Keith Rocco is all about family. Every time he wins he is accompanied by his wife, Cassie, and his little son, KJ in victory lane. Now Rocco will be racing for his father-in-law when he straps in behind the wheel of Todd Ceravolo’s No. 16 at Lee USA Speedway (NH) this weekend for the Valenti Modified Racing Series event during Lee’s Oktoberfest weekend.
“They asked me a while ago just because they were looking to go up there for the weekend and they asked me if I wanted to run it,” Rocco told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’re going to go up there and have some fun this weekend.”
For Keith, Cassie, KJ and the rest of the Rocco/Ceravolo family, the trip to Lee’s Oktoberfest will serve as what Rocco would like to call “a family vacation.”
“When you race as much as I do, there aren’t many people that have a racing family on the other side like my wife’s side,” said Rocco. “For both of us, my father-in-law and myself, to love the sport of auto racing as much as we do it makes things pretty awesome. Let’s face it, we’re going away on like a vacation but we’re going racing for the weekend. It’s something we both enjoy doing and it’s a lot of fun for everybody. I’m very fortunate to have the family that I have.”
For a driver that is accustomed to racing in his own equipment, one would think there may be a little bit of pressure that comes along with piloting his father-in-law’s race car. The 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion will be as loose as one can be this weekend.
“No not at all,” Rocco said when asked if there was any pressure heading into the weekend. “We’re family and we’re going to go have some fun. I’m sure we’ll be able to make it work and make the car comfortable for me to drive.”
Rocco heads to the Granite State bullring fresh off a win in the VMRS event at the Waterford Speedbowl (CT) last weekend. He led 87 of 100 laps in that even on his way to win number-three on the season. His dominant effort shouldn’t be that surprising. He leads the Waddell Communications $1,000 lap leader award standing by a large margin. Rocco has led 301 laps this season despite only racing in seven of the 15 races to date. To put that in perspective, the next closest lap leader is Richard Savary. Savary led 146 laps while competing in all 15 races.
Despite the big money being on the line for the lap leader award, Rocco said that the flat banking in the turns at Lee doesn’t offer much of a reward to drivers that make their way to the front too soon.
“I’m just going to have some fun,” said Rocco. “I don’t think that’s the place you want to lead too many laps besides the last one from what everybody says. You want to save as much as you can. I think we’ll be really good at Thompson anyways, so we’ll probably be able to lead some laps there.”
This race marks the first VMRS start for the Meriden, CT native outside of his home state where he’s been so dominant. But Rocco does have some experience at Lee as he’s raced a NEMA Lite and Late Model there in the past.
In addition to racing the Ceravolo-owned Modified, Rocco also has plans to compete in the Late Model division in the Scott Fearn-owned No. 1, the same car that he scored 11 wins with at Waterford Speedbowl (CT) in 2014.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Crystal Snape