Firsts Aplenty: Stephen Kopcik Wins Sunoco Mod Feature At Thompson Icebreaker

Stephen Kopcik celebrates victory in the Sunoco Modified feature Saturday at the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – First was the theme of the day for Stephen Kopcik Saturday at Thompson Speedway.

First race for his new team, first race of the season, first place finish and first win ever at Thompson Speedway.

Kopcik lost the lead to Mike Christopher Jr. on the last lap, fought to get the lead back and then held off Christopher in a side-by-side battle to the checkered to win the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature Saturday at the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway.

For Kopcik, of Newtown, it was the first career victory in any type of car at the historic Thompson Speedway

“First win here,” Kopcik said. “It’s special. I’ve always wanted to win at this place.”

Kopcik is driving for a newly formed John Jensen Sunoco Modified team at Thompson and intends to chase a championship at the track in 2022.

“They’ve assembled this team with some great people and the plan is to try to chase all these shows here this year,” Kopcik said. “And more importantly, to have fun. We’ll see what happens.”

Christopher, of Wolcott, was second and Todd Owen of Somers third.

Kopcik started from the pole but was involved with battles at the front from start to finish.

Jon Puleo went to second on lap four and then got by Kopcik for the lead on lap six. On lap 12 Kopcik found a way under Puleo off turn four and regained the top spot through turns one and two on the next lap. On lap 16 Todd Owen went by Puleo for second on lap 16 and challenged Kopcik before caution flew on lap 27.

On the ensuing restart Christopher was able to overtake Owen for second and quickly found the bumper of Kopcik.

On the final lap Christopher was able to get under Kopcik for the lead through turns one and two. But Kopcik fired back through turn three to get the top spot back. Christopher went for the crossover off of turn four coming to the checkered but Kopcik was able to win the drag race to the finish line.

“He had a really good car,” Kopcik said. “Everyone is really close and competitive here. We definitely didn’t need that restart. We were firing off a little free and I think that worked in his favor. He was definitely equal. There were four cars that were equal to what we were, which is impressive. It just means a lot to win here.”

Said Christopher: “His entry to turn three was way better than mine for the two or three laps that I was following him. I knew that if I tried anything and I saved it for the last lap, last corner and I tried to drive it in, I don’t think I would have been there. So I tried it in turn one and was thinking maybe he wouldn’t get back there.”


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    Real nice race… Was quite surprised Rocco was off today … Usually if He starts in the front row , you can hand him the trophy…. I guess we get so used to watching him come from 7th – 10th on the starts and drive right to the front and dominate if He starts on the front row and drifts backwards its almost shocking to us … Kopcik really had them covered today with fast lap of 19.542 ….He was checked out until that last yellow where Christopher made it a Race the last 4 laps…I guess His knowledge as a Crew Chief has transferred into the SK programs… Kopcik has been Winning more and the last few years and he got whacked at Stafford with a DQ with shocks out of spec… But I am sure that won’t be the case going forward as He wants to keep His reputation clean in the World of NASCAR… Congratulations on your 1st Thompson Win… GEE i hope Corey Berry is ok after going HARD into the WALL in the 1st Heat Race on the 1st lap in the 1st Turn of the 2022 Season…Tough way to start the season with an Ambulance Ride to Day Kimball…

  2. Congrats to Stephen Kopcik, John Jensen and the whole # 79 team. First race, first win, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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