Mike Christopher Jr. Carrying Family Legacy In Stafford Speedway SK Modified Division

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates a third consecutive SK Modified victory with his aunt Quinn Christopher at the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Speedway last year (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

When the SK Modifieds® hit the track for the first time during the 2019 NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend on April 26-28, Michael Christopher, Jr. and the #82 NAPROCO team will be looking continue their 3-race winning streak that began with the last three races from the 2018 season.  

“Since the season ended last year the anticipation has been building,” said Christopher.  “To end on a high note like that you just want to keep on going but unfortunately winter comes around.  I’m really excited to get back going at Stafford.  We had good momentum finishing last season and the experience I gained during the year is something that I haven’t had before so I want to implement that experience and see what we can accomplish this season.  All this is possible thanks to NAPROCO and the Meyhofer family, Mike’s Auto & Body Shop, Mohawk Northeast, Connecticut Trailers, Waddell Communications, and everyone else who helps us out.”

For Christopher, the first 16 races of last season was a roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows.  Christopher scored his first career win on June 15th and notched three podium finishes, but also had four finishes outside the top-15.  The final 5 races of the season was a different story with the #82 team capping off the season with 5 consecutive top-5 finishes, including 3 straight wins.  That 5-race stretch allowed Christopher to climb from 7th in the standings and 156 points behind eventual champion Ronnie Williams to his final position of third, just 78 points back.  Christopher is focused on building off his season ending momentum and challenging for the SK Modified® championship in 2019.

“I think we can carry the momentum with us and our number one goal this year is to win the championship,” said Christopher.  “In order to win the championship you have to win races and more importantly you have to finish races.  I look at the championship kind of like a Formula 1 point deal where they only pay points to the top-10 finishers.  Looking at the championship like that you have to understand that sometimes it’s better to settle with what you have rather than make a bold move.  To add my name and another Christopher name in the record books as a Stafford champion is something that I’ve always dreamed about.  It would mean a lot if we could win the championship this year and put my name up there with all the greats that have that have succeeded at Stafford.”

As Christopher continues his racing career, he is looking to not only establish himself but he is also carrying on the legacy of his late uncle Ted, who is Stafford’s winningest driver with 131 feature wins and 9 SK Modified® championships.  Christopher’s #82 car is the same car that Ted drove to 6 wins in 2017 and carrying on the family tradition makes any race win extra special.

“To continue that legacy is something that is always in the back of my mind as a goal,” said Christopher.  “That’s obviously important to me, my family, everyone involved, and all the fans who followed Ted.  We won a couple races on special dates last year.  Our first win was right around Teddy’s birthday and our third win was the one-year anniversary of the week that he passed away, so those races meant a lot.  Any time we win a race we always think about Teddy and what he accomplished.”

Christopher’s impressive four-wins in 2018 were the first SK Modified® feature wins of his young career.  As strong as Christopher and the #82 team were at the end of the 2018 season, Christopher says there’s always room for improvement to become even stronger as a driver.

“Last year the couple of races we won we had a dominant race car with a lot of speed, so there wasn’t a lot of having to race the last couple of laps with the front running drivers,” said Christopher.  “This year I’m going to have to learn about getting down to the wire what you have to do behind the wheel to win races.  The light bulb finally clicked for us last year and our team operation is running on all cylinders right now.  We made a name for ourselves at the end of last season and showed that we can be a threat to win races at the end of the day.”

The 2019 season gets underway at Stafford with the NAPA Spring Sizzler® spanning 3 days kicking off Friday, April 26th with a full afternoon of practice for Stafford’s weekly divisions.  The weekend continues Saturday, April 27 with qualifying for all divisions including group qualifying for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as well as feature racing for the Vintage All-Stars, Limited Late Models and Street Stocks.  New for 2019, the Saturday Street Stock feature will be a 30-lap special event as part of the RMSPCO.com Street Stock Triple Crown.  Sizzler® weekend is capped off Sunday, April 28 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party and feature racing for the SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Light Modifieds, and finally the NAPA Spring Sizzler® 200 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now by calling the Speedway Box Office 860-684-2783 or online at www.staffordspeedway.com.  Discount NAPA Spring Sizzler® tickets that include access to the NAPA lunch buffet are available at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores.  For a full list of participating locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, please call the speedway office or point your web browser to www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores

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  1. Forget the championship. Go from the back to the front like Ted and your dad did. Win races. That’s where the fun is.

