Hugely determined, immensely aggressive and spectacularly daring, very few drivers work harder at racing than Keith Rocco.
New Britain, Connecticut — The 2011 season gave fans across New England a rock-solid view of the commitment level Keith Rocco places on his racing. Pushing the asphalt “win-bar” higher than any racer since Richie Evans or Geoff Bodine, the Wallingford, Connecticut frontrunner drove to his sixth Track Championship after winning more races than any single driver in the United States.
Now, with those thirty-two Victories’ and the holiday’s tucked neatly in the past, Keith Rocco has returned to the surroundings where every winning tally began.
“Jeff and I learned early that races are mostly won in the shop.” said Rocco. “I’m sure fans will remember our father’s habit of arriving late for races. People would be baffled because he was still fast and he could still win. Well it was all that preparation – all that race shop work.”
The son of recognized racer Ron Rocco, Keith’s career began in earnest in 2003. Combining effort with twin brother Jeff, the pair came close to winning the Waterford Speedbowl Sportsman Championship in their very first appearance.
During the following season the duo would again win multiple Speedbowl features, this time going the distance to secure their very first title.
Thriving on adversarial situations, much of Rocco’s fuel comes from the test he gives himself to improve each race. He explained, “I have always enjoyed working to make the car better or great and then, pushing myself to do the same.”
“I’m proud and our family’s proud, knowing our success comes from the commitment we make in the shop and at the track,” revealed Rocco. “You can’t always control what happens on track, but you can make sure the cars and equipment are prepared with your best ability.”
“This year,” he continued, “I’m pleased that we’ll have the added support from Mechanix Wear. The company has joined with us and will provide their gloves and pads to my crew.”
“In the shop or at the track we’re involved in a tough sport. Safety should always be on your mind,” he added, “but sometimes you don’t have time to do anything but react. In those situations Mechanix Wear protection can keep you safer.”
Both quick and controversial, performances by Keith have made him some enemies while thousands have become fans. He has been at the top of “The Hunter Index”, a ranking system of all NASCAR drivers, in each of the past four seasons.
During the 2011 season he surpassed 100 feature wins in his career while winning his third State Championship successively.
For 2012, he explained his devotion and that of each team will remain unchanged.
“I feel our increasing success shows we are developing all the time,” said Rocco. “It would be difficult to show big improvements in our SK Modified program,” he smiled. “I can promise that we will do our best to take our accomplishments to the next levels of racing.”
“As a team – as a driver, when you can compete at different tracks week-in and week-out and continue to win races, it becomes very rewarding,” he explained. “That’s where I get my biggest kicks.”
“We are hoping to compete in a few NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events as well as with the Valenti Modified Racing Series this season. The cars went out to Powder Coating last week and Jeff and I are making tin and assemblies so we are prepared when they (the chassis’) return.”
“Except the hours I’m sleeping, I am looking forward to the 2012 season. Though I realize luck will always play a part in the records I gain, I am looking forward to each challenge.”
Sources: Rick Raducha/Driver Connection