For Immediate Release
Fla. (July 8, 2010) – When your season is just reaching the first
week of July and it’s already drawing comparisons to the historic
achievements of the late Larry Phillips and Greg
Biffle, you know you’re doing something right.
There’s very little
Keith Rocco hasn’t done right in 2010.
In recognition of
his incredible performance on the asphalt short tracks of Connecticut,
Rocco is a near unanimous choice for the top spot in July’s edition of
the Hunter Index.
Rocco has 16 wins
in 28 starts racing his Modified at Thompson International Speedway,
Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. Over the past month,
the 25-year-old, from Wallingford, Conn., has
piled up six wins and eight top fives in 10 starts to further cement his
hold on the No. 1 spot atop the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
The Hunter Index is
a new feature in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com that will spotlight the
top 10 drivers in the NASCAR Developmental Series in a monthly power
poll. Drivers are ranked on their performance
over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto
racing writers and NASCAR representatives.
five of the six first-place votes to take the top honors after being
voted second in each of the two previous months.
“At Stafford Motor
Speedway, considered the deepest and most talented SK Modified field of
the three tracks Rocco competes at regularly, he has been virtually
unstoppable this year and won all four SK Modified
races over the past month,” said Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford
(Conn.) Courant. “At the Waterford Speedbowl, unless he breaks and gets
wrecked, he wins. It's been no contest at either track for Rocco this
Fourteen of Rocco’s
16 wins have come with a maximum 20-car field, leaving him just 22
points shy of a perfect score of 810.
The last drivers to
record a similar season under the NASCAR championship format were the
Phillips and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Biffle in 1995.
Phillips and Biffle achieved the maximum points
under the system at the time; Phillips won the crown by virtue of more
overall wins (32-27).
impressive, because of the handicapping system at the tracks he races
at, Rocco routinely starts back in the pack and must sprint to the
Adding to the
difficulty, Rocco’s main rival at Thompson and Stafford, Ted
Christopher, checks in at No. 6 in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
national standings and No. 4 in July’s Hunter Index on
the strength of three wins and six top fives in seven starts.
Christopher has also been impressive on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
first-place vote in the Hunter Index went to Andrew Ranger.
from Roxton Pond, Quebec, has found success all over the map. Literally.
two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion, took
over the No. 35 Waste Management Chevrolet in the NASCAR K&N Pro
Series in May. He drove it to the win in the K&N Pro
Series East event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma and was ninth in the
East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He also finished second in
the Canadian Tire Series race at Mosport International Raceway.
And then came July
Ranger won the
K&N Pro Series East race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.,
hopped on a helicopter to Quebec, and then drove from the rear of the
field to finish ninth in the Canadian Tire Series race
at Autodrome St. Eustache that evening.
“It’s easy to
dismiss Ranger’s success as road-course related,” said Jason Christley
of NASCAR. “Certainly his two wins can be owed to his success in that
area. But his impressive runs earlier this season
at Martinsville and then New Hampshire in the K&N Pro Series car,
and then arriving at St. Eustache in time for driver introductions,
hopping in a car he hadn’t touched all day, and pulling out a top- 10
finish, speaks volumes toward Ranger’s acclimation to
Ryan Truex, who won
the K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire and finished fifth at
Lime Rock, came in third in the voting, followed by Christopher. In
addition to his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
success, Christopher finished second to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver
Ryan Newman in the Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire.
Marty Ward, who has
won the last four Late Model races at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens
Speedway, rounded out the top five.
Ryan Preece (NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series) was sixth, followed by Brett Moffitt
(NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), DJ Kennington (NASCAR Canadian Tire
Series), Auggie Vidovich (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West)
and Craig Von Dohren (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series).
JR Fitzpatrick, who
won at Mosport and is second to Kennington in the Canadian Tire Series
points, was one of three drivers to earn honorable mention.
The Hunter Index is
named for Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate
communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series
that make up the NASCAR Developmental Series.
The Index was
designed in the off season as an opportunity to compare the top drivers
from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR
K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers
from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The NASCAR Mexico
Series did not hold events since the previous Index was released.
The panel also
included media members Courchesne representing the Northeast, Adam
Fenwick of National Speed Sport News from the Southeast, Tim Haddock of haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com
from the West Coast,
and Spencer Lewis, representing the Canadian publication Inside Track
Motorsports News. They are joined by Brett Bodine, who is the chairman
of the NASCAR Resumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition
side on the panel, and Christley, the NASCAR public
For more information, contact:
JULY HUNTER INDEX
- KEITH ROCCO
he’s here: It’s hard not to be impressed with Rocco’s old school
mentality – he works on all his own cars and races three nights a week.
He doesn’t think it’s a big deal because, well,
that’s just how his father did it and the way it’s always done. The most
interesting fact in Rocco’s dominance: Only 13 other drivers have run
more races this season than Rocco has won this year.
- ANDREW RANGER
K&N Pro Series / Canadian Tire Series
He’s Here: He won in California and Connecticut, and almost won in
Ontario. And he’s proving pretty adept at the oval racing, too.
- RYAN TRUEX
K&N Pro Series East
He’s Here: Defending champion moved to top of the points with an
impressive win at New Hampshire and backed it up with a strong run at
- TED CHRISTOPHER
Whelen All-American Series / Whelen Modified Tour
He’s Here: Christopher is just about the only thing keeping Rocco from
completely dominating at all three Connecticut short tracks.
- MARTY WARD
Whelen All-American Series
He’s Here: Four straight wins has Ward in line to become just the
second driver to win six Late Model titles at the historic Greenville
- RYAN PREECE
Whelen Modified Tour
He’s Here: A pair of top five runs at New Hampshire and Lime Rock have
kept Preece in the pack of drivers chasing Bobby Santos for the Modified
- BRETT MOFFITT
K&N Pro Series East
He’s Here: Moffitt appears to have put his early season bad luck behind
him with top-five finishes at New Hampshire and Lime Rock, and he’s
keeping Truex in his sights.
- DJ KENNINGTON
Canadian Tire Series
He’s Here: Late pass for the win at St. Eustache helped Kennington
wrest the series lead away from Fitzpatrick.
- AUGGIE VIDOVICH
K&N Pro Series West
He’s Here: A completely dominating performance at Toyota Speedway
produced Vidovich’s first series victory.
- CRAIG VON DOHREN
Whelen All-American Series
He’s Here: Three wins in four starts on the Pennsylvania dirt at
Grandview Speedway gives Von Dohren the momentum in a tough track
MENTION: JR Fitzpatrick (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), John Smith
(NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour), and Ron Sheridan (NASCAR Whelen