Keith Rocco Wins Big At Waterford
Rocco made his moves count from that point forward. He got past the outside of Pitkat for fourth on lap-74 and third-place runner Janovic on lap-75 just ahead of the next caution flag. The restart saw Christopher pull away from Abele and just as Rocco was challenging for second, the cars of Diego Monahan, Tyler Jackson and Frank Mucciacciaro found trouble in turn three to return the race to caution on lap-79. The complexion of the race changed dramatically as Christopher relinquished the lead to head to the pits for adjustments to his car for the final half of the event.
With Christopher restarting from back in seventeenth, Abele assumed control with Rocco to his outside. Rocco used a well-timed restart to race even with Abele to turn one, pulling ahead as the pair exited turn two. Rocco had the lead on lap-83 bringing Pitkat with him around the outside of the track into second. Chadwick was on the attack, clawing into third around Abele on lap-85 with his sights set on the top two. Chadwick tried to work over Pitkat for several laps to no avail, riding third until a caution on lap-99.
Rocco used a good restart over Pitkat to head back to turn one as the leader on the restart. Just behind them Janovic survived a wild ride as he got bounced from fifth place off the apron of the track into turn one, gathering his car up to keep the race green. Chadwick found an opening under Pitkat to snatch second and pick up pursuit of Rocco. The two pulled ahead with Chadwick stalking Rocco over a stretch that brought the race to lap-120. Several times Chadwick tried to get a wheel outside of Rocco but could never quite muster the momentum to pull alongside.
After Chadwick finally settled in line behind, Rocco turned it up a notch with the laps closing down, pulling away from Chadwick as the race moved to its final stretch. With Rocco streaking towards closing out an impressive win with a near straightaway advantage, Pitkat was back on Chadwick trying to pick up second in the closing laps. When it appeared the race may continue to the checkered flag, Matt Galko saw a solid effort run sour as he went up in smoke on lap-147, stopping at the top of the track in turn two to bring out a caution.
Two additional late incidents forced Rocco into restarting smoothly to seal the win. He nailed each one, the first versus Chadwick and the final against Pitkat, who was able to reclaim second on lap 148 as Chadwick appeared to have nothing left. Pitkat could not catch Rocco to challenge and finished in second. Chadwick took third and Abele ran up front all night to take a hard earned fourth. Janovic recovered to take home fifth. Twelve cars finished the race on the lead lap.
With the win, Rocco becomes the third driver to take back-to-back wins in the prestigious event. One year ago Rocco was the winner of record after starting the race, however he relinquished the seat to Ceravolo two weeks later after a rain delay coupled with a penalty sidelined him. No driver owns three wins in the history of the Budweiser Modified Nationals.