Workhorse: Stephen Kopcik Gets Third SK Modified Win Of 2021 At Stafford Speedway

Stephen Kopcik celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Across the Northeast Modified scene Stephen Kopcik has established himself as a dual threat.

Not only can the Newtown driver wheel a Modified to the front of the field with the best, he’s as much known for his immense ability to get a car prepared off the track.

Thursday Kopcik poured himself into getting his SK Modified ready for battle at Stafford Speedway, and the effort paid off handsomely.

Kopcik drove away from the field following a lap 38 restart and won the 40-lap SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford.

It was the third SK Modified victory of the season for Kopcik, who also serves as Ryan Preece’s crew chief on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“We had a damn good race car,” Kopcik said. “Spent a lot of time on it [Thursday]. I’ve kind of been neglecting this car. I devoted my whole day [Thursday] to it. I said ‘Screw it’ and locked the shop door and found a lot of things and fixed some things and found some speed. I think we’re back here.”

Teddy Hodgdon IV of Danbury was second and Todd Owen of Somers third.

Kopcik went by Marcello Rufrano for the lead on lap 27 and never trailed again.

“It was tough,” Kopcik said. “He was good tonight. I got into him a little bit. I didn’t mean to.”

Hodgdon got by Tyler Hines for second on the late restart.

“I knew the car was going to be really good,” Hodgdon said. “[Led] practice. We put on new tires for the first time in a while and it really showed. We made a bunch of setup changes over the last couple months. We’ve had a really bad stretch of just not doing good and the setup wasn’t good. We just didn’t have the balance that we needed and we turned it around tonight.”

Owen, the division points leader, clawed to the third following the final restart.

“Just one [pass] at a time,” Owen said. “Just tried to keep my nose clean and wait for the spots to open up. We were kind of bundled up there early on. I was just trying to be patient and wait for it to open up and it did at the end there and we had a couple cautions to help us out. Definitely pretty happy with third. We just need to keep coming and doing what we’re doing every week.”


  1. Another great race. I was at the scales when they came off the track, and Tyler Hines team looked like they were complaining to someone from Owens crew, then they stayed around to “watch” Kopcik come through. Kind of childish, and if they were complaining about Owen, then they are just a bunch of whiners.


    Give the rest of the finishing results, not just the top three🙄

  3. Ken, that happens with almost every division. Rumors fly or they know that someone is cheating, and they hope that the track will do something about it. Unfortunately, tech checks very few things nowadays and sometimes they don’t even check them very well. Not saying that this is what was happening as I was not around to see for myself. I remember when they used to let a team pay money to have tech pull another cars motor because they knew it was cheated up, not sure if that is still a thing or if it was only for motors but that was always interesting to watch.

  4. knightrider says

    If it was possible to find an announcer with goofier remarks and sayings than Ben Dodge, Stafford’s done it. Jack Arute babbles on worse than anyone. Coming up with “parry and thrust” while “battling” for position? Did NBC have him on the fencing matches at past Olympics? Making comparisons to Dick Tracy? Does he realize 94% of the people on the planet don’t know who Dick Tracy is? I only know cause I’m an old man like him, but really? If they’re looking to be “the tail that wags the dog” or “make magic happen” that need to lose those two buffoons.

  5. If you can find some speed in that division no matter how fractional it’s a big deal. Who knows what the average lap speeds are but the fastest 8 cars were within .07 seconds of each other at their best.
    Kopcik on the radio confident as could be before a restart and with good reason. Owen trapped, for a long time back in the field turns in another workman like points performance doing what he needs to do to win the championship “just one at a time”. He meant passing but it applies to feature finishes as well.
    Watching Rocco deep in the field and making little progress takes a bit of getting used to. I’d guess it’s a bank tire credits deal and next week he’s at the front hunting a win but we’ll see.
    Rufrano every bit as fast as Kopcik for a while but the car fades. Thought we were going to see yet another first time winner but it was not meant to be especially after dad said he didn’t have anything for Kopcik in a moment of candor.
    Have car issues? No problem get KRR on line one. “Hey Keith can you get the 83 ready for Friday? ” Dial a ride gets you a really good car and you return it in one piece after a seventh place finish. That’s a win/win in my book.
    Another weird night for Stafford. Race delayed because of an unspecified happening in the paddock. A weather delay, the SK and Lights heats dropped then the program proceeds to the end without interruption thank goodness.
    Who coined that word “piece” as slang for a race car? It should have been unit. “I had a good “unit” tonight”. Cars are made up of pieces. Sheesh!
    Loved Jack in the booth again making magic with Ben errors and all. And yes Mr. Dodge you make errors all the time and hyperbolize everything but that’s all fine it’s your brand and announcing races is hard.
    Was thinking what makes the Arute family so well suited to operating a race track in this era and I’d say it has to be diversity of skills. Mom Lisa, engineer by trade and behind the scenes mastermind accounting for all the moving pieces. Dad Mark you can’t get a word out of but knows every nook and cranny of the physical facility and how to keep it running smoothly. Jack a contributor on the periphery that won’t shut up which is a good thing. No skills to fix anything unless you could talk it into fixing itself but he’s not needed in that capacity. Paul and David looking to the future with streamed races, podcasts and social media and getting their hands dirty with dad when there is hard work to be done. I’m not a fan of family businesses that can tend to promote incompetence but the Arute clan is not that at all near as I can figure from a distance. They’re a well oiled machine, in their prime, confident but not arrogant having a heck-of-a-year making lemonade out of lemons in a changing business and racing landscape.
    This has the look of a pretty successful year and if that’s the case it’s no accident.

