(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stephen Kopcik has been the hottest driver at Stafford Motor Speedway of late, notching 3 consecutive SK Modified® feature victories as he duels with Todd Owen for the 2021 track championship. While Kopcik will be looking to add a fourth consecutive SK Modified® win this Friday, September 24th, he also has his eyes set squarely on the NAPA Fall Final 150 this Saturday, September 25th as he will make his Whelen Modified Tour debut behind the wheel of the #2 Gershow Recycling Chevrolet owned by Joseph Bertuccio.
“Joe and I have always been good friends and Chuck Hossfeld couldn’t make the Stafford race, so Joe gave me a call and asked me if I would want to drive the car,” said Kopcik. “I told him absolutely. He’s always been great to me and we’ve always had fun working together. The Bertuccio crew is a great group of guys and I’m excited for the opportunity. I think we’ll have a fast car and we can have a good run. I have to give a big thank you to Joe and everyone on the Gershow Motorsports crew for giving me this opportunity.”
Kopcik couldn’t have picked a better track to make his WMT debut at than Stafford. Kopcik spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the SK Light division at Stafford, winning 3 races and the 2015 track championship. Kopcik won Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 in the SK Modified® division and he entered the 2021 season with 4 career SK Modified® feature wins. Kopcik has more than doubled his career win total with 5 wins thus far in 2021 and he is currently second in the SK Modified® points standings, 14 points behind Todd Owen. Kopcik hopes that his home track knowledge will help him find his way to an enjoyable debut performance.
“I don’t want to sound cocky but my goal is to start and run in the top-10 all day,” said Kopcik. “I know it’s not easy racing on the Tour, but Stafford is my home track and I set these cars up for a living, so I want to run well and I don’t think the top-10 is out of reach for us. Mike Bologna, the crew chief on the car, is going to give me everything I need to succeed so it’s very possible for us to have a good run. I think my track knowledge will benefit me more with just knowing the driving style to get around Stafford. Any driver will tell you Stafford is a unique track. You look at someone like Justin Bonsignore, he’s a badass on the Tour and he hasn’t won yet at Stafford and then someone like Doug Coby, Stafford is his home track and he’s kind of had the track in his back pocket. It’ll be interesting for me to see how my experience matches up against those guys. I feel really confident racing at Stafford and I’ve never driven a NASCAR Spec Engine before, so I’m looking forward to the experience all the way around.”
While Kopcik may be familiar with the Stafford track layout, one area where he will have zero experience to lean on is qualifying through time trials. Kopcik is used to earning a starting position through qualifying heat races, but he should be able to figure out how to comfortably navigate two laps around the Connecticut half-mile and set himself up with a good starting position for the NAPA Fall Final 150.
“I haven’t qualified through time trials before so that’s going to be a little different,” said Kopcik. “I’m going to do my homework and try to get a good feel for qualifying in practice. Time trials is the one thing that I might be a little nervous about but I’ll figure it out and with 150 laps we have plenty of time and a change of tires for the race, which is not something that I’m used to having. A good qualifying run is going to be huge. The further towards the front you can start the better. Chase Dowling is going to be helping me out and we know each other’s driving styles so I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing what we can do. It should be a good time.”
In addition to making his Whelen Modified Tour debut, Kopcik will be laser focused on continuing his white hot streak in the SK Modified® feature this Friday night. Kopcik will be looking for his fourth consecutive win while also trying to close down the points gap to Todd Owen, which stands at 14 points or 7 positions on the track, going into the race before the NAPA Championship Night finale on Friday, October 1st.
“I want to win the next 2 races,” said Kopcik. “Points come with wins so I’m focused on winning the last 2 races. The SK Modified® field is really competitive and our focus is on doing the best we can. I’m very happy with our performance and I’m thankful for the position I’m in and grateful for all the people around me. I’m always trying to excel and grow and either way we can look back and say we had a good year with nothing to hang our heads about. If you look at the stats, Todd and I have matched each other all year with the exception of the one night where we got taken out. He’s done a great job and we’ve done a great job all year long, we just have to continue to do what we do.”
NAPA Fall Final tickets are available now online and are priced at $40.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $45.00 for all ages and pit passes are $50.00 with a valid 2021 Stafford Competition License and $55.00 without a Stafford license. Tickets for Friday, September 24 Stafford Weekly Racing event are $20.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $25.00 for all ages and pit passes are $35.00 with a valid 2021 Stafford Competition License and $40.00 without a Stafford license. If you are unable to attend either event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway.
For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.