Rocco gets to 100-win mark, nears all-time record at Speedbowl

Keith Rocco of Berlin earned a pair of victories Saturday night during a six-division program at the Waterford Speedbowl, giving him 100 for his career at the track.

Rocco won the 35-lap SK Modified division race with some late-race finesse - his 10th win of the year in the division - and later in the evening won the featured Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division race. The all-time wins record at the track is 106, set by Phil Rondeau.

Al Stone III of Durham won the Street Stock race, Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, R.I., took his fourth Mini Stock feature of the year and Randy Churchill of Oakdale won for the second consecutive outing for the SK Light Modifieds. Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott won for the 20th time this year in INEX Legend Cars.

In the SK Modified race, Rocco made a diving move underneath second-place Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard to the third turn on lap 25, moving in behind leader Ed Puleo. Puleo, from Branford, was able to hold back Rocco's charges for six laps. Rocco used a timely crossover maneuver on lap 31, going from the top of the track down to the bottom to get underneath Puleo as they raced to turn one.

Rocco completed the move, then survived three green-white-checkered flag restarts for late race incidents. Plainfield's Tim Jordan was able to finish runner-up to Rocco and Puleo wrecked coming to the finish line, enabling Chadwick to take third.

Stone muscled to victory out of the final corner in a thrilling 25-lap Street Stock race, winning by inches. Bristol's Joe Arena was second in the heated race, but refused technical inspection, surrendering the position to Josh Galvin of Franklin. Phil Evans of Uncasville was credited with third.

The SK Modified division is vaulted into the spotlight next Saturday with the running of the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals. The 150-lap thriller pays the winner $5,000. A strong field of cars is expected. The seven-division program gets underway at a special time, with qualifying races beginning at 5:00 p.m. and main events at 6:30 p.m.

- Day Staff Reports

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