  2. MCJ should definitely be counted as a championship contender. If not for a few bad finishes last season, he might have won it instead of Ronnie. I think it’s cool, he’s driving his uncle’s car, with his dad’s number, that’s family.

  3. Amen Rob P, I Could Not Have Said It Any Better

  4. SK ModFan says

    Ok Rob, let’s not get carried away brother. For the record I like MCJr, (and Sr) and think he is a legit contender. 78 points back is not even close last year. Williams could have started and parked the last 2 races and Jr would still be no where in sight. As he said in the article, he needs to be more consistent, less bad finishes than 50,88,66,etc to be there at the end. Another funny thing I saw watching video of last year is that 82 won only on nights the 50 had issues. His good luck was the 50s bad luck nights. Jr’s First win, 50 had motor issue(I think a spark plug wire came off), second win, the 50 was spun out by the 88 late in the race, then the 88 was put in the wall by 66, Jr wins; 3rd win, the 50 spins the 88 running 1 and 2, late in the race, both go to the rear ,Jr wins . Last, Fall Final the 31 unloads on the 50 going into turn 3 early in the race, Jr wins. Hey, a win is a win. BUT, this run was more fortuitous than it was domination. Right place at the right time when the big dogs were not there. All things being equal which they never are in racing, the 82 is a 3rd-4th place contender, odds on, way more than a Championship Contender. And Doug, I was right about the 21 tour car at Thompson. The Jimmy/Stash trains are about to collide/ there was a lot of anger and frustration in the pits after the race. Stay tuned.

  5. SK ModFan, had to pour cold water on a feel good story, right?

  6. I’m becoming a real fan of your comments SK Modfan. The micro analyzing that always lands in a place where Williams won or would have won were it not for (fill in the blank) gets a little tedious. Otherwise you just flat out nail the details like no one else.
    Agree completely. Williams had a terrible finish to the season and still won it going away. It wasn’t that Christopher or Rocco never had a chance it was that numerically we all knew it was an impossibility and in my view one of the biggest disappointments last year as opposed to the SK Lights.
    I want Christopher to do well like most but just think he’s more an average driver in great equipment. Then again Williams is an average driver in great equipment so who knows…..just kidding.
    Overall Williams season was magical. Sure the car was fast, it was fast for Dowling and Pitkat as well. But Williams seemed to avoid the drama for two thirds of the season driving from the rear to the from like he had a force field surrounding his car. No doubt you’ll say it was skill. It might be but it was also a bit of luck I should think.
    This year it should be deja vu all over again. Berndt will be fast but not consistent. Christopher will be fast but he’s just not his dad or TC. Todd Owen will do better and win but not contend. Reen will improve and surprise but you can’t change the spots on a leopard. No I’m afraid its Rocco vs Williams for the championship. Rocco loaded again with a new TA1 chassis and probably the best of everything that hangs on it. As much as I like seeing Skowyra lose the team is like a well oiled machine.
    The wild cards? This year Rocco is dealing with more customers then ever including getting Rufrano up to speed so will that affect his focus? You SK Modfan can speak to the new dynamic with the 50 and how it may change their formula for success. The Williams/Skowyra quasi partnership and expansion into the full modified opens. Not a good start at Thompson.
    Blewett and the 21 team laid an egg at Thompson many think hoping he’d contend including me. Still got a top 10 with Wall on the immediate horizon after we sizzle. You might want to dial back the self praise so early in the season. It’s great insight your comments on the hard feelings after the race but you know strong emotions aren’t always unproductive.
    Looking forward to reading you this season and hopefully busting your chops on occasion.

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