Reign King: Mike Christopher Jr. Wins Icebreaker 125 Outlaw Modified Event At Thompson Speedway

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the Icebreaker 125 Saturday at Thompson Speedway. (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – It was a long day at Thompson Speedway for Outlaw Open Modified division driver Mike Christopher Jr., but it was a short pit stop that made that day so good.

Christopher made the most of a quality late pit stop to rocket to the front and win the Icebreaker 125 Open Outlaw Modified feature Saturday at Thompson Speedway.

The race had originally been scheduled for April 2, but was postponed to Saturday due to rain last weekend. The rains followed drivers and crews back to the track Saturday. Most of the afternoon at the track was spent with crews trying to dry the racing surface due to three heavy passing storms that included bouts with lightning and hail.

In the end though it was Christopher, of Wolcott, thundering to the lead past Anthony Nocella on a lap 100 restart and never trailing again on the way to the $10,000 first place purse.

“What won us this race is the guys on pit road,” Christopher said. “I’ve got to thank [car owner Tommy Baldwin Jr.], all the guys that hopped over the wall and changed the tires.”

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass. was second and Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y. third.

McKennedy had the dominant car for most of the event, going by Goodale for the lead on lap 41 and leading until the caution flew on lap 100. By the time the caution flew on lap 100 four cars remained on the lead lap, with Christopher in second, Goodale in third and Nocella in fourth. Bobby Santos III was the first car a lap down at the caution and got the free pass back onto the lead lap.

After the field pitted under caution Nocella was out front with Christopher in second, McKennedy in third, Goodale fourth and Santos fifth.

Christopher made quick work of Nocella on the restart with Goodale following to second place. McKennedy stalked Christopher’s bumper for about 10 laps after the restart before Christopher was able to open up some breathing room over the final 15 laps.

“Man Jon was fast and I’m sure we put on a hell of a show for the fans,” Christopher said. “It came down to the wire there, but at the end I think we were just getting better. It started out a little tight but then it got really really good. … Tommy brings me a great car.”

Said McKennedy: “The guys worked really hard. We had a really good race all race really. Long run speed it was really good. Obviously I didn’t want to see that [caution] at the end. We ended up second. Man, disappointed. I’ve had so many seconds here in the Modified, whether it’s been with [the Modified Racing Series] or the NASCAR [Whelen] Modified Tour, now Open shows. I don’t even know, seven or eight seconds. I’ve won here a few times in a [SuperModified], just haven’t got that win yet in a Modified. But we’re close.”

Nocella ended up fourth and Santos fifth.


  1. They had to stick with it based on economics, the schedule and weather. Thank goodness they did.
    What a terrific show. Accolades to the Limited Sportsman. The others as well but the tour modifieds were outstanding.
    McKennedy whining was worth the PPV price alone and the preview of what is to come for the Sizzler pure gold. The 79 gets one of my two votes for the LCQ Pick Two if we go with it in the Sizzler Pick-em. It’s always something with that team.
    No doubt the local fan base will cheer the Christopher win and he’s a competent driver for sure. The star however is TBR that has been racing from New Smyrna to SMART to Thompson and has been strong everywhere with three different drivers.
    7ny a favorite for the Sizzler. 9ct/Dowling/Dodge the exact opposite of the 9ct not racing anywhere.
    Until the Sizzler. That could be a problem.

  2. Congratulation Mike and the 7NY crew if you want to win a Thompson you have to beat a Christopher !

  3. Man I wanted McKennedy to win that race. Why can’t they just finish 1st lol. Fun race to watch-surprised to see all the engine failures. Funny seeing Rocco sandbag until McKennedy came up to lap him and Rocco sped up. Then, Rocco got sandwich and wrecked by that other lap car. Just feels like Karma for Rocco after his “spin and win” of the 300.

  4. Well, I am pleased to see the 7NY running very well, and not just finishing races, but finishing as a contender. Good to see this car finally stop the chronic DNF’ing and poor performances.

  5. Fast Eddie says

    First time that I know of there was actually ice at the Icebreaker, as in the last rain storm with hail added in. I thought McKennedy was going to finally get one. I wouldn’t call his comments whining, I’d call it frustration with the streak of all the 2nd’s continuing. Considering all the weather issues it was a good race once they finally got going. Most laps run were won by the track crew trying to dry the place out. They did a great job under the circumstances. Fortunately when the rain stopped the sun came out and it was pretty breezy. Surprised ACT & PASS don’t team up to buy a blower for iffy weather.

