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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Rocco Moves To Front & Top 25 in points
Jun 16, 2009 - updated Jun 16th, 2009 5:14pm
Web posted by

Daytona Beach, Fla. --

(June 16, 2009)

Connecticut driver uses sixth win to take points lead from Morris

Keith Rocco has been through this before, and he’s never worried about points. He just concerns himself with getting to Victory Lane.

The Wallingford, Conn., driver has become pretty adept at that. His win in the 36th Annual Coors Light 100 SK Modified feature this past Friday night at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway was his sixth of the season.

It also pushed him past Virginia Late Model driver Philip Morris and into first place in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points standings.

“We just keep doing our thing,” said the 24-year-old Rocco. “Every year, we just go out to win races. That’s all we do. A lot of people know I’ve got the reputation of checkers or wreckers. That’s the way we race.”

Rocco has 11 top fives in 15 starts, and also has three finishes outside the top 10. His latest victory increased his points total to 556 points. Morris, the defending champion, has seven wins and 11 top fives in 13 starts for 545 points while racing at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

Bill Leighton is third with 516 points, followed by Matt Buller with 450 and Les Siebert with 442. All three run dirt Late Models at Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway in Omaha and Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction.

When he’s not working his day job at Petite Racing Engines, Rocco keeps himself busy racing his asphalt Modified three nights a week at Connecticut’s NASCAR short tracks. In addition to Friday nights at Stafford, Rocco races Thursdays at Thompson International Speedway and Saturdays at the Waterford Speedbowl.

“There isn’t anything better than racing three nights a week,” Rocco said, “because you know you’re going to get one in.”

It seems rain has been the only thing to slow down Rocco, who finished fourth in the nation each of the past two seasons. Last year, Rocco was atop the points standings most of the summer. He wound up with 11 wins in 49 starts and was the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Connecticut state champion.

“Last year it took us a long time to get rolling,” Rocco said. “And then once we got rolling, we were clicking them off. It seems like this year, we’re picking up right where we left off.”

The only change has been the owner of his Stafford Modified, as Rocco paired with John Rufrano after winning the 2008 track title with a different car owner. While he runs for different car owners at each track, the core group of crew members is the same throughout.

“The team is still the same, so we still know how to win,” Rocco said.

The win at Stafford was Rocco’s first extra-distance win at the half-mile oval. And it came after a race-long shootout with former national champion Ted Christopher, whose 100-plus career wins there is more than anybody else in track history. After starting 18th, Rocco quickly made his way to the front. Over the final 35 laps, Rocco and Christopher exchanged the lead nine times.

“It’s just one of those things, ‘Don’t give up,’” Rocco said. “We swapped the lead back and forth, back and forth. We had the fan on their feet for that one. That one was special.”

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion also earns a secure spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in 2010.

Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 23 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 23 cars, the winner receives 46 points, second gets 44 and third 42. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26. Race winners receive an additional five bonus points.

FEATURE DIVISION

National Top 500 NASCAR Point Leaders

Pos Driver Track Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points

1. Keith Rocco Waterford Speedbowl 15 6 11 12 556

2. Philip Morris Motor Mile Speedway 13 7 11 11 545

3. Bill Leighton, Jr I-80 Speedway 14 4 13 13 516

4. Matt Buller I-80 Speedway 14 2 6 13 450

5. Les Siebert I-80 Speedway 14 0 8 12 442

6. C E Falk, III Langley Speedway 11 4 11 11 432

7. Andy Eckrich West Liberty Raceway 14 0 11 12 426

8. Mike Wallace I-80 Speedway 14 0 10 12 426

9. Nick Joanides Toyota Speedway At Irwindale 9 6 9 9 414

10. Roger Powell Greenville-Pickens Speedway 11 2 11 11 404

11. Marty Ward Greenville-Pickens Speedway 11 7 9 9 399

12. Clint Benson I-80 Speedway 12 2 7 11 394

13. Dexter Canipe, Jr Hickory Motor Speedway 17 2 13 15 380

14. Andrew Kosiski I-80 Speedway 14 1 4 11 379

15. David Wilson--R Hickory Motor Speedway 17 2 11 15 372

16. Tommy Lemons, Jr Motor Mile Speedway 13 3 6 6 371

17. Andy Mercer Hickory Motor Speedway 10 9 10 10 363

18. John Hightower Greenville-Pickens Speedway 11 1 8 10 363

19. Ryan Wilson Caraway Speedway 17 0 3 13 356

20. Anthony Anders Greenville-Pickens Speedway 13 1 8 11 353

21. Jason Romero All American Speedway 11 4 7 10 350

22. Vito Ranuio The New Stockton 99 Speedway 15 4 9 14 348

23. Kenneth Headen Greenville-Pickens Speedway 11 0 6 11 348

24. Duane Howard Grandview Speedway 9 1 6 8 347

25. Michael Reed-Cherry Greenville-Pickens Speedway 12 0 4 11 346


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