Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Through the first 8 weeks of the 2021 season at Stafford Motor Speedway, drivers in the track’s premier SK Modified® division have been paid out over $115,000 in purse and contingency awards.
35 different drivers have each taken home a share of over $107,000 in purse money and over $8,000 in contingency awards. Stafford’s contingency partners for the 2021 season include NAPA Auto Parts, TickMike.com, Maybury Material Handling, North East Race Cars, Manley Performance Parts, North American Motor Car, New England Racing Fuel, Sunoco Brand, and FloRacing.
“The SK’s are definitely in a good place,” said Stephen Kopcik, driver of the #21 AirGas sponsored SK Modified®. “The championship this year will pay $5,000 to win. That kind of money is awesome. It takes a lot to do what we do and the track makes sure it takes really good care of us as drivers. It’s great to have the marketing partners that the track does with the SK Modified® division and hopefully it can continue to keep growing year after year.”
“Stafford does a lot with the contingency program,” said Michael Christopher, Jr., driver of the #82 Eastport Feeds / PT Watts SK Modified®. “Usually if you get a top-5 finish, you leave the track with a gain on the night and if you can win a race, it’s even better. It’s thanks to FloRacing, NAPA, Sunoco, Maybury, and all the companies who pay out bonus money for us. Shout out to them and a shout out to Stafford for getting those partners on board so we can have some pretty nice bonuses to go racing for.”
Christopher was the winner of the June 12 TickMike.com SK Modified® All-Star Shoot Out, which paid $4,000 for the win. Christopher also won stage 2 of the All-Star race to win a $1,000 bonus which brought his total winnings to $5,000. That winner’s check will be second to only this Friday night’s NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k winner, who will take home over $5,000 in purse and contingency bonuses.
“[The All-Star Race] was pretty awesome,” said Christopher. “Obviously it was a lot of money to win and we race for money but we don’t really race to make money, we race to put on a show. For local short track racing, it is pretty awesome to have the TickMike.com All-Star race as well as the NAPA SK 5k that pays out $5,000 to win on the schedule.”
In 6 career NAPA SK 5k starts, Christopher has posted 3 top-5 finishes, including a career best finish of 3rd last season. Christopher will be looking to add a second $5,000 payday to his 2021 resume and he is looking forward to the 100-lap extra distance NAPA SK 5k.
“I feel like I’m more suited to longer distance races so hopefully we can come out of that race with another big paycheck,” said Christopher.
Wheelers Auto Service Providing NAPA SK 5k Heat Race Bonuses at Stafford
For the 7th consecutive season, John & Maina Rufrano from Wheelers Auto Service of Hamden, CT will provide a heat race bonus for this Friday night’s NAPA SK 5k event at Stafford Speedway.
The Rufranos and Wheelers Auto will provide a total bonus of $2,000 for the SK Modified® heat races with each heat race winner banking $250, each second place finisher $150, and each third place finisher $100. The $2,000 in heat race bonus money, when combined with the race purse and other contingency awards, pushes the total posted awards for the 8th Annual NAPA SK 5k to over $30,000.
“This is a great way for us to be able to give something back to the drivers and it should definitely help make the heat races a little more exciting by giving everyone a little extra something to race for,” said John Rufrano.
“That’s awesome,” said Stephen Kopcik, driver of the #21 AirGas Chevrolet. “That’s certainly going to make people want to win the heat races that much more. That’s a great thing that Wheelers Auto is doing for us and I wish we could have more heat race bonuses in the future.”
“It’s awesome to have Wheelers Auto coming back on board to sponsor the NAPA SK 5k heats again,” said Todd Owen, driver of the #81 Cooker Construction Chevrolet. “That gives us all an added bonus to try to take home and it should help make for one great night of racing.”
The 2021 SK Modified® season has been a season full of parity with 7 different feature winners through the first 8 race events. Tyler Hines, who scored his first career SK Modified® victory in the season opening race back on April 24, is so far the only repeat feature winner of the 2021 season. Other feature winners this season include Michael Christopher, Jr., Chase Dowling, Stephen Kopcik, Bryan Narducci, Keith Rocco, and Ronnie Williams. The last time the SK Modified® division had so many different winners to start off a season was in 2008 when there were 7 different winners through the first 8 races. Of the 7 different feature winners in 2021, 6 drivers occupy spots in the the top-7 of the SK Modified® points standings with Kopcik leading Todd Owen by 18 points.
The 8th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K is set for this Friday, June 25. Tickets for the NAPA SK 5K are available online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and will also be available at the gates day of show. General Admission tickets are $30.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages and pit passes are $45.00 with a valid 2021 Stafford Competition License and $50.00 without a Stafford license.