Keith Rocco Uses Last Lap Pass To Score $7K SK Modified Win At Speedbowl

(Press Release from New London-Waterford Speedbowl)

Keith Rocco celebrates victory Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Mitch Bombard)

It took a few more weeks than planned to get the seventeenth running of Smacktoberfest going but once it did the fans were in for a treat. The event was headlined by the 2nd Annual Northeast Street Stock Championship won by Corey Fanning. The final 58 laps of the Ron Bouchard Auto Stores Fast Five Series, presented by The Racing Guys was won by Speedbowl all time win leader, Keith Rocco. A special 40 lap Open Mini Stock race was won by Northeast Mini Stock Tour regular Mike Viens. Enduro winners included Beth Parks in the Ladies race, Maine’s Jamie Heath in the Full Size race, and Steven Brooks going back to back in the Compact Enduros.

The SK Modified® race kicked off the show first, with Keith Rocco resuming from the pole. In a race that was the opposite of what we saw on the finale, the drivers clicked off laps at a high rate. Mike Christopher Jr, who was originally supposed to be at the North South Shootout, restarted the race in sixth and charged like a man on a mission into the lead just 10 laps into the day. Cory Dimatteo, who was substituting for Jeff Rocco, was forced to start last for the driver change. He was up to second place and knocking on Christopher’s door by lap 73, even looking into the lead on lap 78.

A few minor incidents slowed the pace nearing the end of the race, setting up a three lap shootout for the $7000 pay day. After one false start, the leaders were able to sort it out by the second attempt which put on a show to the finish. Rocco would get the advantage going into turn 1 when Christopher chose the outside. They would wind up three wide into turn 1 on the following lap when Dimatteo would give it all he had on the inside. Dimatteo would make another bottom shot move on Rocco during the white flag lap and the pair would drag race to the line, with Rocco taking the win by only 0.071 seconds. Rocco accredited experience as what got him in the winners circle.

By virtue of his third place finish, Todd Owen would be crowned Fast Five Series Champion by 13 points over Andrew Molleur, and 21 points over third place Joey Gada. This gave Owen the clean sweep for every SK Modified® championship title we had to offer in 2021.

Twenty-Eight Street Stocks filled the pits for the 2nd Annual Northeast Street Stock Championship. The race got off to a rocky start with incidents that would end some drivers bid at the $2000 check early. Tommy O’Sullivan would wrestle the lead away from last years winner Christopher Buffone after a lap 8 restart and hold a comfortable lead for much of the race where he would and go on to lead 48 laps of this event. He would have a comfortable lead during those 48 laps even after having to fend off the field when a caution on lap 23 involving Jason Finkbein that slowed the pace.

However, lurking in the background was a hard charging Jimmy Renfrew. Renfrew started 9th and was able to work his way into 2nd place during the next run, where O’Sullivan would lead Renfrew and Buffone as they clicked off about twenty more laps. Contact between Renfrew and Buffone would open the door for Corey Fanning to enter the picture as he slipped into 3rd.

A caution with 2 to go when Aaron Plemons’ engine expired would change the scope of this race for good. O’Sullivan would get the jump on the restart but it was Renfrew who would take the charge and get out into the lead, opening the door for Fanning to slip into 2nd place.  During post race technical inspection, it was found that the car driven by Renfrew was deemed illegal giving the win and big check to Corey Fanning.

Bo Norman would go on to win the Open Street Stock Championship by only 5 points over Joe Arena

The 40 lap Open Mini Stock race drew cars from all over the region, and across both four cylinder classes in our ranks.  Regular X-Car competitor Christian Herman would lead the field to green, but it wouldn’t last long as there was contact across the front row on the first lap. This opened the door for eventual winner Mike Viens to get out front by the completion of lap 1. After an incident with heavy contact taking out three drivers on lap 18, Viens in his Mustang and runner up Matt Sonnhalter in his Jetta would class the field lapping up to the fourth place position over the final run. 2021 Mini Stock Champion Tom Silva finished in third uncontested driving the #34 car.

Andrew Morin won the Exit Realty Pro Truck Series race, with Dave Koenig crowned as their champion. Tom Kazounis won the 1 on 1 Spectator Drags, Beth Parks won the 20 lap Ladies Enduro, Jamie Heath won the 50 lap Full Size Enduro, and Steven Brooks won the 75 lap Compact Enduro, going back to back and being the only repeat winner in the Enduros this season.

Randy Doucette was crowned 2021 Compact Enduro Champion.

100 Lap SK Modifieds®: 1. 57, Keith Rocco, Berlin, CT; 2. 18X, Jeff Rocco/Corey DiMatteo, Wallingford, CT; 3. 81, Todd Owen, Somers, CT; 4. 82, Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott, CT; 5. 0, Dennis Gada, Salem, CT; 6. 35, Andrew Molleur, Shelton, CT; 7. 25CT, Anthony Flannery, East Hampton, CT; 8. 72, Adam Gada, Bozrah, CT; 9. 9, Paul Buzel, Trumbull, CT; 10. 51, Rob Janovic Jr, Waterford, CT; 11. 6, Joe Gada, Uncasville, CT; 12. 8, Chase Cook, Norwich, CT; 13. 17, Glenn Pressel III, Bozrah, CT; 14. 83, Jonathan Puleo, Branford, CT; 15. 49, John Bercham, West Greenwich, RI; 16. 11, Ed Flemke Jr., Southington, CT; 17. 67, Doug Meservey, Dennisport, MA; 18. 12X, Matt Swanson, Acton, MA; 19. 74, Glen Reen, Belchertown, MA; 20. 47, Timmy Jordan, Plainfield, CT; 21. 78, Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill, CT; 22. 3CT, Matt Galko, Meridan, CT; 23. 18, Tyler Barry, Griswold, CT; 24. 94, Walter Sutcliffe, East Haven, CT; 25. 10, Joseph Ternullo, Middletown, CT; 26. 2, Corey Caddick, Richmond, RI; 27. 14, Bill Anderson, Wolcott, CT; 28. 6CT, Cory DiMatteo, Farmington, CT;