  6. Fair enough. McKennedy deserves more respect then whiny implies. Let’s say plaintive. Did it at the 300 and did it yesterday. My view no one wants to hear why you didn’t do what you think you should have done. Suck it up, rattle off a few racing platitudes, congratulate the winner then try do what you think you should have done.
    Was just thinking. If someone held your feet to the fire could you say who the best 5 modified drivers are now? Full time, excluding pop ins like Preece, Santos, McLaughlin et. al. I doubt McKennedy would make the top 5 would he? He’s the supers guy but in modifieds he’s more name then success at least in the last few years. Mike Christopher has had more success in the 7ny then McKennedy.
    TBR has another 7ny down at the Franklin County SMART race. Worst finish for the team this year in 16th but more of a speed bump then competitive issue. Boy that track out in Hooterville is made for two groove racing with the modifieds.
    Bowman Gray on FloRacing. Oh yah can this get much better for a modified racing fan as the southern wing of the series gets more exposure. It’s like we’re one family now.
    So what’s the deal with The Roc. Last year he was a mess at times in the SK’s at Stafford. Usually dominates in the SK’s at Thompson but that didn’t happen this year. Issues in the heat in the Icebreaker. The 300 win pretty epic but the circumstances not exactly demonstrating dominance. Gotta keep an eye on him this year. Maybe spread too thin with all the KRR cars he’s responsible for and no more John Rufrano supporting his efforts. Hip operation, the Stafford sucker punch and suspension, family with growing children and getting older. Not saying he’s flaming out but sometimes life catches up with you.
    One of the cars in the KRR shop is Meg Fuller’s. At one time an up and comer with the Fuller name you have to ask how many times can she start near the front and fade. Her last year in the Streets with all that success she had unlimited expectations before her first modified race. Dad wasn’t buying it and it turns out he was right. Winning is hard. I wish the Fuller clan would consider dropping back down to Streets of even the LLM’s at Stafford if the fading continues. In the end it’s about fun and fading isn’t fun.
    Except for one of the first citizens of the RaceDayCt forum the live attendance at the IceBreaker was a complete bust. There is no reason it shouldn’t of been. Thank goodness for the PPV that now provides a revenue stream where none previously existed.

  7. Too bad the weather was horrible- for everyone involved. 5 cars on the lead lap… not a very competitive field

  8. Let’s cross our fingers the august and world series races go well with the tour here and the icebreaker ends up as a tour race again next year.

  9. Fast, it snowed at a World Series during the pace/opening laps several years ago.

    Crazy. It was cold and windy.

  10. Philly010 says

    Doug… you feeling ok? You sound like idiot and clearly are not a Mckennedy fan. Don’t discredit what he has done in racing and start saying Christioher has done a better job. Comparing success in open Shows to whelen modified events is not even fair argument. Let’s not forget Mckennedy did win 4 races with TBR and multiple 2nd place finishes and pole awards. I do know he has multiple championships in tour type mods , isma supers and many …. Wins through out east coast. Little more success then a few sk and open show wins that happen to be at his home tracks. NO? Let’s .. get serious Doug 😁

  11. Lapped Traffic says

    Was McKennedy whining? I thought he took in stride, tough break! “Doug says” seems to be whining more than JM, just saying, he has a legit gripe with Rocco in the 300, it was a I’m not getting my own way move” IMO. Looking forward to a fun year of racing!

  12. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, thanks for the “first citizens” comment. Glad Mother Nature finally gave up!
    I’d still have McKennedy in my top 5 due to his MRS and TriTrack success despite that being a little dated. True with the interviews though easy to forget there were a bunch of other cars that would have been happy to be in that 2nd place.
    Steve, like many long races I’ve seen, you end up seeing the field break into 3 groups, each with their own battles for position. Always fun watching the A group try and get by some B or C cars that are also in the middle of their own battle for position.

  13. Fast Eddie says

    Dareal, yes I was there! My first racing video in a snowstorm! And the sun was out at the same time!

  14. Fast Eddie says

    Probebly the weirdest thing during the race was to see both Casella #25’s drop out with mechanical issues within a few laps of each other. Very rare to see that team with problems.

