Doubled Tribute: Keith Rocco Wins SK Modified TC 13 Shootout At Stafford 

Car owner Dan Avery (left), Keith Rocco (center) and crew chief Mike O’Sullivan (right) celebrating victory in the TC 13 Shootout Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The TC 13 SK Modified Shootout at Stafford Speedway is run annually as a tribute to the track’s all-time winningest driver Ted Christopher. 

Friday at Stafford, Keith Rocco used the event to double the tribute in his own way. 

Rocco, of Wallingford, became the first driver to win the event twice. Rocco, who worked as a part of Christopher’s pit crew as a teenager and then raced fiercely against him for years, also won the event in 2019.

On Sept. 21 longtime SK Modified team owner Jean-Guy Poulin passed away. Poulin and his wife Brigitte gave Rocco his first full-time opportunity in an SK Modified in 2005. Rocco drove for the family for four years. 

Rocco, who is in his first year driving for team owner Dan Avery, has been driving a No. 22 SK Modified at Stafford in 2023. Friday he rolled out on the track with a special No. 78 paint scheme memorializing the schemes run for years by the Poulin family. 

“I learned a lot working with [Ted Christopher] and watching [him] and being a part of what they did for years,” Rocco said. “To win the race in the vintage No. 78. I can’t say enough for Jean and Brigitte for what they did over the years. Especially now, [car owner] Dan Avery gave up the quarter panel to put their name on it and do a throwback scheme.” 

Christopher was killed in a plane crash on Sept. 16, 2017. His nephew Mike Christopher Jr. won the event in 2022. Other winners include Glen Reen (2018), Todd Owen (2020) and David Arute (2021). 

The top-13 finishers in Friday’s regular SK Modified feature qualified into the 13-lap TC 13 Shootout. Rocco passed Michael Gervais Jr. for the lead on lap and never trailed again. Gervais, of Wolcott, was second and Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott was third. 

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