(Stafford Springs, CT)—For much of the 2015 SK Light season at Stafford Motor Speedway, the championship race has been dominated by East Hartford natives D.J. Burnham and Joey Ferrigno. But Newtown native Stephen Kopcik had been quietly climbing his way back into the championship race and he will enter this Friday night’s feature action at the top of the standings with an 18 point lead over Burnham and a 28 point lead over Ferrigno.
Burnham won the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature event and he has been among the top championship contenders all season long. While Ferrigno has the most wins of any driver in the SK Light division this season, he also has the fewest number of top-5 finishes among the top-3. Kopcik has only 1 feature win this season to date, but he has more top-5 and more top-10 finishes than either Burnham or Ferrigno, which shows that consistency can pay off over the long run.
As the 2015 season winds down with just 6 more feature events to be run, all three drivers say that they’re only focused on winning races and not where they are in the championship standings.
“The first half of the season wasn’t exactly the best for us,” said Kopcik. “We struggled a little bit with the car and we got caught up in a couple of wrecks. I’ve tried so many different things on the car to try to find something that’s better than everyone else. I don’t think I’ve come to the track two weeks in a row with the same shock setup. Things are going really good now and we’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing the last couple of races. People always ask me what are we going to change and if things are working for us, why are we going to change? We’ve almost gone back to the basics with our setup. It seems like any time I stray away from my basic setup I always seem to go back to it. Our plan is to keep the nose clean on the car and finish races. We were about 28 points behind only a couple of races ago and both D.J. and Joey had one bad night and we took over the point lead and that could happen to us at any given time. I have to give a big thanks to my team and our sponsors N.J.K. Automotive, Hocon Industrial Gas, Newtown Auto, and David Smith Racing.”
“Honestly I have no idea where we are in points,” said Burnham. “I try to pay the least amount of attention that I can to the points. I feel like if you race for points, you’re going to race differently and we go to the track every week to win. The plan is to do the best that we can every week for the rest of the season and if we can win a championship, that would be great. It would be awesome for my sponsors and my family because they work hard on the car and they deserve that. My only focus once I get into the car is to try to win the race. Saying we had a good points night after a race just isn’t satisfying for us. We’ve had really fast race cars every week and we’ve also had a lot of bad luck. Even the nights when we’ve got caught up in a wreck we had a fast car. We finally got our first win this season, which was great, and we’ve finished on the podium a bunch of times. I’m a lot more comfortable in the car this season so I can be more aggressive than I was last year. Thanks to our sponsors Maneeley’s Catering, Advice One, Salon Rausch, my Mom and Dad, and my brother Brian for all the hard work he puts in on the car every day.”
“My strategy is to go out and collect trophies,” said Ferrigno. “It seems like any time I try to chase points, bad things end up happening. We’re out there to win or put on a show trying to win. I think at this point of the year it’s going to come down to some luck. I remember when I won the DARE Stock championship I had a pretty big lead with 4 races to go and I started getting real cautious and that lead dwindled down pretty quickly. We’re leading the division wins, so that shows everyone we have a fast car and I can be the class of the field if I can get the car out front, but we’re third in points. D.J. used to be one of my crew members before he started driving and being that he is also from East Hartford, if I can’t win it I’d love to see him win the championship. A championship would be huge for us and it would show that all our hard work during the year paid off.”
With Kopcik, Burnham, and Ferrigno separated by only 28 points, or 14 positions on the race track, the race for the championship holds all the promise in the world for an exciting and thrilling conclusion to the 2015 season and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be crowned champion at the NAPA Fall Final Weekend on Oct. 3-4.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.