Stafford Springs, CT — Chris Kopec, a former regular competitor on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, will make his return to the series this weekend at Stafford Speedway for the 39th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend. Kopec will take over the driving duties of the #79 Hillbilly Racing car that was piloted by James Civali in the first 14 events of the 2011 season.
“I got the call on Monday night and it was definitely a surprise to me,” said Kopec. “I’m excited about having the opportunity to drive again. You always miss being in the driver’s seat and I kind of got the bug again this year after driving Dylan’s SK Light a couple of times. I feel bad what happened with the Hills and James. The Hills have good equipment and James is a good driver, for whatever reason they just had some bad luck. With this sport being performance based, I think maybe the Hills were looking for something that will work. We’re all friends and I wanted to make sure it stayed that way before I accepted the ride. It’s exciting for me to be back on the driver’s side of the fence.”
After making selected Whelen Modified Tour starts from 1990-1992, Kopec was a Tour regular from 1995-2003 before an injury kept him out of action for the 2004 season. Kopec made 9 starts in the 2005 season, but he hasn’t been behind the wheel of a Tour car since.
“I’m sure it will take a little getting used to again,” said Kopec. “After that first practice we’ll see how good or how bad I am, hopefully it will be how good we are.”
For the 2011 season, Kopec has been turning the wrenches on his son Dylan’s SK Light Modified and after Dylan broke his wrist earlier this season, Kopec took his son’s car out for two races and he finished 6th and 4th.
“I don’t know how much those two races will help me,” said Kopec. “These Tour guys all have so much experience at Stafford. My goal is to get in the race, keep the wheels on it, and it would be really nice to be able to finish the race. The one thing I have to do is finish better than Dylan, or he will be busting on me all winter long! Stafford is a first class track and it’s been a lot of fun coming to the track every Friday this year with Dylan. It will be a bit busy running back and forth between the 79 and Dylan’s car, but hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun this weekend.”
The 39th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend kicks off on Friday, Sept. 30 with pit gates opening at 12:00pm with a practice session running from 2:00pm to 6:30pm for Stafford’s weekly divisions. The General Admission grandstands will be open to the public at no charge for the practice session. The G.A. Grandstands will open at 2pm.
Action continues on Saturday, Oct. 1 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars at 2:15pm, followed by heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday’s events wrap up with feature events for Stafford’s SK Light Modified, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Closing out the Saturday feature events will be the Paradiso-Muska DARE Stock Shoot-Out, a special 8-lap shoot-out all-star race for this season’s DARE Stock feature winners and several wild card entrants.
The CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend continues on Sunday, Oct. 2 with the famous Stafford CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party kicking off the day’s activities from 11:00am to 12:00pm, with the final SK Modified® and Late Model feature events of 2011 being accompanied by the Whelen Modified Tour 150-lap CARQUEST Fall Final.
Tickets for the CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend are available and on sale now at the Stafford Motor Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult General Admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 & under are free. Reserved seating is $38.00 for all ages. All tickets cover both Saturday and Sunday admission to the Fall Final. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783.
For more information, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR