Show Maker: Tyler Hines Gets Second SK Modified Win Of 2021 At Stafford

Tyler Hines (left) celebrates with engine builder Mike Pettit in victory lane after winning the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Tyler Hines is showing a flair for the dramatic in the SK Modified division at Stafford Speedway in 2021. 

Hines did the unexpected back in April in winning the season opening SK Modified event at Stafford Speedway. The April 24 win was his first career victory in the division. 

Friday the North Haven driver became the first driver in 2021 with two SK Modified wins at Stafford and he did it by putting on a show out front. 

After losing the lead to Keith Rocco, Hines rallied back to regain the lead and win the 40-lap SK Modified feature. 

“I just got a good run and things worked out,” Hines said. “I was holding on. Those guys were putting a lot of pressure on me. I’m just excited to be back here. Really happy to be right back here.” 

Rocco, of Wallingford, was second and Stephen Kopcik of Newtown third. 

Hines passed Andrew Molleur for the lead on lap 22 with Rocco moving to second a lap later. 

Caution flew on lap 25 and following the restart the side-by-side show kicked off out front between Hines and Rocco. From lap 26 to lap 33 the pair ran side-by-side to pace the field. On lap 33 Rocco was able to use an outside run off turn four to lead the lap just before caution flew again. 

“Keith and I were side by side for what felt like forever,” Hines said. “I just couldn’t get the advantage. It seemed like the top side was the place to be today.” 

Rocco got the jump on the ensuing restart, but it was negated by a crash at the back of the field. On the following restart it was Hines staying to the outside of Rocco for a lap before powering to the lead off turn two on lap 35. From there Hines went unchallenged. 

“Keith is tough,” Hines said. “He gave me enough room to race and nothing more. I was just fortunate that I got a good run and I just carried the momentum on the outside.” 


  1. Permanent demotion for Matt Buckler? It’s not surprising that Stafford wants to showcase Kyle Rickey, so we may no longer hear so many “Bucklerisms” at the track.

  2. Thank goodness. A terrific race and most of the cars racing tonight still in one piece. If you’d said Rocco could challenge Hines running the high groove I’d believe you. If you told me Hines would win by passing Rocco on the high side I’d say you imagined it.
    All those laps were not unlike Ted Christopher’s last race on 9/15/17 with he and Preece stuck behind Dowling and Galko racing side by side lap after lap after lap. I wonder if Dowling sitting behind Rocco and Hines thought of that.
    So what’s the story line tonight hard racing for big money or nostalgia? If it’s nostalgia for you it’s time to get real. Mike Sr. can compete especially if he drives the 82. Gunning will struggle where ever he lands in the segments probably getting run over in the process and Pearl just needs to stay out of the way.
    They did it again last night. The top 15 cars competing within 2 tenths of a second. Mike Sr is used to that reality. Gunning and Pearl should know how over matched they are but in any event they’ll know by the end of the event.
    We know of the top 15 cars passing in any segment will be difficult. Whether the money and large audience causes drivers to take inordinate risks and cause wrecks we’ll find that out soon enough. One thing is pretty clear. No driver is coming from the rear in any segment to win any special bonus and if they’re smart they won’t even try.

  3. Brian DaRos says

    Awesome Congratulations Tyler.

  4. Bill Realist says

    The “if I only had a car as good as them” in full effect. Way to go dude. Hines is the best story in New England racing right now.

  5. I just watched the race last night – Man did they put on a show. Best race of the weekend by far!!!

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