Rocco Reaches Century Mark At Waterford
WATERFORD, Conn. – Waterford Speedbowl returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing on Saturday with a six-division program.
Keith Rocco led the way, doubling up in winning both the SK Modified and Valenti Auto Mall Late Model features to earn his 100th career victory at the track. Al Stone III was the winner of a thrilling Street Stock race, Garrett Denton won his fourth Mini Stock feature and Randy Churchill won for the second consecutive outing for the SK Light Modifieds. Mike Christopher Jr. won for the 20th time this year in INEX Legend Cars.
Rocco recorded the 100th victory after his win in the night’s extra-distance Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, his second win of the night. He joins Phil Rondeau and Don Collins as the only drivers to ever reach the century mark in career wins in the track’s 64-year history. Rondeau is the all-time wins leader at the Speedbowl with 106 victories. Rocco’s first win came on Aug. 30, 2003 in the Street Stock division.
Rocco’s night began with his tenth win of the year in the SK Modified ranks, coming after some late race heroics in the division’s 35-lap feature. Rocco started the race twelfth, moving up while Ed Puleo led. A lengthy green flag run saw Tyler Chadwick get by Rob Janovic Jr. for second, clearing him for the spot on lap 15. Rocco made his way into the picture by lap 20, completing and outside pass on Janovic for third.
While Chadwick looked for a way to unseat Puleo, Rocco struck.
He made a diving move underneath Chadwick to the third turn on lap 25, taking second. Puleo was able to hold back Rocco’s charges for six laps before he was victim of a well-executed crossover maneuver on lap 31. Rocco went from the top of the track down to the bottom lane in turn four to get underneath Puleo as they raced to first turn. Rocco completed the move, led lap 32, then survived three green-white-checkered flag restarts for late race incidents behind him. Tim Jordan was able to race his way to a runner-up finish late in the going. Puleo wrecked hard out of the final corner coming to the finish line, enabling Chadwick to take third.
Rocco won his 10th Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature of the year to match his SK Modified total. He checkered the 50-lap feature, powering to the lead following a lap-19 restart. Bruce Thomas Jr. had led from the opening green flag until the first caution while Rocco worked his way to second. Rocco used the outside lane to get around Thomas to lead lap 20 and mastered a final restart which came on lap 24. Thomas wound up second after holding back Jason Palmer’s bid for the position. Palmer was third.