Perfect Roll: Late Drama Helps Stephen Kopcik Stay Unbeaten In Sunoco Mods At Thompson In 2022

Stephen Kopcik celebrates victory in the Sunoco Modified feature Friday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – Stephen Kopcik isn’t shy about talking about the plan that was put in motion in the offseason when it comes to the Sunoco Modified team he competes for at Thompson Speedway. 

At its core it was a simple plan to explain. Win every race. 

And certainly plenty of teams across motorsports might have those sort of offseason hopes before any cars hit the track. And while many might have it to be a far fetched plan to have, it’s one that’s beginning to look like it could come to fruition for Kopcik.

Kopcik, of Newtown, passed Troy Talman for the lead on a lap 29 restart and went on to win the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature Friday at the Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway. 

Friday was the first of three Sunoco Modified features this weekend at Thompson. The division will run 30 lap features on Saturday and Sunday. 

It was the fourth victory in four Sunoco Modified events this year at Thompson for Kopcik. 

“We made a plan and we’re executing the plan,” Kopcik said. “We sold a bunch of older cars to build one new badass car. We did it and we’re winning. We worked for it. This is the plan and we’re making it happen. It’s great. I’m very fortunate to be doing it. But we work to get better day in and day out.” 

Talman, of Oxford, Mass., was second and Cory DiMatteo of Farmington third. 

“These guys are all damn good,” Kopcik said. “They’re fun to race with. I think any one of us can win races. We can bounce off each other and run side-by-side and we know we’re going to be alright. That’s just cool to be able to race like that.” 

The first night of the triple-header for the division proved dramatic and it was late drama that put Kopcik in position to get the victory. 

Talman went from third to first on the first lap, getting by pole sitter Tyler Barry and second place Paul LaPlante. Todd Owen got by Barry for second on lap five, but by then Talman had already opened a half straightaway lead on the field. Talman’s advantage was about 1.3 seconds over second place Owen when caution flew on lap 21 for a frontstretch spin. 

On the ensuing restart it was Talman holding off the charges of Owen with Kopcik moving past Mike Christopher Jr. for third place. 

Owen stalked Talman over two laps before making the move under him off of turn two on lap 23. After a side-by-side battle down the backstretch, Owen was able to take over the lead off of turn four. 

Caution flew once again for two spinners on the frontstretch on lap 28. 

It was Owen choosing the outside lane for the lap 28 restart. When the green fell Talman stayed under Owen through turn one and then pushed Owen far up the track through turn two. 

Talman went to the lead with Kopcik going to second and DiMatteo to third. Owen fell to fifth place. 

“He just, I guess apparently he doesn’t race as clean as I like to be raced,” Owen said of Talman. “I went by him and I never even touched him. I could have roughed him up and I didn’t. I got by him clean and square. Got a good restart and got into the corner ahead of him and he just got in there and cleaned me out.” 

Owen, who pulled up besides Talman during the post-race ceremonies, said he didn’t regret choosing the outside lane for the restart. 

“If you race people with respect it’s a great place to start,” said Owen, who ended finishing fifth. “If you don’t clear them guys on the bottom getting into [turn] one, you’re [in trouble]. I did stop and tell him how happy I was with him.” 

Following the restart caution flew once again on lap 29 to set up Kopcik’s race winning restart. 

“I’ve got to execute better,” Talman said. “That last restart I missed a shift. That’s on me. … This was our race to win.”  


  1. I know Owen has had a lot of success the last couple years winning races and championships, but who does he think he is going to victory lane to tell Talman anything? I clearly remember, probably 10 years ago, him running Ted Christopher up that same banking on a late restart to steal a win.

  2. You’re right of course. But doesn’t the guy get a break for all the clean driving he has done, all the non attacking and not swearing in victory lane and all the times he hasn’t made a big deal about stuff others likely would have. All the bottom shots he hasn’t messed up on spinning cars, all the bump and runs he never has tried and all the races he came in second deciding not to attempt the high risk/low odds of success move at the end of a race. Plus the fact Talman looked a little contrite in victory lane so perhaps whatever was said was taken constructively as a learning experience.

  3. Hillary 2024 says

    That’s the passing move at Thompson. Nothing at all new. Everybody does it. I guess some are just more aggressive.

  4. Monkey Wrench says

    Go cry to Missy.Owen thinks he owns all Ct short tracks with his inside help..Take a seat.

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