip replaced 5 weeks ago. I can totally relate what “Kid Roc” is talking about’ . The pain can take your focus off your driving ,. sleep interrupted and waking from pain.(causing lack of good sleep}. He will back stronger and more focused then ever. Good for him !!!

  3. The Atomic Punk says

    Hip replaced at 36???. Growing old will be hard on him.

  4. My goodness and so young. I just hope he knows what he’s doing. Joint replacement is serious stuff. Meant to return functionality of joints to a level that maintains a good quality of life. It’s not meant to be put through torture tests of endurance sitting in a race car exposed to inordinate stresses not to mention getting in and out of the cars countless times.
    Saying you live for racing is an expression but it’s not strictly true is it?

  5. RaceDayCT headline spoiler alert..

    “Hip Check: Rocco wins at Icebreaker”…

    Shawn, no charge for that one, it’s on the house..

  6. Goldy,
    So many headlines, but I’d probably roll with Hip Hip Hooray for a Rocco Icebreaker win.

  7. The Atomic Punk says

    Stick Rocco in a Tour car and headline would look like this…. Hip Checked to 14th place.

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