Cash Counter: Mike Christopher Jr. Wins NAPA SK 5K At Stafford Speedway

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the NAPA SK 5K Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The month of June has proved to be a lucrative behind the wheel of an SK Modified for Mike Christopher Jr. 

On June 12 at Stafford Speedway Christopher scored a $5,000 payday in winning the SK Modified All-Star Shootout at Stafford. 

Friday the Wolcott driver added another big chunk of purse booty to the June winning’s vault. 

Christopher held off the late charges of Stephen Kopcik over the closing laps to win the eighth NAPA SK 5K Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

“Give it up to my crew for giving me a great car,” Christopher said. “And honestly give it up to [Kopcik] as well because we were racing pretty damn hard there and it could have gotten more and more brutal. It was a good race so I’m excited for that.” 

Christopher earned a $5,000 first place purse for the event. In total he earned $5725, which included $475 in regular contingencies and $250 from Wheeler’s Auto for winning his heat race.

“We’re racking up some money,” Christopher said 

Kopcik, of Newtown, was second and Chase Dowling of Roxbury third. 

Christopher became the sixth different winner of the event. Chase Dowling and Ronnie Williams have won the event twice. Rowan Pennink, Ryan Preece and Christopher’s late uncle Ted Christopher were the other winners of the event. 

“I’ve been doing this for a while, starting in 2015,” Christopher said. “I saw all the great people winning it. It really comes down to a good car. I think at the end Stephen had a better car, but I don’t know, that’s part of short track racing.” 

Christopher went by Todd Owen for the lead off turn two on lap 66. By the time the first cauton of the event flew on lap 91 Dowling was in second and Owen third. Owen went back to second on the ensuing restart. 

On lap 93 Kopcik got by Owen for second and quickly closed on Christopher out front. On lap 97 Kopcik got by Christopher for the lead coming off turn two, but a crash behind them brought out the caution before the lap was completed, resetting the field to the last completed lap for the restart. 

On the ensuing restart Christopher and Kopcik went side-by-side for lap 97 and lap 98. Christopher cleared Kopcik off turn two on lap 99 and Kopcik chased him the rest of the way. 

“We were really good,” Kopcik said. “Nothing to be ashamed about it. … I think we definitely had a car to win. Mike did it too. I think we definitely might have had a little better car than him, but he had the spot when it mattered.” 


  1. wishing for more cautions says

    Kopcik ” he had the spot when it mattered” .. a very gracious second place finisher who chose NOT to wreck the leader for the win.. great drive ! .. Christopher should also be congratulated for not so much blocking but changing his line at the right time the last couple laps after kopcik passed him clean just prior to the caution. bummed about the long green and there was limited passing ..Dodge and Buckler trying to hard to make the race exciting with the commentary.. if the racing is good no commentary is necessary. Matt I think making a conscious effort to not insert his ” bucklerisms” .? once again it might become a habit when someone asks who won ? you can say “Christopher” ! sorry Dowling with the scowl rarely seems satisfied.. Rocco has lost his mojo at Stafford but shouldn’t be too busy fixing wrecked cars but I am sure will be looking to find what is lacking thinks better tech at Stafford than Thompson has him handcuffed until he can take advantage of those grey area`s

  2. Keeping in mind that Dowling has built and drives the 9 tour modified for Ben Dodge, Dodge had an interesting bit of banter during the race that I paraphrase. Chase doesn’t get motivated until you waive a few hundred dollar bills under his nose and then he races very hard or something to that affect. If Dowling isn’t your cup of tea no need to be hard on him he’s hard enough on himself. A tortured soul second guessing himself even in a victory lane chat. Perpetually dissatisfied with anything but a win and even then only momentarily.
    Pre race in a video a number of drivers talked of conserving tires. All except Christopher who said he hadn’t observed much drop off in performance “in 20 laps” due to tire wear and was going to “kill it” all the time. It that’s what he did it paid off. Kopcik was just a tad faster but not fast enough, he said as much sighting track position and fell just short. He had Phil Moran in his pit, I thought it was his night for sure but in the end it just shows how tough it is to win when you’ve got the car but things just don’t fall into place for the win. He conserves tires a little bit less, the caution didn’t come out after he passed Christopher and it’s a difference conversation. The good news is that the 21 is definitely the car to beat this year for the championship. Great victory lane comments by all the podium drivers. The two best cars finished in the front and Dowling got the best finish out of a car that wasn’t much better then the rest.
    Sorry Kyle Rickey was not available for duty but the race call was good. How drivers walking in the stands on their way to sign autographs can be called making magic twice I don’t know but otherwise they did all they could to apprise the audience of all the racing on the track on the long cautionless run and very well at that. Dodge sighting lap speeds and when he was looking at those numbers Buckler would chime right in with events on the track. Good team work.
    I’m a fan of streaming but this sort of race does show it’s limitations. No cautions, the cars spread out and there was a lot of racing and passing but the director can’t get it all. If you’re there you can marvel at Ronnie Williams making a late charge and his struggle to get by Rocco and Narducci. At home all you can do is visualize it by looking a Race Monitor.
    Rocco starts 10th and finishes 10th. His car continuing to be mediocre and if you didn’t know better you’d swear his job was to block for Narducci. Could someone locate Keith Rocco please because whomever that was on the track last night and the last three events for that matter does not resemble the Rocco we’ve come to know.
    I don’t know if it was a good race in the strictest sense but the result was very satisfying in my view.

  3. Who Cares says

    Hey Dug; Who cares ! Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Humpty Dumpty had a great fall all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again

  4. Hey Who Cares, there’s a great perspective to take!

  5. Kopcik might have had Phil Moran in his pit but from what I saw Phil spent a good amount of time in pit stands watching races including the 100 lap

  6. knuckles mahoney says

    New sheriff in town. Big Money Mike.

  7. I do aghree with Doug. Kopcik may be the car to beat, with Christopher a close second.

  8. Jimmy King says

    Are people really hoping for more cautions? What’s next…stage racing? How about not manipulating the race and let it play out like a real auto race? Not a phony “show”.

  9. This is great for the Stafford SK drivers but they do have limitations that reduce the wow factor. First the ridiculously tight window they compete in. Another is no pit stop to change tires. It’s much like the MRS races that can get tedious. Then there is the fact that while there are similar series at other tracks it’s mostly a closed division of Stafford competitors. Invaders just are not part of the calculation for the most part and those that do attempt it are over matched.
    Which brings me to my last point. The 40 laps they run on a weekly basis is as good as it get’s in my book and is terrific on that basis alone. Just look at the results a week ago and Hines with two wins. 40 laps, no screwing around, not strategy just a sprint evert week, You want open modified races watch an open modified race. Oh ya Stafford has them too and they kick butt as well you betcha.
    I don’t think Williams and Rocco are done by any means. However if guys like Christopher, Kopcik, Hines, Narducci and Hodgdon become the new force in the division how is that bad in any way?

  10. Doug, I agree with you about Rocco & Williams. However, with penalties looming after the altercation especially if it involves suspension, the loss of those precious points may be difficult to overcome.

    But who knows, they still have time to turn up the wick and win a few but their championship run may be over.

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