So remember I told you about those two motors Jean keeps talking about....
We knew that we wanted to continue racing. With the announcement that Chuck would not be at the wheel of our 78, we began to receive many calls and some bios of drivers who wanted to fill that seat. This continued through most of the month of October and then November.
Now if you are familiar with our household, you will know that Jean does not answer the phone, so I was left to say thank you for calling, no we have not made a decision. As our annual Christmas vacation approached, I told Jean I would give everyone who called his cell number if he did not make a decision.
Mike Pettit had been telling Jean that he thought Keith Rocco would be a good driver and was ready to step into an SK Modified. This was the era when NASCAR in general was also endorsing younger drivers. Both Larry and Chuck were experienced drivers and we decided that we were ready to go with the change and challenges of a younger driver. So in late December, a call was made to (the then very young) Keith Rocco and the Rocco years began.
There were many who questioned our decision, but it became very clear to us in a few short weeks, that Keith Rocco was born to race.
This article by Shawn Courchesne captures how this all started!
From the first day at Stafford it was clear that Keith could wheel any race car.
And it fascinates me that 10 years later, many SK drivers are reaching to set these times!
March 26, 2004....still snow on the ground, so we decide to do dinner.
Signs of Spring even with the snow on the ground! Racing calendars have been prepared, car is complete down to the lettering, motors are ready and the driver is raring to go!
The new 78 Poulin Race team was a combination of youth, racing history and new ambitions. All of us looked forward to a greatr season!
Dave Sandra Bruce Danny Frog
Our very first race for the season was the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway. The entire crew was ready to go! In practice on Saturday, things were going well. Then Keith not only found the high groove, but also the wall groove. Some damage to the right front brought out the Sawsall and the welding truck. But on Sunday, all the efforts and planning paid off as we took a fifth place finish in our very first outing!
Never a good sign when these tools come out!!
Both needing some sunscreen!! But happy to be together
In the end, all is well, smiles, and an excellent beginning to our season!
Marcel was happy to see us go with a young driver.
Next stop was the Spring Sizzler at Stafford, the opening act for our home track season. I can't locate my notes from that day, but the referenced articles and the photos below show clearly that it was a rainout!
The one accomplishment of the day was to get a reluctant Keith suited up, and send him off to take his track photo.
The hauler is shelter during rain storms, and it gathers people, keeps the tires dry and sometimes the car is partially moved in. It becomes a pleasant chaos with lots of chatter.
Seriously, go out in this rain?
Ok, everybody happy...the photo is done!
David...looks so innocent, guarding the tires.
She is a bread thief...and got caught!!
Wet and ready to go home.
May 2nd was our next race, clear skies, cool weather that turnd to a very chilly evening. Loaded up the car without a scratch, always a good night!
PopPop, Keith's Grandfather, who gave up his driveway and garage so we could locate our hauler and equipment! One of the most generous man I have ever met.
Load her up, she is in one piece and ready for next week.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Under a cool, windy late afternoon sun, our practice times were good. We had a solid finish in our heat and started 8th in the feature. The car was definitely tugging to the right and too much of a right front brake proved to be a problem. A smooth run nonetheless with Keith hanging tight for 20 laps with 2 good runners on his bumper for a 7th place finish. Turns out he is not a mirror driver and did not realize who it was. That Pettit powered motor saved the night on the backstretch.
The weather was surely the biggest story, with a cold wind blowing and a thin crowd showing, plenty of winter wear was modeled! But...there was NO RAIN!
The sad news though was, except for the weather, Stafford resembled Talladega on Friday for the Late Model guys! Not a pretty sight. We counted only 4 cars with no damage. A lot of missed bedtime stories this week for crew memebers, and a costly week for owners.
Friday May 6, 2005
Could it possibly be colder than last week? YES!
Practice laps proved to be damaging for several drivers, Donny Lia, through no fault of his own, took a very hard hit on the 1 and 2 wall, suffering massive damage, glad to see he was ok. Shouldn't happen on practice laps. We are all there to race, warm ups should not be dangerous and should never take a team out of the feature.