  6. They announced the starting line up for the late models when the Limited Late model heat was on the track. I was going these have the ugly wing they are the limited late models. The two announcers didnt notice it until right before the green flag flew. I guess Stafford has too many similar looking divisions even the announcers have a tough time distinguishing whats what. Must be difficult for new fans to figure out whats out there if the announcers struggle with it. Is it a limited late model or late model. is it an SK or an SK Light? Chalk it up to a tough night. Overall I think Stafford has a great announce team. I watch a lot of racing online and they patch in the local announcers. There are very few that are noticeably better than Staffords announce team. We are blessed to have what we have here. I would like to see Matt Buckler get back into the play by play announcing rotation. The infield reporting running back and forth up and down pit road is a younger persons game.

  7. The Atomic Punk says

    Knightrider. How Dare you be critical of anything Stafford?…. The BoBo, Blind Loyalist Lemmings Do not like that….. Repeat after me… It was the Greatest thing ever in the history of things…. and repeat.

  8. Thank goodness one of my comments didn’t pass muster. In it I went full sycophant on the Arute’s and Stafford. Bloody well gushed in fact.
    I hope my grammar and spelling are correct I am blind after all.

  9. Are you going to do a story on the 11 split with Vassar?

  10. The Atomic Punk says

    When did Rocco become a 12th-15th place car?

  11. 8/27/21 Stafford full results from race monitor.

    1 #21 STEPHEN KOPCIK SK Modified®
    2 #55 TEDDY HODGDON SK Modified®
    3 #81 TODD OWEN SK Modified®
    4 #85 TYLER HINES SK Modified®
    5 #75 DAVID ARUTE SK Modified®
    6 #73 BRYAN NARDUCCI SK Modified®
    7 #83 MATT VASSAR SK Modified®
    8 #68 MARCELLO RUFRANO SK Modified®
    9 #35 ANDREW MOLLEUR SK Modified®
    10 #82 MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER SK Modified®
    11 #7 JONATHAN PULEO SK Modified®
    12 #92 DANIEL WESSON SK Modified®
    13 #33 MICHAEL GERVAIS SK Modified®
    14 #67 DOUG MESERVEY SK Modified®
    15 #88 KEITH ROCCO SK Modified®
    16 #16 DYLAN KOPEC SK Modified®
    17 #31 NOAH KORNER SK Modified®
    18 #96 CURT BRAINARD SK Modified®
    19 #11 ED FLEMKE JR SK Modified®
    20 #29 PJ PETERS SK Modified®
    21 #57 MARK ALKAS SK Modified®
    22 #38 CHRISTOPHER VIENS SK Modified®

    As I was watching I was thinking the same thing. What happened to Rocco? He was always competitive if not dominant at Stafford. You never see him running mid pack unless he gets banged up. I am guessing Keith Rocco is probably too busy preparing client cars to give his car proper attention. Due to a slow start and the suspension Rocco is out of the points championship for this season. So the clients needs probably come before his at this point.

    Its Oxford 250 weekend. One of the bigger race weekend in New England. MRS and ACT late models highlight tonights card. PASS Super Late Models go 250 green flag laps tomorrow.

    David Arute has a tour type mod racing tonights MRS race at Oxvford..To my recollection, this is the first time I have seen him in a tour type mod. Surprised he wouldnt make his debut at Stafford last week. Last nights SK light winner, Anthony Bello, also has a car entered in tonights MRS race. MRS has total of 17 cars entered for their race tonight. There are over 55 SLM on site for practice today.

  12. Doug
    August 28, 2021

    “Thank goodness one of my comments didn’t pass muster. In it I went full sycophant on the Arute’s and Stafford. Bloody well gushed in fact.
    I hope my grammar and spelling are correct I am blind after all”.

    I find this very hard to believe Doug. Your an Arute/Stafford guy and going off the deep end against them just ain’t happenin.

  13. BTW, 27 SK mods at Waterford tonight. Great turn out.

  14. CSG David Arute couldn’t make his open debut at Stafford since he was in Todd Owens open car and Todd drove it at Stafford and Todd was at Waterford on Sat with SK

  15. I did see the car was numbered Todd Owens typical number 81 . That is good to know Elect thanks for letting us know. Do you know if that was that in fact David Arutes first Tour Type Modified start? If it was, not a bad effort for first time out., 4th place finish. Great to see.

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