Whelen Modified Tour Driver/Crew Chief Stephen Kopcik Suspended By NASCAR Following Arrest 

Stephen Kopcik (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

NASCAR announced Thursday that Whelen Modified Tour driver and crew chief Stephen Kopcik has been suspended indefinitely. 

The suspension stems from Kopcik being arrested on Feb. 23 at a minor league hockey game in Danbury. 

Kopcik was charged with two counts of assault in the third degree with physical injury and one count of breach of peace in the second degree. An attempt to reach Kopcik was unsuccessful. The incident took place at a Danbury Hat Tricks game at Danbury Ice Arena. The Hat Tricks are part of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. 

Also arrested with Kopcik at the hockey game was reigning Stafford Speedway SK Light Modified champion George Bessette Jr. 

The 25-year old Kopcik has competed in various Modified divisions and series’ for about a decade in Southern New England. He has made one career Whelen Modified Tour start and has also served regularly as a crew chief for various drivers with the series since 2018. 

NASCAR’s penalty announcement cited Kopcik’s failure to notify the sanctioning body of his arrest. 

NASCAR’s release on the matter specifically cited the following rules: 

2-11 Required Notice
Any NASCAR Member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony), shall notify NASCAR at [email protected] or visit http://reporting.nascar.com prior to the next scheduled Event or within 72 hours of being so charged, whichever is earlier.

1. NASCAR membership is a privilege. With that privilege comes certain benefits, responsibilities and obligations. Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track, is a part of a Member’s responsibilities.

A Member’s actions can reflect upon the sport as a whole and on other NASCAR Members. Ideally, NASCAR Members are role models for the many fans who follow this sport, regardless of the type of license a Member may hold, or the specific Series in which a Member may participate. Therefore, NASCAR views a Member’s conduct, both on and off the race track, which might constitue a behavioral Rules violation under this Rule Book with great importance.

E. Member actions that could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension, or termination.

3. Being charged with or convicted of significant criminal violations (e.g. Domestic Violence, Trafficking, Assault), or having had determinations rendered by criminal or civil authorities that in NASCAR’s judgement necessitate action. NASCAR will not pre-judge guilt or innocence in the criminal or civil legal system, or the guilt or innocence of a Member, but rather review each matter in its own context and circumstances and with regards to its potential effects upon the sport.

Danbury Police would not release any further details concerning the incident besides the simple incident report. The incident report lists two assault victims from the matter, with one of the assault victims listed being a Danbury police officer. 

Multiple sources have indicated that the incident leading to the arrests began when someone accompanying Kopcik and Bessette at the game poured a beer on another fan. A video posted on social media from the game shows an individual – sources say is Kopcik – on the ground being forcefully subdued by multiple police officers and security personnel. Bessette can also be seen in the video sitting a few feet away from where Kopcik was being subdued.

The 21-year old Bessette was charged with one count of breach of peace in the second degree. An attempt to reach Bessette was unsuccessful. Kopcik and Bessette are both due in court for the incident on March 21.

Danbury Police Incident Report (Victim information redacted, cell phone information redacted, report released by Danbury Police Department following Freedom of Information request)


  1. What if he didn’t renew his license yet? Stafford and Thompson should be enough racing for the both of them

  2. Just Saying says

    They both should be suspended for the season from any track in Connecticut

  3. Reggie Dunlap says

    Hockey rinks and race tracks, breeding grounds for irresponsible behavior.

  4. They don’t check your police records when you purchase a NASCAR license – once they get your money they are happy to suspend you.

  5. Kopcik had to renew his license for the New Smyrna races Steve cause its a Nascar track and the tour was also there.

  6. Steve,
    It’s not as if this is some grey area or a questionable opinionated decision by the sanctioning body. As you can read in the story you’re commeting on, the NASCAR rules concerning this matter are absolutely clear. If you get arrested you must report that arrest to NASCAR. It’s not complicated at all. My guess is that had he reported what happened to NASCAR there likely would not have been any announcement or suspension.

  7. Just Saying says

    Just a couple of punks that have no respect for anybody or anything and it seems the sister is the common denominator or the instigator this won’t be the last you hear of the three stooges

  8. The clown show continues! Assaulting a police officer, nice… Stafford should take notice.

  9. Chop Chop says

    What a shocker, the guy who thinks the rules in racing don’t apply to him also thinks laws at a hockey game don’t apply to him. This kid is a mess.

  10. Well, at least we have something to talk about to fill time until the next race.

  11. Reggie Dunlop says

    At least the Danbury Hat Tricks won the game…

  12. Rafter fan says

    Nothing stirs up interest like DQs and arrests!

  13. Dbury Dad says

    Steven is what happens when you have parents that think their kid is an angel who does nothing wrong and let them get away with everything. Kid has no respect for anyone and never has. Thinks the world revolves around him and everything is about getting his way because his mommy and daddy always let him get his way. If you’re wrestling on the ground with police officers that means you have no respect for police officers. Mommy and daddy are probably telling him the mean cops were just out to get him. Kid will never change.

  14. From someone who was at hockey game they both mentioned were drunk neither has any respect for other people or authority. Both think they are better than everyone else and I’m sure everyone knows the latter mentioned has had issues with drinking just by his BS while camping at tracks in the past. When mommy and daddy have money this is how kids end up. It’s sad to see 2 good drivers practically throwing their careers down the tubes just to try and be cool. Hopefully they wake up some day before it’s too late.

  15. Wow no need to go to court , we already have a conviction

  16. Just Saying says

    Where’s DOUG ? you always have something to say, I’m surprised you haven’t wrote a short story yet. Come on what do say!!

  17. Elect,
    The actual written rule from the rulebook is in the text of this article. Nowhere does it say you must report a conviction to NASCAR. It quite specifically says you must report any arrest to NASCAR. It’s actually not a really complicated rule. If you happen to get arrested you must report that arrest to NASCAR. In this case the individual involved chose not to follow what is in the rulebook and was penalized for that.

  18. I have never read the small print on my NASCAR license form

  19. Hillary 2024 says

    Those Bessette’s have got issues

  20. Fight Night In Danbury says

    Kopcik mom on Facebook saying her kid didn’t do anything wrong and everything is made up. Because who doesn’t wrestle with 3 or 4 cops at a hockey game every now and then for fun? What’s wrong with these people?

  21. I went to the arena and a hockey game broke out!

  22. Birds of a feather flock together!

  23. Kopcik is a smug, snot-nosed punk who thinks he’s a tough thug. Good look idiot. Fighting with cops? Should make all race tracks think twice about having him there. If your temper is bad enough you’ll fight cops you probably shouldn’t be driving a race car. He’s a danger to everyone at the track.

  24. 1st Amendment Auditor says

    Time to file a FOIA request for the police body cam footage and the arena surveillance video if its public. While Danbury has lots of recent troubles with auditors, this footage would likely be released without incident.

  25. well, this is disappointing. These guys are giving hockey my offseason favorite a bad reputation. Does Stafford have any penalties for the drivers associated with this incident? Is Kopcik even allowed to race at Stafford currently. I can’t keep up with all the shenanigans and associated penalties.

  26. 🍃 High Steaks 🥩 says

    Who knew when the Danbury Trashers folded the racers would continue the fights..

  27. Bob Hobbs says

    All I know is there are a lot of people I know support the January 6th people who suddenly love cops again. Selective outrage anyone?

  28. Crazy in NY says

    All I know is there are a lot of people I know support the January 6th people who suddenly love cops again. Selective outrage anyone?

    What the freak? I see bathwater drinking hasn’t gone out of style here on RacedayCT.

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