The learning curve stepping up from a go-kart at Stafford Motor Speedway to an SK Light Modified at the track was a quick one for Palmer, Mass. teenager Dylan Kopec.
Kopec went winless in his first season in SK Light Modified in 2011 and then came the meteoric flash to the front in 2012. Kopec led the division in 2012 at Stafford with eight victories in 19 starts. He finished the season fourth in the standings with 13 top-10’s.
Now he’ll take the step from the Modified entry level division to Touring ride.
The 17-year old high school junior will run full-time next year on the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
“I’m pretty pumped up for it,” Kopec said. “I’m kind of intimidated going from an SK Light to a Tour motor, but I was talking to [Tommy Barrett Jr.] and he said he was intimidated at first also but he got over it and it’s way better because it’s more competitive.”
The 17-year old Barrett ran full-time in an SK Light Modified at Stafford in 2010 and part-time in 2011, recording 14 victories during his short span in the division. He ran his first full-time season this year with the Valenti Modified Racing Series and finished the year with three victories.
“It gives me a lot of confidence because Tommy, we all know he’s a real good driver,” Kopec said. “His last year in the SK Lights, where he was is basically where I was at the end of this year. I know it will take me a while, but eventually I’ll be running up where he is in that series.”
Kopec’s father Chris is a former regular in a Modified at the old Riverside Park Speedway and with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Kopec said he is ready for the big changes that come with getting away from running the same track every week.
“There’s a lot of challenges,” said Kopec, who will also run part-time in 2013 in the SK Modified division at Stafford in a car owned by Rich Vasseur. “All the new tracks I have to learn, that’s most of the reason why we’re doing it, to race the news tracks. The whole touring division, you have to figure out how to race newer people. With the SK Lights I kind of had an idea how everybody races. And just the power and throttle control going from an SK Light to a Tour car, it’s completely different.”
“Every time you move up you have to relearn a lot of things. When I was younger I let that bother me, but you get older and you kind of realize that you’ll get back to the point you want to be.”
—- Follow RaceDayCT at Facebook
—- Follow RaceDayCT on Twitter