Rocco Tops Stafford Motor Speedway Opener

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Keith Rocco in victory lane after winning Friday's SK Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Keith Rocco in victory lane after winning Friday's SK Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway.

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. – After a two-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stafford Motor Speedway opened its doors for racing with NAPA Auto Parts Opening Night on Friday.

More than 120 cars lined the paddock area with Keith Rocco in the SK Modified feature headlining the list of race winners.

In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Ronnie Williams and Todd Owen went side by side for the lead at the green with Williams getting clear on lap two. Michael Christopher Jr. was third in the early laps with Cory DiMatteo moving into fourth and Rocco was fifth.

Owen made a move to the inside of Williams in turn three to take the lead on lap four.   Christopher followed him through to take second before the caution came out with four laps complete for Teddy Hodgdon and Dan Wesson, who both went through the frontstretch infield with Wesson coming to a stop.

Owen powered his way back to the lead on the restart with Williams in second.  Rocco was up to third with Christopher fourth and Woody Pitkat fifth. Williams made a move to the inside of Owen for the lead on lap-8 and he was able to complete the pass on lap nine and take over the lead. Rocco followed him by Owen to take second and Christopher took third, dropping Owen back to fourth. Matt Vassar and Tyler Hines spun in turn two to bring the caution back out with nine laps complete.

Williams was the leader back under green with Owen and Rocco side by side for second.  Pitkat was fourth in line with Christopher fifth and Andrew Molleur in sixth. The caution came back out with 12 laps complete for a spin in turn four by DiMatteo. Bryan Narducci spun in turn two to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.

Owen took the lead on the restart with Rocco right behind him in second. Williams was third in line with Molleur in fourth and Pitkat back to fifth. Stephen Kopcik was applying heavy pressure to Pitkat for fifth but Pitkat was able to hold him off. Up front, Rocco was all over Owen’s back bumper looking high and low for a way to take over the lead.  Owen was able to keep Rocco behind him. Rocco continued to look high and low for a way around Owen until the caution flew with 19 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Michael Gervais Jr.

Rocco got right back to applying heavy pressure to Owen’s back bumper on the restart as they fought for the lead but Owen was once again able to keep Rocco behind him.  Williams was third with Kopcik up to fourth and Pitkat in fifth. Rocco was finally able to make a pass stick on lap 24 as he went by Owen in turns one and two to take over the race lead. David Arute spun coming out of turn two to bring the caution out with 27 laps complete.

Rocco took the lead on the restart while Williams got around Owen to take second but the caution came back out with 28 laps complete for a multi-car accident on the backstretch involving the cars of Glen Reen, Tony Membrino Jr., Tyler Leary, Teddy Hodgdon, Molleur, and Troy Talman.  The restart saw Tom Bolles get into the turn three wall, which collected several other cars that brought the caution right back out.

The restart saw Owen go from third to first with Rocco falling back to second. Pitkat was up to third with Kopcik fourth and Williams fifth. Rocco was immediately back to applying heavy pressure to Owen, looking high and low for a way to get back to the front of the pack.  Rocco made his move in turn three on lap 34 to get back to the front. Pitkat was still third behind Owen with Kopcik and Williams continuing to make up the top-five cars.

Kopcik made a move to the inside of Pitkat on lap 38 to move into third. Williams followed Kopcik by Pitkat to take fourth and drop Pitkat back to fifth. Rocco pulled away from Owen at the front to take down the first SK Modified win of 2020. Kopcik finished third with Williams and Pitkat rounding out the top-five.

Wayne Coury Jr. won the late model feature, Jonathan Puleo was the winner in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand topped the limited late model feature and Travis Hydar was the street stock winner.