We started 5th in our heat and finished 4th with good times. Our feature came at the near end of the evening , when the wind chill factor had to have us in the 35 degree range, honest! But things never got real hot on the track this night with some good racing by everyone considering the cold track. Keith hung on the a 4th place closing the gap and running right behind Ted and Eric, solid run! Keith's first time in tear down at Stafford. Both Keith and Jeff are beginning to actually enjoy this division. Now life might be near perfect if it could only stop raining on Saturdays so Jeff can have some fun in his Legend car!
We received a surprise congrat from a fan in Texas...thanks guy! We know you are as proud as we are of his efforts so far!
It will not be lost on many that 10 years later, we were also celebrating a special anniversary!!
God's palette, yes, I love my sunrise and sunset!
Lunch at St Barts, one of our favorite places in the city.
The only "packing" Jean will ever do....New York style.
Our personal GPS guys, Jill and I are never lost.
When you see this many guys, intensely gathered, deep in discussion, there's obviously a concern.....
It's called----Tight in the middle!
And that's exactly what we were all evening on Friday. Given that and a missed accident that caused us to come to a stop on the track and be put to the back, it was once again a great run for Keith, we took a 10th place. Although Keith was not happy after the race, everyone else was! So smile Keith!
So ---What did Keith do all weekend, went to Waterford on Saturday and then took our car apart piece by piece and along with Ronnie and Jean's input, discovered a few gremlins! We think things are going to be a little different this week.
The true story this week though is the points:
4 ties in the top 12 in points, a sign of good racing? And a competitive Friday coming up! See you at the races!
Warmer when the sun is out...
...but the blankets come out after dark.
....and I have no idea...
Disclaimer: I should probably have started every page with the same warning. These articles and photos have been downloaded, untouched and not edited in any way. They date back 10 years. Some are funny, some a bit tough, but all were meant to accurately reflect what it is like to race week to week. I make no apologies for my obvious bias, but I think I know good racing when I see it and am not afraid to compliment a competitor.
I could not find any notes for June 3 and 10 and in reviewing the photos, it became clear we had at least one rain out, but we had a lot of good visitors, so here are those weeks in photos.
June 3, went from setting sun, to angry clouds to rain...and we got wet!
June 10 we had visitors from Miami and he was very excited about going to the races. Talked about a red car and a blue car crashing all week!
We never miss an opportunity to be together!
Hard to believe that the rain came!
Pit Party on the 3rd of July---I just remember that is very, very hot!!
The hauler not only provides shelter during the rain, but also comfort on a blistering hot day! Everyone wants part of the fan.
Avoiding the camera never worked.
Love this shot....wonder what they were talking about.
There is one single thing that can set me off in racing---BLOCKING! Blocking is not racing, if you are looking in your rear view mirror you are not going forward. Read on......
Friday, July 22, 2005
Another rainout! What a wind storm. We race again today, Sunday, July 24, 2005---hopefully those clouds will stay away.
This was written by Donna Docherty.
Our first win with this team!! What a month!
This is why I love Mike O'Sullivan, I had never met him before, truly heroes in black trucks!!
This photo haunts me, they were only 11 months apart and were so close and loved each other dearly, he is missed each and every day.
Major repair of the night...The Fan!!
Taking time to celebrate!!
Hey...remember these people. How relaxed they are as fans and spectators, gosh, I love them!!
Friday Aug 19, 2005
News notes from this night are missing, but the photo page states the following:
"Although the racing was not up to par, there were some nice moments and people around us on Friday."
It was obvious that we went to Canada and spent some time with family and stopped in Maine, my favorite resting spot!
Lots of visitors this week as the season nears an end!!
In the stands lots of special fans!
In so many ways, they were his granddaughters also!!
Can't find any notes from September 9, but as you will see from the photos, things started out good, but did not end well. The intensity and activity around the car are amazing. We believe the oil pan damage was done when a wrecker dropped the car when it brought it back to the pit area. But ....we would go on to race another night thanks to all the helping hands!
Preparation in the pits...and more.
And then..... there was this...
Always thankful for all the people who come and help!
And then we headed off to New York City!!
We always make them get up early so we can go to the Today show.
Jean ---packing in New York...he always walks much faster on the way home!!
Fall Final Pit Party is not only for kids, it is also a time for the team, friends and fans to gather. And this was a bright sunny day!
And none more special than our little one from Miami!!
It was indeed a good season, we spent it together side by side, in good health and happy to be in the sunshine!