For The Win: Stephen Kopcik Uses High Drama To Get Fourth Consecutive SK Mod Win At Stafford

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

STAFFORD – As if winning four consecutive SK Modified features at Stafford Speedway isn’t theater enough, Stephen Kopcik made the feat one fans surely won’t forget anytime soon Friday.

Kopcik went from third to first in the final corner to win his fourth consecutive 40-lap SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway.

Kopcik became the first driver to win four consecutive SK Modified events at Stafford since Keith Rocco in 2018.

“Four is something special, especially to win that way,” Kopcik said. “I think we were pretty evenly matched tonight, the whole field. … I knew I had to take advantage of that [final] restart and that’s what we did.”

Todd Owen of Somers was second and Jon Puleo of Branford third.

“We’re so fortunate to win four here in a row,” Kopcik said. “That was definitely the best one over the past [four races].”

It was the division leading sixth win of the season for Kopcik, of Newtown. Kopcik and Owen will go into the final event of the season on Oct. 1 tied at the top of the standings and the only two drivers in a position to win the championship. Neither driver has won an SK Modified championship previously at Stafford.

While Kopcik celebrated his feat, Owen seethed over the decision to throw a late caution and the way he was driven by Keith Rocco on the final lap.

Caution flew on lap 38 with Rocco leading, Puleo in second, Owen in third and Kopcik, who started 11th, was in fifth.

“It took us 37 laps to pick through the field and we only got to fifth,” Kopcik said. “Everyone is just so damn close here.”

On the ensuring restart it was Rocco holding on to the lead with Owen moving to second and Kopcik to third.

On lap 39 Owen got under Rocco through turn two and came off the corner with the lead. On the next lap Kopcik got by Rocco for second place, but as the leaders coming off turn four caution flew for the spinning car of Matt Vassar in turn one.

Owen thought race should have ended there.

“We were coming out of [turn] four,” Owen said. “We weren’t even like in three and four. We were coming out of [turn] four. But not my job, all I can do is try to go out there and win. We had to go out there and try to do the best we could tonight and I thought we had a win.”

The race restarted with Owen leading, Rocco back to second and Kopcik in third. A wreck at the rear of the field negated the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

On the next attempt it was Owen and Rocco going side-by-side for most of the lap with Owen getting the advantage off of turn four and coming to the white flag. Through turn one Kopcik edged under Rocco, but Rocco was able to get in behind Owen off of the corner.

Going into turn three on the final lap Rocco dove low under Owen through the corner. Rocco got by Owen and came up the track in front of him through turn three. Kopcik took advantage of the low lane opening, diving under Owen and then Rocco got sideways through turn four which allowed Owen to move back to second. Puleo edged Rocco for third at the line.

Owen wasn’t happy with the way Rocco drove him through the final corners.

“I was always taught if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all,” Owen said. “I was brought up a whole lot better to race a whole lot different. But whatever. … My guys … they work their tails off and they don’t deserve to be raced like that.”

Rocco chalked up the move to hard racing for a win on the last lap.

“Are you not allowed to pass here anymore?” Rocco said sarcastically. “Did somebody wreck, I didn’t see it? Huh? I don’t know. I guess we can’t use all the asphalt anymore? There was a hole and I took it and that was that. There was asphalt there. You go to a race track you race on the asphalt, that’s the way it is.”

Owen questioned Rocco’s explanation.

“There’s pavement but there’s also racing grooves that we all race on,” Owen said. “I was on the bottom and he felt like he could put a whole other car there. Obviously he’s going to see it completely different than I will. I was on the bottom. I didn’t leave the bottom open, I’ve done that before.”


  1. Congrats to Stephen and your team for your fourth consecutive win. Great job.

  2. That was a dick move by Rocco- he was completely out of control and the track doesn’t do a thing? Terrible with the caution flags also. Skl best race of the night

  3. Rocco all butt hurt this year because he’s not winning and needing some attention? I’m sure Kopcik will make it feel all better for you after handing him that win! You can’t honestly feel proud of that win??? For real?
    Keith’s a snake, I wouldn’t trust him with my grandmother! Hope Owen remembers THIS one because he sure seems for forget all the other times.

  4. Bill Realist says

    Great racing. Who cares if they didn’t like it. The fans did and that’s all that matters.

  5. I would not trust Owen’s memory. In victory lane he claimed the 88 ran in the dirt to make that move; watch the video. Owen fell for the same move a few weeks ago; this is why Owen is not a champion.
    If the race officials want to affect the outcome of the race by throwing a competition caution when all cars were moving on the track then the 88 should be able to affect the outcome too. Owen left the bottom wide open on the last la, that is why he lost again. Watch Nascar on tv if you want to watch drivers layover for the leader.

  6. What was the lap 37 caution for?

  7. Jim Higgins,
    Car spinning through the grass on the backstretch.


  9. Rob Valerio,
    There has never been any such rule like that at Stafford Speedway. Yes, that is the rule with certain NASCAR touring divisions, but there has never been a rule at Stafford that says if the white flag comes out the race ends if the caution flies after that.

  10. robert valerio says


  11. Rob Valerio, You can keep leaving the same comment in all caps over and over but you’re still 100 percent wrong. There is no rule at Stafford that says if a caution comes out after the white flag the race is over. That rule actually doesn’t exist at most short tracks with weekly divisions.

