Multi-time track champion Keith Rocco and rising star Mike Christopher Jr. traded slide jobs and crossovers in each turn for the majority of the final ten laps. The battle came to a halt after the two made contact in three and four coming to the white flag, sending Christopher back to fourth while Rocco went on to score another win in his first race since an offseason hip replacement surgery.
While in victory lane, the former NASCAR Advanced Auto Parts All American Series champion had just one word for the battle.
“That was awesome. I got to crossing him back and forth there and down in three and four I expected him to cross me back but he stayed out there and we made contact,” Rocco said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “That was a lot of fun racing with him.”
Rocco helped put on a show for fans in attendance all while his right rear tire was going down. He was expecting Christopher to pull another crossover, and contact resulted when he did not.
“This place is extremely hard to pass. You’ve got to have respect for the guy and understand the aspect of give and take. We kept lifting and crossing each other and in that last turn I expected him to lift across me and he hung out there and we made a little contact and that was the end of that.”
Christopher made a mid-race charge to put himself in contention for the season-opening win before contact with Rocco caused him to fall back to fourth at the race’s conclusion. While a little bit disappointed with the outcome, he chalked up the finish to the racing product.
“It was a great race. It’s hard to pass clean at this racetrack and get away. There’s a couple things you can do; the slide job and crossover and at the end of the race it’s whoever gets got, and this time it was me,” Christopher said. “It’s just the product of the racetrack, I’m not going to say I was an angel because I was slide jobing and crossing over and sometimes when he wouldn’t we would touch. That’s just racing here and sometimes that’s how it goes.”
Troy Talman and Todd Owen took the final two podium spots, while Danny Cates rounded out the top-five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Sunoco Modifieds Results:
- Keith Rocco
- Troy Talman
- Todd Owen
- Mike Christopher Jr
- Danny Cates
- Jon Puleo
- John Lowinski-Loh
- Rick Williams
- Jason Sundeen
- Paul LaPlante
- Darin Renihan
- Chase Cook
- Christian Turrisi
- Joey Allegro Jr
- Dylan Izzo