Rocco has a big day

Waterford - A familiar face ruled the day at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Keith Rocco of Berlin won three races Sunday during the six-race Blastoff Weekend event. The feat tied the mark legendary Speedbowl racer Don Collins set in 1960.

Rocco reached the winner's circle in the Valenti Modified Racing Series season-opening race, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model divisions.

"After the Late Model (win) I just had to jump in the (Modified Racing Series) car and go,'' Rocco said. "I never even had time to think about (the record)."

Other winners Sunday were Josh Galvin of Franklin (Street Stock), Ian Brew (Mini Stocks) and Avery Stoehr (Northeastern Midget Association feature).

Rocco was pushed over the first half of the 100-lap Valenti feature by rival Ted Christopher. Christopher moved to second place on lap 22 and pressed Rocco into a fast pace until he lost an engine in his car on lap 42, putting oil down on the speedway, triggering a big wreck behind Rocco.

Over the final half of the race, former Speedbowl driver Chris Pasteryak was able to keep pace with Rocco but unable to mount a challenge. Lisbon's Pasteryak finished second, Todd Szegedy was third, Jeff Rocco was fourth and Preston native Max Zachem was fifth.

A special 64-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature commemorating the track's number of years in operation actually began Rocco's big day. He began the race in the fourth starting position and moved to second on lap 9. A timely caution flag enabled Rocco to line up outside leader Jeff Gallup, then power ahead when the race resumed. Rocco led lap 10 and never looked back. Craig Lutz was second, Kyle James was third, Christopher finished fourth and Shawn Thibeault was fifth.

Bruce Thomas Jr. of Groton was second in the Late Model feature, Jason Palmer was third, Glenn Boss was fourth and Vin Esposito finished fifth.

Brew was the benefactor of a final corner incident that collected the two lead cars in the 30-lap Mini Stock feature. Brew was in third behind Lisbon's Ken Cassidy Jr. and Garrett Denton for the last lap but Cassidy spun, causing Denton to slow and drop to the apron of the track to avoid serious contact. Brew kept his momentum and drove around the outside of both to take the checkered flag in a finish that had fans on their feet. Dave Trudeau finished second and Doug Curry of Groton was third.

Galvin rebounded from a late-race incident in last week's Street Stock feature to dominate Sunday's 30-lap race.

Travis Jurcik was second and Monte Gibbs finished third.

Stoehr needed to fend off a mid-race challenge by Ian Cumens before romping to victory in the 25-lap NEMA Midget race, the season opener for the series.

Cumens wound up finishing second after battling John Zych Jr., who came in third.


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