  12. About a year or so ago there was a poll on raceday about what kind of rules you like. It was nascar or open mod or tri track, I can’t remember .but I put I like nascar rules because you know what you have. This is a perfect example, weather it is a Stafford rule or not. 81 kinda got screwed either way

  13. That was a bad attempt at a last lap pass by Rocco. If Owen hadn’t got on the binders big time that would have been two wrecked race cars. If Owen or anyone else for that matter did the same thing to Rocco he’d be furious, especially while in a battle for the points championship.

  14. Rob , Staffords’ weekly division’s are not sanctioned by NASCAR this year .so that rule is not in affect . Starter should have thrown the yellow and checkered

  15. Owen got the shaft… The caution did not need to come out at the 39 3/4 lap point. He should have Chris Jones and Bo Gunning drive team cars next week.

  16. flo racing kiss my grits says

    Steve is delusional. there was NO reason to throw the caution flag that late other than to effect the outcome of the race . its poor ethics it was a bad decision by whomever made the call PERIOD. someone with access to video at Stafford for previous similar circumstances and other long time competitors will confirm this as a terrible gaff ! Owen got punished for no reason by the track. second Rocco is not thinking clearly ..He`s made that same move on several drivers at all three tracks.. heck a delusional Matt Buckler called it before it happened ! ! what does that tell you ? ?? we can know call Matt the racing medium !!! ??? the point being he Rocco is NOT in the championship chase and Rocco should know better than anyone that Kopcik or Rocco himself were going to benefit from his divebomb on Owen. wish I could hear the spotters chatter. GLAD Rocco wasnt on the podium. all that being said Owen and his sponsors need to sit down and decide if they want to be victims or drive others as they are driven … . Bad Bad call by Stafford. bush league move by Rocco (again) . hey Todd.. don’t hold your head high, tuck in your chin , hand up on the wheel and start fighting back dummit!!

  17. What a terrific night of racing. 27 Street Stocks and 26 SK’s including visits by Anthony Flannery and Matt Swanson in the 76. The level of competition, stratospheric with the top 20 inundated with really good cars.
    Gold stars to high drama Bryan Narducci coming off his parking and scratch start to make a nice run up to 12th without being sent to the rear once. But especially Jonathan Puleo. Still a babe in the woods in a pack of wolves he held his own, got a bit of luck at the end and got the third. He’s where Mike Christopher and Stephen Kopcik were early in their SK careers in fast cars but not tempered by hard racing in the front at crunch time.. He, mentored by his dad, is definitely one to watch going into the future in the LFR.
    Owen had a beef but not for the caution he said came out as he said happened exiting 4. It actually came out closer to the apex of 3 and 4 and was for the 83 spinning through the grass on the front stretch. His beef is with Rocco. The bottom shot a beautiful thing when executed properly but this one was not. Rocco should know that with Kopcik and Owen involved is a points race he should race hard but avoid doing something boneheaded that could affect one’s prospects. He may not have been in the dirt but you have to be able to stick the landing and sliding up into Owen was a bush league mistake. He ended up taking a guy out that would never in a million years do that to him.
    It’s been a break out year for the A to Z racing talent Kopcik and that’s a good thing for the future of the SK’s and Stafford. Rocco, the most talented A to Z racing talent in the Northeast has proven his true nature and it’s an ugly sight. A year of adversity for sure coming off a serious physical issue and rehab, inconsistent finishes, the fight and suspension at Stafford, chasing after the 82 at the Speedbowl, sullen and robotic in victory lane sprinkled with some wins and now this. Whatever Todd Owen is that most people believe sets the highest standards for racing on and off the track, Rocco is the exact opposite.
    It looks like Owen won’t win the championship this year and that’s a shame. What he should take enormous pride in is not only his personal accomplishments and conduct achieving them but the Chassis Pro brand. Debbis, Meservey, Arute with the 81 running point all driving Chassis Pro creations and collectively have never done better.

  18. Its a bad scene when officials can dictate the outcome of a race by throwing unnecessary cautions. When the 25 spun on the backstretch and was already moving forward the could not have thrown the caution fast enough .Yes , Todd should have won ,no question. Bold move by Rocco but it rarely works. I think they were favoring the Kopcik win streak to continue.

  19. Any hack can drive the car deeper then the next guy but a race car driver can pass a competitor without taking 3 lanes and driving across the nose of the guy you are trying to pass. Todd is a race car driver – Rocco was a hack last night.

  20. Viva Race Fan says

    Owen got boned.
    No need for either caution.
    Bummer man

  21. Neither of the questionable late cautions was necessary. However, Tapley/Stafford would say that safety is top priority, and it’s tough to argue with that position.

  22. So Rocco makes a dive bomb move for the lead on the last lap and ends up 4th? Think that move might need a little work Keith…….

  23. What Rafter fan said. Stafford always errs on the side of safety and is always quick to throw the caution. What they weren’t in this situation is inconsistent.

  24. Cheaters never win.
    Don’t you think it takes more than to wake up on a Thursday and decide to work on your car then win the next 4 races….hmmm


    I read all your comments and you’re all freaking idiots. I bet all you morons don’t even go to the races you watch it on TV, so shut the funk up, so if Rocco is such a hack why does he have a record of 18 track championships, you morons !!


    Bevis&Butthead). Fox an Tapley should hold hands an walk into a busy intersection,

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing