DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Boehler Racing Enterprises has announced that it will team with 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion driver Keith Rocco to pilot the No. 3 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
This will be the first full-time Whelen Modified Tour ride for Rocco, from Wallingford, Conn. A multi-time champion in the weekly Modified divisions at a trio of Whelen All-American Series short tracks in Connecticut, Rocco has racked up more than 100 career victories. He has earned four-straight Connecticut state titles.
“I am very pleased to be able to put a deal together with the caliber driver of Keith Rocco to drive ‘Ole Blue’ for the 55th year of racing,” said Mike Boehler, president of Boehler Racing Enterprises. “Myself and the entire Boehler family and crew are going to give it our best effort to get Keith and ‘Ole Blue’ in victory lane this season.”
Massachusetts- based BRE, founded by the late Len Boehler, earned three NASCAR Modified national titles in the 1960s and captured three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour crowns in the 1990s. The team’s trademark No. 3 Modified carries the nickname ‘Ole Blue’ and has featured a number of notable drivers through the years.
“It’s absolutely awesome to get a full-time [Whelen Modified] Tour ride, but the thing that is really special to me is who it’s for,” Rocco said. “To fill the seat of guys like Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens, and all the other phenomenal drivers they’ve had in the past, it’s amazing to have an opportunity to drive for those guys. They’re really old school, and I feel that I’m the same way. I think it’s going to be a really good match.”
Rocco has made five spot-starts in Whelen Modified Tour competition since 2008 with a best finish of fifth at Thompson International Speedway in 2009. He’s coming off a 2011 season in which he finished as the Whelen All-American Series national runner-up on the strength of 24 wins in 51 Modified starts between Thompson, Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl – all in Connecticut.
“Scott Richards, crew chief, and Greg Fournier, car chief, are very excited at the opportunity to work with Keith and all of the success he has had at the Connecticut ovals,” Boehler said. “I want to thank Keith, his sponsors and crew that will be joining BRE Racing to make it possible to race this season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.”
Rocco had previously planned to scale back his Whelen All-American Series schedule in 2012 to compete part-time on the Whelen Modified Tour with car owner Mark Payne, who he also drives for in weekly Modified competition. Then the door opened at BRE, and Rocco jumped on the opportunity.
“I didn’t have any intention of landing a ride, or somebody giving me an offer, our plans were just to do some local races,” Rocco said. “To have this opportunity, it actually works out better because if we were to try to do it all ourselves with Mark Payne, we’d have to cut back somewhere else. So this works out perfect where we can still do a little bit of everything and not take away from the other stuff we do.”
The four-time defending Whelen All-American Series Connecticut state titlist will continue to run full-time at Stafford in 2012, and anticipates competing in nearly all of the seasons events at Waterford.
Rocco replaces Matt Hirschman at BRE, who piloted the team to a sixth-place finish in the 2011 standings. The new pairing, along with the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour teams, will open the 2012 season at Thompson on April 15 as part of Icebreaker weekend.