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Keith Rocco earns Stafford SK opening day win in wild finish

The finish was amongst the closest in Stafford Speedway history …

Paul Lambert/STS

Short-track racing fans who waited roughly seven hours for the finish of the SK Modified race Saturday afternoon most certainly got their money’s worth.

Keith Rocco held off Michael Gervais Jr. and Mike Christopher Jr. in a three-wide photo finish by one thousandth of a second, a margin that most certainly ranks among the closest in Stafford Motor Speedway history.

On the final lap, it appeared that Rocco had the race in hand coming off of turn four when his car suddenly slowed, allowing for Gervais and Christopher to jump alongside.

“We ran out of gas going into [turn] three,” Rocco said. “It didn’t shut all the way off, but going down the back straightaway, right as I lifted, it missed. I kind of coasted through [turns] three and four and when I get back to it picked back up and just about 15 feet before the start/finish line that was it.” 

The race was one filled with carnage, with seven yellow flags in total and a wreck in turn three of the final lap.

Only 17 of the 27 cars finished on the lead lap, and eight drivers failed to reach the halfway mark.

Early on, Rocco knew the caution laps were going to make things close on fuel.

“It’s funny, because we went the first yellow and it seemed like it was going to be one of those races,” he said. “I started putting it in high [gear] and trying to save fuel.”

Rocco remarkably led every lap.

The full results can be found below:

  1. Keith Rocco
  2. Michael Gervais Jr.
  3. Michael Christopher Jr.
  4. Joseph Cipriano III
  5. Todd Owen
  6. Nick Salva
  7. Andrew Molleur
  8. Stephen Kopcik
  9. Matt Galko
  10. Eric Berndt
  11. David Arute
  12. Tyler Hines
  13. Tony Membrino Jr.
  14. Ed Spiers
  15. Troy Talman
  16. John Catania
  17. Ronnie Williams
  18. Glen Reen
  19. Cory Dimatteo
  20. Marcello Rufrano
  21. Jeff Malave
  22. Thomas Bolles
  23. Dan Avery
  24. Dan Wesson
  25. Chris Jones
  26. Darin Renihan
  27. Matt Vassar

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Paul Lambert is an aspiring collegiate journalist. A writer and broadcaster, Paul's excited to cover New England short track racing in 2019. Paul has also been published in Speedway Illustrated and on Autoweek.com.

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