Turnaround: Stephen Kopcik Wins First SK Modified Feature At Stafford Speedway

Stephen Kopcik is lifted up in victory lane by Ryan Preece after Kopcik won his first career SK Modified feature at Stafford Friday (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – How frustrating has the start of the 2017 season been for SK Modified driver Stephen Kopcik at Stafford Motor Speedway?

When asked about his season thus far Friday Kopcik said his team has struggled hard for the first 10 races of the season. It’s been so frustrating for the Newtown driver it felt longer than it actually has been.

Friday was actually race No. 10 for Kopcik and he made it a night to remember.

Kopcik staved off the challenges of Ronnie Williams and Michael Gervais Jr. over the closing laps to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifed feature Friday at Stafford.

It was the first career SK Modified victory at Stafford for Kopcik, who is in his second year running in the division. He was the SK Modified division Rookie of the Year in 2016.

“It’s unreal to be standing here tonight,” Kopcik said. “We struggled pretty damn hard the first 10 races. Or however many we’ve had. We’ve only really a favorable car for the past two or three [races] and we’ve been making it better and better every week. We’ve still got a ways to go, but it’s a heck of a lot better. This is where my team belongs. They work their butts off to get here. … I just drive this freaking thing. I think if I have a good car I can run it. I owe them 60 percent of the credit on this one.”

Gervais, of Southbury, was second and Chase Dowling of Roxbury third.

Kopcik moved to second behind past Cam McDermott on a lap 21 restart then got by Gervais for the lead with a low move off turn four on lap 23.

Williams moved to second on lap 28 restart and made a challenge to Kopcik two laps later, but then had an issue on lap 32 and faded.

Gervais hounded all over Kopcik over the final three laps, but couldn’t find the lane to the lead.

Kopcik said he shut off the emotions in holding off Gervais coming to the checkered.

“I pretty much just tried to be emotionless,” Kopcik said. “I didn’t want to let him get to me. I led the race for however many laps. I just figured I’d do the same damn thing I was doing. It’s what we did and it paid off. We’ve got a decent car and we can make it even better for next week. That’s just a good feeling right there. We’ve been struggling the past couple races so to have that really good turnaround for me, the guys and everyone that helps us out, it’s pretty damn cool.”

Said Gervais: “I really just needed to get a better run on him. I tried twice and I kind of fell back a little bit. I noticed he was a little tight off [the corners] but he got in just a little bit better than me. I wouldn’t want to finish second to anyone else. They work hard and me and Stephen go way back.”

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Comments

  1. It was only a matter of time. Kopcik, Mr Smooth and fast in the lights and paying his dues in the SK’s with many tough nights. But too smart, too crafty and too well funded not to win. Accolades to Gervais as well struggling mightily this year and finishing in second. More evidence of a loaded SK field that never makes any position through the field easy to take away from anybody.

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