Frontrunner Fight: Stephen Kopcik Tops Todd Owen For SK Modified Win At Stafford

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

STAFFORD – The top of the standings in the SK Modified division at Stafford features Todd Owen and Stephen Kopcik in a tight battle for the 2021 championship.

Friday at Stafford the two drivers took that battle in the standings and turned it into a fierce fight for victory on the track.

In a 10-lap battle for victory, Kopcik was able to hold off Owen to win the 40-lap SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford.

It was the second consecutive victory and fourth win overall in 2021 for Kopcik, of Newtown.

“[Owen] is one of the best,” Kopcik said. “I wouldn’t want to be racing anyone else out here but Todd. He’s just badass. He works his ass off, he builds his own stuff and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s just cool to be racing with him. You know you can race each other clean and what you see is what you got.”

Owen, of Somers, was second and Michael Gervais Jr. of Wolcott third.

“Stephen’s got a fast car every week,” Owen said. “… You can’t get away from him.”

On lap 29 Kopcik made a move to get under then race leader Tyler Hines. The two cars rode up the track through turns three and four with Owen going low to take over the lead.

Kopcik quickly fought back to Owen’s bumper and got under him on lap 31. Owen and Kopcik went side-by-side with Owen leading at the line on lap 32. The side-by-side battle continued on lap 33 with Kopcik edging Owen for the lead at the line.

Kopcik was able to clear Owen off of turn two on lap 34, but Owen continued to stalk Kopcik’s bumper the rest of the way. Owen made a bid to the outside through turns three and four on the final lap, but Kopcik defended the move.

“I think we had a better car,” Owen said. “Probably needed a better driver in this car tonight. That’s all I think we needed. The thing was awesome, I just got tight when he got underneath me and I just couldn’t keep it there. I probably should have been a little bit more aggressive there the last couple laps. I am who I am, some nights you can’t change it.”

Owen came into the night holding a 22-point lead over second place Kopcik in the SK Modified standings. Kopcik cut the lead by two points. When factoring in the worst finish drop-rule Kopcik trailed Owen by 10 points coming into the night.


  1. Couldn’t be there tonight, but I am sure there were fireworks in the pits tonight after they “rode” up the track. Very aggressive move by Kopcik, but I believe it was a racing deal.

  2. Great field of cars tonight. Nice to see Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, Dan Avery, and Cory Dimatteo back in the SK’s.

    The points championship is looking like it is going to come down to the last event. That drop really adds some drama to the calculation this year. I am pulling for Owen. He runs everywhere, runs everyone clean. I would like to see him get rewarded with a Championship.

  3. Great field is probably in anticipation of the TC 13.

  4. Todd Owen is like the Martin Truex Jr the SK division , not going to move anybody for a win. And he is trying to win a title, so smart move on his part. Kopcik seems to have issues getting past the 85 and it may cost him at some point.

  5. The issue between the 21 and the 85 is bordering on WAR. Way past hot rivalry. They just don’t like each other.

  6. Kopcik moved Hines out of the way. Big time. Hines was blocking him, but that is his prerogative. The only reason Kopcik kept his spot is because Hines is a smart and smooth driver and stayed away from the wall, great car control. If someone did that to Stevie, he would have wrecked people getting trying to get back to him if he didn’t crash. And the only reason he won last night is because Todd Owen is a gentleman and has to much money involved to jeopardize that in one SK race. Next time the ending could be different.

  7. The whole 21/85 acrimony lets take at face value.
    So add that to the lingering hard feelings of now part timer Williams, struggling Rocco and musical rides Bryan Narducci. Vassar out of the 11 but has the ride that Narducci won a race in but wasn’t the answer long term and Nooney who made Vassar look brilliant for doing as well as he did in the car. Then there’s Ryan Fearn and he’s a story unto himself. A scamp that loves busting the chops of we fans listing his non racing hobbies including “racing “forum” participation”.. And his profession that at one time was a tattoo artist and now is “Full time team member at Fearn Motorsports” that really adds up to the best mom and dad ever. Sidelined for bad behavior didn’t see that one coming. Of the serious guys in the Late Models Adam Gray so vocal about Bennett and Wray the Stafford announcers are making it a part of the show.
    The Streets that are supposed to have the roughest edges have been the model of good conduct while battling hard on the track only exceeded by the LLM’s. Lead by Alexandra who it’s hard to believe is related to Ryan and perpetual good guy Lavoie battling for the championship.
    Add in all this drama plus points battles in all the divisions and the influx of new teams battling for the championship………………Not best season ever but the best in my memory.

