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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Rocco Rolling Right Along - CT Driver Leads NASCAR Points
Jul 14, 2009 - updated Jul 14th, 2009 11:40pm
Web posted by Official Release
Despite his busy schedule, Keith Rocco shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, the Wallingford, Conn., driver is doing the opposite.
After leading the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points standings for nearly all of last season before settling for fourth, Rocco has picked up the pace through this summer while driving three races a weekend.
This past weekend, Rocco drove his asphalt Modified to victories at Thompson International Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl. Only a third-place finish Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway kept him from sweeping the three Connecticut short tracks.
It was still enough for him to maintain a 31-point cushion over defending champion Philip Morris of Ruckersville, Va.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we can win every night,” Rocco said. “Granted things happen and you get wrecked, but my team and my equipment have the ability to win every night.”
Rocco has 776 points, followed by Morris with 735 and Nebraska’s Bill Leighton is third with 673. Iowa’s Andy Eckrich and Virginia’s CE Falk III round out the top five.
With his Waterford win, Rocco became the third driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series to reach double figures in wins this year. Marty Ward has 11 wins at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and Andy Mercer has 10 wins at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
More importantly for Rocco, he’s entered into the portion of the season where every new top finish erases poor runs from earlier in the year. A driver’s top 18 finishes are counted toward U.S. state and Canadian provincial championships and the overall NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title.
While points gains become more incremental, the value is unquestionable.
This past weekend, Rocco was able to throw out a finish of 11th and 13th. He improved his points-per-race average to 43.1 – trailing only the 43.5 Nick Joanides is averaging while running a Super Late Model at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).
Rocco has been impressive even in the races he doesn’t win. At Stafford, he spun himself out going for second halfway through the feature, and then charged from the back of the field to put himself in contention.
He also pointed to a switch to a new Troyer chassis at Waterford over the July 4 weekend as one of the reasons for his success. While he only planned to practice it for the July 4 race, he wound up racing it – winning the pole and then leading 87 of 100 laps after redrawing a sixth starting position, en route to the victory.
“We either wreck or do good,” Rocco said. “It seems like if we’re still running at the end, we’re in contention to win. That’s a big help.”
Rocco still has room to add to his tally. His worst points night is currently the 35 points he got for winning Saturday at Waterford. He also has three 36s and a 38. In contrast, Morris has a 38, 36 and four finishes of 32 or worse he can still drop with good runs.
The deadline for races to count toward NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state and national championship points is Sunday, Sept. 13. The final points standings are scheduled to be released Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Track, state and province, and the national champion earn invitations to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet in Concord, N.C., Friday, Nov. 13. 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 (Calif.) Jan. 29-30, 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.
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