60 Lap Open Street Stocks: 1. Corey Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 2. Thomas O’Sullivan, Wilbraham, MA; 3. Ryan Lineham, Hope Valley, RI; 4. Hillary Renaud, Vernon, VT; 5. Christopher Buffone, Belchertown, MA; 6. Clark Brooks, Raymond, NH; 7. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 8. Bo Norman, Clinton, CT; 9. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville, CT; 10. Joe Arena, Bristol, CT; 11. Al Stone III, Durham, CT; 12. Jason Finkbein, Columbia, CT; 13. William Look, Jonesport, ME; 14. Andrew Gillis, Ashland, MA; 15. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 16. Aaron Plemons, Uncasville, CT; 17. RJ Surdell, Willington , CT; 18. Shawn Gaedeke, Groton, CT; 19. Paul Williams, Stoughton, MA; 20. Douglas Curry, Groton, CT; 21. Jeremy Washburn, Willimantic, CT; 22. Jaysin Beal, Ledyard, CT; 23. Paul Smith, Madison, CT; 24. Jim Silvia, Middletown, RI; 25. Ray Downing Jr., Canterbury, CT; 26. Joe Kohler, Cranston, RI; 27. Marvin Minkler, Stamford, CT; DNS. Jake Coutu, Moosup, CT; DQ. Jimmy Renfrew Jr, Candia, NH

40 Lap Open Mini Stocks: 1. Michael Viens, Seekonk, MA; 2. Matthew Sonnhalter, White River Jct, VT; 3. Tommy Silva, Gales Ferry, CT; 4. Patrick Houle, Vernon, VT; 5. TJ Racicot, Quaker hill, CT; 6. Eric Bourgerois, East Haddam, CT; 7. Tim Burgess, Norwich, CT; 8. Matthew Pion, Attleboro, MA; 9. Evan Bourgerois, East Haddam, CT; 10. Christian Herman, North Branford, CT; 11. David Dorr, Gales Ferry, CT; 12. Brian Marcotte, Danielson, CT; 13. Wayne Taylor, Moosup, CT; 14. JT Suprenant, Central Village, CT; DNS. Jared Roy, Sterling, CT;


  1. Will it ever get better for Todd Owen then in 2021. Boy it’s nice to see. Watching and admiring him and Chassie Pro year after year but he just never seemed to be a closer. Whoa did that change this year.
    Stafford announcing their schedule on Thursday at high noon. How dramatic but maybe for good reason. Like including both the NWMT for an event and Tri Track as well. GSPSS back again for Sizzler weekend.
    Tri Track increasing it’s events a popular idea but not seeing it at least not 8 or 10. They will get a dramatic uptick in exposure however when they are seen racing at Stafford on FloRacing by a completely different subscriber base.
    If you are of a certain age and can remember when things that were good were described as “boss” then you may appreciate “”. Unlike over the air radio that plays a continuous loop of the same songs plays songs from the past that you probably never heard of or don’t remember and they do in continuously. Tom Hanks approved and he is even doing a brief stint as a disc jockey at some point.

  2. no one likes kid rock the bully says

    Rocco ran Christopher dirty….cannot blame him for 7k or whatever the payout was .. Rocco jumped the first AND second restarts.roughed him up prior to that as well .the second restart not as obvious but NOT allowing the leader to start …BOGUS Christopher needs to be more aggressive ..not sure who spots for him or what Mike Sr would say.. Christopher had the car to beat. DiMatteo subbing for j rock had a mad fast car . I believe Kid Rock and or DiMatteo were willing to possibly come home in a bucket for the 7k..perhaps Christopher was not.. and THATS what made the difference

  3. 🌈🦄2020 says

    What A Finish

  4. Stuart A Fearn says

    Rocco didn’t forget the first fast five race of the year when he was cleaned out by a bit of over aggression by Christopher while leading and not even halfway through the feature if I recall. Jr choose the outside so this comes with it, I’m never a fan of choosing the outside but I’m sure he ran better out there and was between a rock and a hard place and chose that as his best option to close it out. Just didn’t work out for Jr and experience of Kid Rock in his favorite play ground worked to his advantage

  5. Yes – choosing the outside for a late race restart is almost always problematic.

  6. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Totally agree with Fearn. Experience won that race. Inexperience lost it. Rocco even mentioned that in the post race interview. What a clean race though. Especially compared to the first half. Pretty good crowd for a cold day. That 18 car was quick. I wonder who owns the car. The 74 car was back with Membrino behind the wheel this time. Although I heard somebody complained to the officials and he wasn’t allowed to race. Did dadope drive by yesterday? Probably still looked abandoned to that genius.

  7. I guess everything that everyone was concerned about was repaired and or resolved and the racing continued.

    Enjoy your heaping helping of crow.

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