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Keith Rocco wins thrilling Stafford SK Modified season opener

Tom Morris/Myracenews

Much has changed in the world over the last several months, but Keith Rocco winning at Stafford Motor Speedway will not be one of them.

After a nearly nine-month off-season, it was Rocco who took the first SK Modified checkered flag of the 2020 season following a fierce battle with Todd Owen on Friday night. It was the third consecutive season that Rocco won the season opener at Stafford Springs.

“Our car just didn’t fire off after we went back to green there,” Rocco said. “But we had a really stout car … It’s been a while since we’ve been [in Victory Lane] and it’s been a long to get back here. I’m kind of out of the rhythm.”

Behind Owen was Stephen Kopcik, followed by Ronnie Williams, and Woody Pitkat. Rounding out the top-10 were Mikey Flynn, David Arute, Matt Vassar, Mike Christopher Jr, and Joey Ternullo.

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Williams, the defending Stafford SK champion, started on the pole for the 40-lap feature and led the first four laps before Owen got past him for the lead on lap four.

The first yellow flag came out when Dan Wesson stopped in the infield after tangling with Teddy Hodgdon.

On the restart, Williams was able to retake the lead from Owen. The two battled for the lead among themselves over the course of several restarts before Rocco entered the picture.

Rocco took his first lead when he got by Owen shortly after a restart with 17 to go.

Two massive pileups involving at least a half-dozen cars in total slowed the race with 13 laps to go.

On the ensuing restart, Owen was able to root Rocco from the bottom and get by him. Rocco wasn’t finished, however. After stalking Owen, Rocco dove underneath him in turn three with seven laps to go. That would turn out to be the race-winning pass, and Rocco would go on to victory.

The full results can be found below:

  1. Keith Rocco
  2. Todd Owen
  3. Stephen Kopcik
  4. Ronnie Williams
  5. Woody Pitkat
  6. Mikey Flynn
  7. David Arute
  8. Matt Vassar
  9. Mike Christopher Jr.
  10. Joey Ternullo
  11. Tony Membrino
  12. Bryan Narducci
  13. Teddy Hodgdon
  14. Tyler Leary
  15. Glen Reen
  16. Jonathan Smith
  17. Jeff Malave
  18. Anthony Flannery
  19. Chase Dowling
  20. Michael Gervais
  21. Tom Bolles
  22. Andrew Molleur
  23. Troy Talman
  24. John Catania
  25. Cory DiMatteo
  26. Tyler Hines
  27. Dan Wesson

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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