(Stafford Springs, CT)—During the 2017 SK Modified® season at Stafford Motor Speedway, the headlines have been filled up with Ted Christopher and Chase Dowling, who between them have won 6 of the 8 races this year. One driver who hasn’t made as much noise in the headlines is Keith Rocco, driver of the #88 Wheelers Auto / Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair car. Rocco has yet to win a race in 2017, but his quiet consistency has seen him finish in the top-7 in all 8 SK Modified® feature events to date and he is looking to continue his run of good fortune.
“I don’t think we’ve been under the radar,” said Rocco. “It seems like every time they’ve won this year, we’ve either finished second or third, so we’re right there, we’re just missing that little bit of speed. The consistency is there, which is half the battle. Every week we’re trying something different and we’ve been making gains, we just haven’t gotten a win yet.”
Among Rocco’s 8 top-7 finishes this season are five podium efforts with a best finish of second on May 12 when he and Ted Christopher dueled for the lead in the closing laps and Rocco came up just short at the checkered flag. With those results under his belt, Rocco feels like it’s only a matter of time until he puts his #88 back in NAPA Victory Lane.
“I think it’s only a matter of time, but it’s tough out there,” said Rocco. “Everyone has the best of the best equipment and it seems like if your car isn’t perfect, then you’re not going to win. We’ve been right there and battling with those guys, swapping the lead back and forth. We just haven’t won a race yet. It’s tough with the tire program and only getting 2 tires a week. It seems like everyone is on a different schedule with their tires. I think it‘s just a matter of having a good night with tires and being on the right schedule.”
In addition to his driving duties behind the wheel of the #88, Rocco has also ventured into the ownership realm this season, fielding entries for Tom Abele, Jr. in the #32 and Brendon Bock in the #29 car. Abele has run all the races and with 3 top-10 finishes to his credit, he sits just outside the top-10 in the points standings. Bock got a late start, but in four starts this season, he has recorded two top-10 finishes.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Rocco. “It’s almost like having another job but those guys are running good and we’re hoping we can get them into the top-3 on a consistent basis. To be honest, it doesn’t really affect anything we do. The cars are all set up the same and it’s hard to keep all 3 cars up front.”
Rocco is a former 2-time SK Modified® champion at Stafford (2008, 2010) and if his thoughts on the second half can match his performance in the first half of the season, he could well be on his way to a third championship.
“I think we should be able to keep our momentum rolling and have just as good a second half of the year as we have started off in the first half.”
Rocco, Abele, Bock, and the rest of the SK Modified® field will be back in action this Friday night, July 28th as part of the 5-Star Series program with a special appearance by the Wild Thing Karts Senior Champs division. Tickets for this Friday night’s program are priced at $17.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $20.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.