Stafford Springs, CT — When the green flag falls on the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 this Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway, Keith Rocco will be looking to emulate Woody Pitkat. Pitkat picked up his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win at Stafford last August and followed that up by winning first Modified Racing Series feature two weeks ago at Stafford. Rocco already won his first MRS race at Stafford in August 2011 and he is now hoping to collect his first NWMT win at Stafford, just as Pitkat did.
In only 2 races together, Rocco and the #22 Canto Paving / Milton Caterpillar team have been a force to be reckoned with. Rocco qualified 10th for the NAPA Spring Sizzler, but he was running as high as second before a faulty alternator wire saw him slide back to 12th at the checkered flag and Rocco qualified 2nd at Waterford last weekend and finished 10th. With his experience at Stafford, he is hoping that the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 could be his breakthrough race.
“Things are going well,” said Rocco. “The guys all work well together and Our Motorsports has a great team. We were running second at the Sizzler and an alternator wire broke off and we lost some voltage and we started fading back. I’d say we had a top-3 car at the Sizzler and I think we’re going to be pretty good on Friday. I’d like to hope [we can get a win]. Granted we’ve only run 2 races together so far, but we’ve been up front and we’ve had a fast car in both races.”
In addition to his career success at Stafford, another plus for Rocco is his relationship with his crew chief Brad LaFontaine. All of Rocco’s SK Modified® cars have come from LaFontaine’s Northeast Racecars shop so he already had a working relationship with LaFontaine prior to joining the #22 team.
“Brad LaFontaine from Northeast Racecars gives us a great racecar every race,” said Rocco. “All my SK cars are Brad’s cars so I’m used to the way he does things and I have good communication with him. It’s not like working with a stranger.”
The contrast couldn’t be bigger from the NAPA Spring Sizzler to the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 with a difference of 75 laps in the race distance. Despite that difference, Rocco says his team has some good notes for the car setup and that pit strategy may play the biggest factor in who takes home the checkered flag.
“The team learned a lot about the new Troyer Z-link car and I think that will help us be able to put together a better package for this Friday,” said Rocco. “The pit strategy is going to be a lot different in this race where guys will either take tires or not depending on how the cautions fall. The new Troyer car and all Troyer cars seem to go good on the longer runs so no tires might be a possibility for us, but I can’t answer that question now.”
Rocco, along with Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, Justin Bonsignore, Woody Pitkat, and Rowan Pennink, will be partaking in double duty driving efforts this Friday with both his Whelen Modified Tour ride as well as the #88 Wheeler’s Auto / Mr. Rooter Plumbing Chevrolet. Rocco heads into this Friday fresh off of his second win of the season last Friday night and Rocco is also the SK Modified® points leader as he looks to capture his third career SK Modified® track championship at Stafford.
Tickets for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $33.00 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 seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking in self contained Recreational Vehicles.
For more information on the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com