August 12th, 2018
Bearing Out: Keith Rocco Trusts In Crew Chief, Rolls To SK Mod Win At Stafford
A www.racedayct.com article
Photo: Jim DuPont
STAFFORD – Keith Rocco came to Stafford Motor Speedway Friday with major changes to his car, desperate to end a winless streak in the SK Modified division dating back to May.
And those adjustments had Rocco smiling after a strong showing in practice and a victory in his heat race.
Then his veteran crew chief Billy “Bear” Calicchio had some news for him that wiped his excitement away.
“We came here different because I’ve been breaking Bear’s stones that we’ve been too tight lately,” Rocco said. “So we came here with something different and we were pretty good. We won the heat race, kind of driving away in the heat race. After the heat race he said ‘It ain’t gonna work, we’ve got to go back to where we were.’ I kind of doubted him.”
By the end of the night at Stafford Rocco had turned from doubter to believer.
Rocco rocketed from the fourth starting spot to the lead early and held on through three late restarts to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at Stafford.
Joey Cipriano III of Waterbury was second and Chase Dowling of Roxbury third.
It was the fifth victory of the season for Rocco and his first since May 18. He had won the first four events of the season.
“I let him do this thing,” Rocco said of Calicchio’s decision to change the car’s setup before the feature. “… The guy’s been calling shots a lot longer than I have. That’s why we work well together. He let me try pretty much what I wanted to try in practice and the heat race and I thought we were pretty good, but he didn’t think it was going to last. His whole thing is he wants to be good on lap 40.”
August 9th, 2018
Bearing Right: Keith Rocco Back To SK Modified Victory Lane At Thompson Speedway
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – On July 14 at Thompson Speedway Ryan Preece was able to end Keith Rocco’s stranglehold of victory lane in the SK Modified division at the track in 2018.
Wednesday it was Rocco’s crew chief Billy “Bear” Calicchio sporting the smile of relief and satisfaction following the SK Modified feature at Thompson.
“Last time we were here I missed the stagger,” Calicchio said. “I wasn’t missing the stagger this time.”
Rocco got back to his winning ways by holding off the charges of Preece to win the 30-lap SK Modified feature Wednesday at Thompson.
It was the fourth victory in five SK Modified events this year at Thompson for Rocco, of Wallingford.
Preece, of Berlin, was second and Woody Pitkat of Stafford third.
“Last time we were here we missed the stagger a little bit,” Rocco said. “It definitely cost us the shot to bear Ryan last time. But we were spot on today.”
Calicchio said he took all the blame for Rocco not winning on July 14, but Rocco said there was no bluster because of it.
“We joked about it,” Rocco said. “… We’re a team. I make mistakes, he makes mistakes, spotters make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. There’s no point in getting mad about it. Everybody is here to help me and to want to win so that’s one thing I don’t do is yell at anybody.”
Rocco got by Preece for second place following a lap four restart. One lap later Rocco used a diving move into turn three to overtake Tim Jordan for the lead.
Preece moved by Jordan for second place on lap six, but couldn’t find the lane to get by Rocco the rest of the way. Preece looked to the low lane twice over the final two laps but couldn’t the speed to overtake Rocco.
“I’m not afraid to say it, but when you beat Ryan Preece you’re doing something,” Calicchio said