October 16, 2018
Todd Owen Gets Sunoco World Series SK Mod Win; Keith Rocco Scores Championship
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – Three days of racing, three days of celebrating Modified victories at the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing this year for Todd Owen.
Owen, of Somers, capped off a weekend of wins by scoring victory in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway.
Owen held off Ryan Preece of Berlin for the win. Preece was making his final start as a regular in the division before heading to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series full-time in 2019.
Despite being involved in a mid-race wreck, Keith Rocco won his third consecutive track championship and SK Modified title overall at the track.
Owen started the weekend as a winning car owner when Bryan Narducci won the SK Light Modified feature Friday evening.
Saturday night at Thompson Owen got his second career Valenti Modified Racing Series victory in the 50-lap feature for the series.
“It’s just a dream weekend,” Owen said. “I got three wins this weekend. … You can’t ask for a better script. Being around great people, great equipment, you get the results that you need. We were focused all weekend on coming here for one goal.”
Owen moved from fourth to second following a lap 16 restart. Owen then used a lap 17 restart to power by Kyle James for the lead.
Preece got under James for second on lap 24 and challenged Owen late, but couldn’t find the lane to the lead.
“That was a fun race,” Owen said. “[Preece] was definitely a gentleman out there too. When two guys are battling that you know you don’t have to worry about having any stupid incidents happen, it was a lot of fun.”
Keith Rocco celebrates his seventh SK Modified championship at Thompson Speedway
Rocco got caught up in a multi-car wreck in turn three on lap 16 and was forced to retire with a 19th place finish. Rocco needed only to take the green flag to start the race Sunday to clinch the championship.
“It’s a good thing that we just had to start the race because I’d be pretty upset for the stupidity on that one,” Rocco said of the wreck that took him out. “The yellow lights were on, my spotter told me the yellow was out and somebody behind us just never lifted and cleaned out a handful of cars.”
Rocco won four of the eight SK Modified events at Thompson this season.
“We’ve really had really good success here,” Rocco said. “Ever since the first time I drove a Modified here I fell in love with the place, the high banks, the speed and the racing.”
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