Drama Play: Mike Christopher Jr. Uses Last Lap Pass To End Winless Drought In SK Mod At Stafford





Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The No. 13 holds plenty of significance for the Christopher family at Stafford Motor Speedway. 

Ted Christopher, the track’s all-time winningest driver, was known across the country for running No. 13 race cars, including winning nine SK Modified championships with that number at Stafford. 

After winning the final three SK Modified events of the 2018 season at Stafford Speedway it seemed the floodgates of victories were opening for Ted’s nephew Mike Christopher Jr. at the historic half-mile. 

Then came a winless 2019 season. And victory lane drought rolled on week after week through the 2020 season. 

Then came Friday, SK Modified feature No. 13 of the abbreviated season at Stafford. 

And with the dramatic style that his uncle and his father were so well known for, Mike Christopher Jr. made ending his winless streak one to remember. 

Mike Christopher Jr. used a last lap pass of Keith Rocco for the lead to win the 40-lap SK Modified feature at Stafford. 

“At the end of the race, things happen and sometimes you’re in the right spot,” Mike Christopher Jr. said. “I think if Keith and I raced there at the end before the yellow came out it would have been a good race. But at the end of the day I’d rather be lucky than good.” 

Ronnie Williams of Tolland was second and Rocco, of Wallingford, third. 

It was the first victory at Stafford for the Wolcott driver since Sept. 30, 2018. 

Told it was 733 days between victories Mike Christopher Jr. said: “The clock resets right now.” 

Rocco dominated much of the event, but it was Todd Owen that got to Rocco’s bumper in the late stages before a late restart set up a dramatic final four laps. 

Caution flew on  lap 37 with with Rocco leading, Owen second and Mike Christopher Jr. third.

The first attempt at a restart was slowed after a wreck in the back of the field. One the second attempt at a restart it was Mike Christopher Jr. making it three-wide off of turn two before Owen went to the lead into turn three. But the action was nullified by another caution flag flying. 

The next attempt at the lap 37 restart saw Owen use the outside lane to get by Rocco for the lead off of turn two, but it was Rocco fighting back low off of turn four to regain the lead. The pair went side-by-side for lap 38, with Rocco clearing Owen for the lead off of turn two on lap 39.

On the final lap contact between Owen and Rocco in turns one and two slowed Rocco, allowing Mike Christopher Jr. to get under him off of turn two. With Rocco to the outside, Mike Christopher Jr. was able to win the race off of turn four to the checkered, with Williams moving past Rocco to second. 

Rocco’s third place finish clinched his fourth Stafford Speedway SK Modified championship with one event left this season and set a new NASCAR national record with Rocco winning his 18th Weekly Racing Series Division I track title.

Comments

  1. CONGRATS to MCJ for winning tonight’s feature in dramatic fashion. Great job.
    CONGRATS to Keith Rocco for winning your 4th SK Track Championship, as well as setting a new record for division 1 track championships, now at an astonishing 18. Great job Keith, take some time to enjoy your accomplishments.

  2. Mikey!!!

  3. Yogi Berra:
    “It ain’t over til it’s over”
    So true last night.

  4. Viva race fan says

    Great Job Derek Debbis on your 5 th win this rookie year.
    Must have bee missed with all the hoopla with Rocco.

  5. Ken Latham says

    THAT was a great race!!! The best last 10 laps of a race. 3 leaders leaning on each other. Rocco’s move on front straight to take lead back fro Owens was only topped by Mike’s move for the win. Awesome race. LM’s also put on a great show.

  6. Charlie Brown says

    Just like to thank the Stafford management for job well done this year under the circumstances looking forward to next year Congratulations to the Wheeler automotive team on another Championship and to all the other division Champions good job, So I heard Thompson Speedway World Series weekend is $299 for three day pass oh I’m sorry that includes an ice cream and they’re charging $30 to park

  7. Charlie,
    Thank you for keeping today’s theme of ultra-ignorant comments rolling.
    No it’s not $299 for the World Series, nor is there any charge for parking. It’s $55 for a three day ticket for Thompson, which I think is the a pretty fair price for 19 features including the Whelen Modified Tour.

  8. Charlie Brown says

    Sorry Shawn my bad, totally forgot the tour was part of the big weekend, maybe they should make the tour race a 30 lap race, it might be More exciting, 🥱 NOT !!

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