(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stephen Kopcik came to Stafford Motor Speedway in 2014 having never before driven an open wheel modified car. After 2 wins in his rookie season, Kopcik won the track championship last year and he is now ready to move up to the SK Modified® division where he will race for Rookie of the Year honors with the #31 NJK Automotive Chevrolet.
“We always had it in our minds that we were going to run SK Lights and then make the move up to the SK Modified® division,” said Kopcik. “My car owner, David Smith, bought an SK motor last year so we could run at Thompson and that was a big piece of the picture for us to make the move. Hocon Industrial Gas is going to help us out with tires so between that and David Smith with the engine, we have our two biggest expenses taken care of. I’m really excited and it should be awesome. I can’t wait to go to the track and show everyone what we can do as a team. The Spring Sizzler can’t come soon enough and I can’t wait to see what the new season brings. Rookie of the Year is a goal for us and it would be an awesome accomplishment if we could win that this season.”
In addition to winning the championship last season, Kopcik finished 5th in the 2014 SK Light points standings as a rookie. With 2 strong seasons of SK Light experience plus 2 SK Modified® starts at Thompson and then the North-South Shoot-Out at the end of the 2015 season, Kopcik feels like he and his team have a good set of notes to begin life with in the SK Modified® division and will have a head start on their SK Modified® learning curve.
“I think we have an awesome notebook to work with,” said Kopcik. “I think we’re only going to build on it during the season. I think my experience at Thompson will really help give us a head start. We started 17th and we finished 9th and I think I was as high as 7th and then we went down to the North-South Shoot-Out and we were fast all weekend and we were second behind Keith Rocco for most of the race and we ended up finishing fourth. Those races really helped give me an idea of what to expect and I think we should be ok this season.”
While most rookie drivers have a set of goals in mind of what they want to accomplish and how they would like to run, Kopcik has no such pre-conceived notions. He simply says that he wants to show up to the track and give each race his best effort and see where he finishes that night since that is what has worked for him during his time in the SK Light division.
“I don’t’ really have a goal for myself, we just want to go race by race and do the best we can and see what happens,” said Kopcik. “Just like we did in the Lights this season, we went to the track every week and we did our thing. I don’t want to say we’re going to get some top-5’s or top-10’s, just that we’re going to try our best, work on improving the car each week, and see where that lands us. It’s possible we could struggle. We saw Tyler Hines and Jeremy Sorel both struggle a little bit last season after moving up but I feel confident in my team giving me everything I’ll need in the car with the setup. A lot of people would probably say the power difference would be the biggest challenge but I think the level of the competition is going to be the hardest challenge for me this season. The SK Lights are pretty darn competitive but in the SK’s, you have guys like Ryan [Preece], Teddy [Christopher], Keith [Rocco], Todd [Owen], people who have been doing this forever and they can anticipate everything that’s going to happen around them while I’ll be a rookie. I think that everything is shaping up really well for us and I can’t wait to get started.”
Kopcik will kick off his rookie campaign with the running of the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 22-24 and a special 45-lap SK Modified® feature event to commerate the 45th annual running of the NAPA Spring Sizzler. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.