STAFFORD, Conn. – Despite sliding off of the final turn, reigning NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion made another trip to Victory Lane at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Rocco collected his seventh SK Modified victory of the season, emerging from a late-race restart Friday night with what would appear to be an easy ride to the win.

"We had all the best behind us," said Rocco, who owns sole possession of third-place on Stafford's all-time Modified win list with 30 career victories. "That's the best way to win races here. (There's) so much competition here, it's the greatest place to race."

 

Rocco had checked out by a few car lengths over the final seven laps of the 40-lap event, letting Ted Christopher, Eric Berndt and Woody Pitkat battle it out for the runner-up spot. On the final lap, though, Christopher made a late charge into the final set of turns on the half-mile oval.

Christopher got to Rocco's bumper in Turn 4, making contact with Rocco and sending the No. 88 sliding sideways off the final corner.

"That's what they want the fans to see," Christopher said with a smile when asked about the late-race contact which provided for a compelling finish.

Rocco, though, made a tremendous save and held off Christopher at the finish.

"I think I was practicing a little drifting coming off (Turn 4) there," Rocco said. "But we got the checkered flag, and that's all that counts."

Berndt finished third. Ryan Preece, the current Stafford points leader, was fourth.

Rocco topped the latest NASCAR Hunter Index, released Friday afternoon, as the country's top short-track racer in NASCAR-sanctioned competition. He is also the current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points leader as he vies for a second-straight national championship.

– TB