  8. I didn’t see Kopcik moving Hines out of the way at all. It looked like a classic turn three bottom shot where there was not enough room to pull it off and the two simultaneously went up the track and slowed.
    That 85 team has every right to have a bone to pick with Kopcik especially after he left them with a wrecked car that should have been a win a few races ago.
    Never did I think Kopcik would be viewed as a bad guy. For years he took what he could get and was the guy getting roughed up not the guy doing the shoving. Yet here he is and if Hines did go into the wall it would have been the second time Kopcik made a bad decision that cost Hines so thank goodness Hines was able to recover.
    I’m just going to enjoy the Kopcik/Owen battle to the end. I really want to see Owen’s name in the record books as a champion. It’s important to his legacy and he’s more then earned it. Kopcik is the complete package as far as racing goes so he would be a good champion as well.
    This is it, crunch time. Everything has to be perfect the rest of the way for each in all the remaining races. You don’t want to lose it on something you overlooked in preparation.

  9. I have seen way lesser drivers do this move and not go two lanes up in the turn. He didn’t do that to Todd Owen. Why not quit at one? He should win the championship by any means necessary. That is his goal I am assuming. He needs to take a long look in the mirror and see if he would want that done to him. Tyler Hines does not do anything to aggravate anyone. He was making his car wide in that race. If he treats the 85 that way, oh boy! Stevie will get the same reaction when it matters for him. By him or another driver. If he thinks that people forget, he is mistaken. I believe he is making enemies when he was clearly faster. When the championship is on the line, who is going to give him an inch? Answer that.

  10. A couple years ago Ronnie Williams made a move on Kopcik that drove Kopcik up the track and ultimately cost him a win. Williams also played rough with Christopher costing him a win and Williams went on to win the championship.
    Clearly Kopcik has hardened his driving style. Champions usually make moves that are controversial at some point during the season.
    Perhaps Hines is still ascending the learning curve in that regard.
    I’d say this. If Kopcik wins the championship and Owen doesn’t then the difference will be one being a good guy to a fault and the other playing hard ball.
    Not saying it’s right but look at the champions. Since 2016 there have been three Pennink, Williams and Rocco. Each one has played hard ball at one point or another winning the championship.

  11. My suspicions were confirmed. TWO of the 85 crew were suspended, and Tyler fined for incident OFF TRACK with Officials.

  12. I guess so. Plus some other extraordinary bad behavior as well.

    “#38 SK Modified®, driver Chris Veins
    Infractions– Violation of safety protocol, on track.
    Actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing, unsportsmanlike conduct on track.Pl
    Penalties- $100 fine, payable to Catherine V. Hubbard Animal Sanctuary or BenWasHere Foundation via check.
    Removed from the SMS Handicapping process for the next attended event.
    Placed on probation through December 31, 2021.

    On Track Infractions

    #85 SK Modified®, driver Tyler Hines
    Violations– Actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing, unsportsmanlike conduct, off-track by crew members toward SMS Official. Driver is responsible for the team.
    Penalties- Removed from the SMS Handicapping process for the next attended event.
    Placed on probation through December 31, 2021.

    #85 SK Modified®, team member Jonathan Vece
    Violations– Actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing, unsportsmanlike conduct off-track.
    Penalties- Suspended from SMS Property for the next completed event.
    Placed on probation through December 31, 2021.

    #85 SK Modified®, team member Mike Meyhoefer
    Violations– Actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing, unsportsmanlike conduct off-track.
    Penalties- Suspended from SMS Property for the next completed event.
    Placed on probation through December 31, 2021. ”

    You don’t see that every day. The Meyhoefer clan planted their flag before the season started becoming race and contingency sponsors and put Stafford in a position of have to actually suspend TickMike.

  13. Is it fair to assume that Kopcik will be at Stafford tomorrow (Friday) night vs. acting as Preece’s Crew Chief at Richmond?

  14. Rafter Fan,
    Stephen Kopcik will be competing in his SK Modified at Stafford Friday.

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