SK Modified Division At Stafford Sees Parity Among Feature Winners In 2021

(Press release from Stafford Speedway)

Tyler Hines, who got his first career SK Modified feature win in the season opening event, leads the division’s standings after four events (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

With 4 races already in the books for the 2021 SK Modified® season at Stafford Motor Speedway, the theme of parity reigns can be applied.  Much like the NASCAR Cup Series, which had 7 winners in the first 7 races of the 2021 season, Stafford’s SK Modifieds® have also had a different winner in each of the first four feature events.  

The 2021 season kicked off with Tyler Hines scoring his first career SK Modified® win with a brand new #85 team that was formed over the winter.  Taking turns driving into NAPA Victory Lane following Hines’ victory has been Stephen Kopcik, Michael Christopher, Jr., and Keith Rocco.  With 4 winners in 4 races, there are a host of drivers who are still hungry for their first win of the 2021 season.  Chase Dowling, Todd Owen, and Ronnie Williams are all drivers who won in 2020 that have yet to win in 2021 along with Dan Avery, Tom Bolles, Michael Gervais, Jr., and Andrew Molleur, who are drivers who have won SK Modified® races in previous seasons.  

Stafford’s SK Modified® field is also littered with SK Light graduates who are looking to join Hines as first time SK Modified® winners in 2021.  Joe Allegro, Jr., David Arute, Teddy Hodgdon, Noah Korner, Bryan Narducci, Wesley Prucker, Troy Talman, and Dan Wesson are all former SK Light winners looking for their first SK Modified® victory while Mikey Flynn is looking for his first Stafford victory since two Legend Cars wins in 2015.  Illustrating just how hard it is to win an SK Modified® feature at Stafford, Hines went 6 seasons and 110 races before scoring his breakthrough victory back on April 24.

“Winning an SK race is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” said Hines.  “You’re competing against the best modified racing drivers in the Northeast.  There’s probably 10 cars that can win at Stafford on any given week.  You need to have some luck on your side, you need to make the right adjustments on your car for the feature, and as a driver you have to be almost perfect to wind up winning a race.”

“It’s tough to win at Stafford,” said Kopcik.  “With there being 4 different winners in 4 races, we still have some heavy hitters in the field like Todd Owen, Ronnie Williams, and Chase Dowling who haven’t won yet and any time you can beat those guys, it makes you feel really good.  You can’t count those guys out and the competition level is what makes Stafford so tough.”

“It all starts with the cars,” said Christopher, Jr.  “The cars are all pretty close and they’re basically on the throttle or off the throttle, which doesn’t leave much room for you to have a bad car.  Almost every year it seems like Keith [Rocco] is the guy to beat and then there’s guys like Todd [Owen] and Ronnie [Williams] and this year [Tyler] Hines is racing really well, which adds to the competition level.  It’s very tough in the SK Modified® division.”

“It’s always hard to win at Stafford,” said Rocco.  “The competition seems like it always gets stiffer and closer.  Last year we seemed to be in a league of our own but over the winter everybody else has really stepped up their games.  It comes and goes.  The first couple years I raced there were a lot of different winners, then it seemed like it was Ted [Christopher] and me for a while, and now we’re back to a lot of different winners.”

Getting a season off to a good start can be a key factor in a driver becoming a championship contender or not.  Stafford’s 4 SK Modified® feature winners currently occupy 4 of the top 6 places in the 2021 standings with Hines leading the way on the strength of his victory and top-5 finishes in all four starts.  With the competition level as high as it is in the SK Modified® division, Hines, Kopcik, Christopher, and Rocco know they will have to maintain their level of performance throughout the 2021 season to be in contention for the championship with the 2021 champion to be determined on Friday, October 1st.

“We were happy to be able to come out of the box with so much speed in the car and now that we have a baseline set, we kind of have it in our minds that we’re coming to the track every week to compete and run up front,” said Hines.  “It’s just a matter of staying on top of the track with our adjustments and we prepare all week for anything and everything in the garage.  We come to the track with a game plan and then we try to execute that plan.  So far so good for us and the main thing will be keeping the car clean each week.  If I can do that as well as keep up on our adjustments, I think we should be a contender to run up front each week.”

“It’s going to come down to consistency and not getting too far off track,” said Kopcik.  “We were really good for most of if not all last season but we got caught up in a wreck which ended our season 2 races early.  As long as we keep the nose clean and stay consistent, that’s our only goal right now, we’re not even looking at points.  If we do our job correctly the points will follow.  It’s cool to go to the track knowing you have a shot at winning every week but with the tire rule we have in the SK Modified® division, there’s some nights where you know you just have to do the best you can but we’re all in the same boat and I’m sure that’s part of what makes SK Modified® racing at Stafford so good.”

“I feel like we have a good program this year, we just have to mitigate mistakes on the racecar,” said Christopher.  “The first couple weeks we had some problems with the rear end and then we went back to basics and we won but then we had another mechanical issue last week.  We have a good car and we have good people in the team so I think we can be in contention every week, we just need to erase the mistakes with the car.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, I think we’ll be in contention every week.“

“We’ve already had a DNF, which kills you,” said Rocco.  “I think it’s actually pretty good for us to still be in third place with a DNF.  We just need to keep on doing what we do with preparation and staying on top of things with the car.” 

The race to see if the SK Modified® division can make it 5 winners in 5 races kicks off this Friday night, May 21st with qualifying heats at 6pm followed by feature events starting around 7pm.  Tickets are available online at and will also be available at the gates day of show.  General Admission tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under.  Reserved seating is priced at $25 for all ages and pit passes are $35 with a valid 2021 Stafford Competition License and $40 without a Stafford license.  If you are unable to attend the event tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway. 

For more information, visit, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.


  1. The QUALITY of Drivers and Equipment is UNMATCHED in NEW ENGLAND in the SK Division. They are most likely Tops in the rest of the Country…. I don’t know about the Scene Outside of N.E. ….. But I would imagine this Division would be in the TOP 3 of the Good Ole USA …!!!! Enjoy the Racing ..!!!!

  2. The Stafford SKs are an incredibly competitive division.

  3. Why are the car counts down in the SK mod division this year at Stafford Speedway ? (Home of the SK MODIFIED) or is it the old Danbury Racearena sportsman division ? Hmm .. At any rate it looks and smells like CLUB racing to me .

  4. What’s Rocco always say he’s looking for? Wins. Wins, wins and more wins. Says get wins and the championships take care of themselves. What’s he mention in this article? Satisfied to be third in points with a DNF so apparently the The Roc does look at the points standings after all.
    I’ve gotten a question for KRR. Is Rocco really that much better a driver then Moeller and Gervais in KRR supplied cars? Is the point of leasing a KRR prepared car to save prep time, to be competitive on a weekly basis or a combination of both? It may be a time saver but so far the disparity between the 88 as opposed to the 33 and 35 is greater then one would expect. Or does the master keep a few of the ingredients in his special sauce brewing in a separate pot on the back burner of the stove?
    Parity is an unachievable goal in racing for the most part but this is a Stafford press release and it’s nice to think something new is afoot this year which there very well could be.
    What you really hope for is an expanded top tier. It’s been Rocco, Williams and Owen recently with Christopher, Dowling and Kopcik having moments. DiMatteo a very brief moment. Rocco is still the greater among equals in my view but if the top tier can be Rocco, Williams, Owen, Hines, Christopher and Kopcik on a consistent basis that wouldn’t be parity but surely a major improvement in the list of potential podium dwellers on a weekly basis. Dowling has had misfortune this year but even when running well hasn’t shown top tier flashes at all like last year. If he could get in the mix on a weekly basis then you’d really have something but something will have to change.
    Tracks will define all the other teams rate of success by gaining a win but that isn’t a reality for most teams either. Their goal is not wrecking first of all and consistent good finishes. Cracking the top 5 a win not in the books but like a win to a lot of teams. Gervais, Ruffrano, Moeller, Narducci and Hodgdon in 11th, 13,th, 14th, 16th and 18th respectively and all having started all four races. You think they are worried about wins or just to be in or near the top 5 not just on a night but most nights. Korner the rookie sitting in 7th with a top 5 and 3 top ten’s probably pretty happy at this stage even if not a winner.
    For now the big story in Hines. On no one’s radar for 2021 here they are doing everything right early on but it’s a marathon not a sprint.
    So you think the SK’s a special on a nationwide basis do you? If you listen to Paul Arute who mentions it all the time they are. I wouldn’t know but one thing is pretty clear. On regular show night’s when the SK’s are the premier division the crowd does not reflect their supposed competitive status. Tomorrow night once again will be a sketchy crowd and it’s been that way for years pandemic or not. More and more it’s about the specials and we saw that last week with a pretty robust Stafford open crowd that given the names involved probably had a pretty robust FloRacing audience as well.
    There is no such thing as true parity but the Late Models may come the closest to it on a weekly basis.

  5. It’s only May and we’re talking points… Gonna be a long Summer

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