Speed51’s Short Track Madness is taking many of the major names currently competing in short track racing and putting them on a bracket for fans to vote on who’s the best of the best right now. The majority of these drivers are touring stars either in their region or all around the country, much like the major powerhouse schools you find in the nation’s strongest athletic conferences.
But, every year there are those programs from smaller schools with more local fanbases, but with well-established reputations that also make it into the big dance. In short track racing, they are similar to the top local drivers, who have gained prominence across the land by stellar performances at one, two or even three home tracks on a weekly basis.
There are only so many spots in the bracket for local favorites, with a select few getting in with the others being left out. One of the local stars with a good chance of getting in is Connecticut Modified star Keith Rocco.
Championships. That’s something that ‘Kid Roc’ has plenty of in his racing career. Recently, he celebrated his eighth Sunoco Modified title at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, where he won four times in 2019. In the past, he has earned six at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in the SK Modifieds and three SK Modified titles at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Rocco just nearly missed out missed out on another Stafford SK title in 2019, but finished the season with five wins, in what is regarded as one of the toughest short track weekly championships in the nation.
Those 17 NASCAR Division 1 track titles also put him in a tie for the all-time mark in the modern era dating to 1982.
Rocco also earned yet another NASCAR Connecticut State Championship in 2019, while finishing fifth in the Division 1 national standings for his performances at Thompson and Stafford this season. He continues to be a NASCAR Division 1 national contender year after year. His 2010 national title made Rocco the second of just two drivers to win the D1 national title that hail from Connecticut and drive Modifieds; the other being his mentor: the late Ted Christopher in 2001.
In addition, "Kid Roc" has proved himself in Tour-type Modifieds at Connecticut tracks, most recently winning one of the three Open Modified races at Stafford in May of 2019 against a mix of local and touring drivers.
While managing a competitive multi-car team for fellow SK Modified competitors, Rocco maintains one of the mightiest driving reputations in all of the land, one worthy of a spot in the Short Track Madness bracket.
The 2020 Short Track Madness Tournament bracket will be revealed Friday night at 5 p.m. ET on Speed51. Stay tuned to find out if Rocco makes the ballot and be sure to cast your votes when the voting period begins.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51/Rick Ibsen