  15. Whining, no just frustration for McKennedy.

  16. Jon McKennedy career highlights:

    – NWMT -competed in 77 races 2006-2022. 1 win in 2018, 17 top 5’s and 4 poles. With TBR since 2018, 42 races with just the one win.
    -Stafford non NWMT tour mod events-4 wins in Stafford events. 2012 and 2016 in the MRS. Two wins in 2017 in the now defunct MTS series. MRS championships for McKennedy but a long time ago.
    -Tri Track-2020-one race came in 11th. Two with the 79 team in 2021 with one win. Otherwise not active very much in TTOMS events in the last few years.
    -New Smyrna-only win I could find was in 2018 his first year with TBR.
    -Thompson non NWMT tour mod events- no wins and just one top 5 in 2021 and the 2nd last Saturday.

    Can we at least agree that driver success is primarily based on wins? If that’s the case Christopher has the win last Saturday for TBR plus a win last year in a Stafford open in the 7ny. In the same time frame McKennedy has one Tri Track win in two races last year in the 79. Last year no wins in 13 tries for TBR in NWMT races and just one top 5 in 6 Thompson opens in the 79. All I said was Christopher has been more productive for TBR so if you add up the two wins in just over a season in the car plus the third in the NWMT opener at New Smyrna I do believe it’s pretty evident Michael has been more productive.

    Go ahead root for anyone you like that’s what the sport is all about. If you want to include McKennedy dominating Super events go ahead. Does his Super Modified success with him absolutely smoking everyone else bleed into opinions on him as a tour modified driver I think so. For the purposes of comparing tour modified drivers it’s irrelevant in my view.
    So where’s the beef with McKennedy lately, what did I miss?
    My top 5 modified drivers in no particular order based on success in the last three years would be Bonsignor, Coby, Hirschman, Silk and Dowling. So who do you bump to get McKennedy in that group and more importantly based on what?
    Rocco, Ronnie Williams and even a part time Preece have more tour modified wins then McKennedy in the last three years near as I can figure.
    Is it possible McKennedy is a terrific sprinter but perhaps not such a good long race tactician? Is I possible Christopher who is an OK SK sprinter in my view may actually hit his stride in the longer tour mod events where patience, race awareness and being smooth play to his strengths?

  17. Lapped Traffic says

    Funny how some assume the 7ny is better off with MC driving than Jon M. new cars and a new setup may help with MC’s success, don’t get me wrong he’s a good up and coming Mod driver, but JM is better hands down. It’s a different 7ny than Jon drove let’s just say that!

  18. What Lapped Traffic said…

    Sadly, the 7NY of today is not the 7NY that Jon M. was driving. The 7NY is putting out much better cars lately, and it’s about time.

  19. Doug do you watch races ? If you ever watch Mckennedy he’s probably one of the best at long distance races! Ya maybe his stats in whelen tour are not that impressive but he always seems to be hunt and contending for wins . Can’t control mechanical issues and numerous shit luck they seem to have the last 2 years. Can’t tell you how many times he been class of the field hands down. I have witnessed handful circumstances with pit Strategy or just bad luck that took him out of few wins lately . The kid arguable should of won 300 last year and if it wasn’t for yellow Saturday he wins by straight away. Most these guys your mentioning there whole career has been modifieds and have raced lot more tour type races then Mckennedy last few years . Ever see his isma supermodied accomplishments? Multiple time classic wins “long distance “ against some of the best open wheel guys around . 90 % of the modified guys don’t even have balls to strap into a 1000 horse power machine. The great drivers can drive anything and adopt to all racetracks. John racing accomplishments over the years speak for him self. Get off your high horse and stop knocking the kid.

  20. I think Jon is a great wheelman(as I have said so many times on this site). But, Mike Christopher Jr is too! To say that they stepped up there game is a problem. A good driver, Jimmy Blewett didn’t win a race at New Smyrna, but won overall. So he didn’t have a car that was capable of winning? Or did he just go up against some buzz saws that MCJR didn’t go up against? Jon is a great driver that I totally respect. But to disregard Mike in this way is a total slap in the face. McKennedy had 20+ laps to get by. He didn’t. And to say that car doesn’t have money behind it, is a disservice. Probably the best prepared car there. Doug, please don’t respond about Matt Hirshman in Florida.

  21. I get it now. You boys want asterisks in the tour mod record books. Like right under that 1 win in 77 NWMT events that might read something like this:

    * “his stats in whelen tour are not that impressive but he always seems to be hunt and contending for wins” or……….
    * ”Most these guys your mentioning there whole career has been modifieds and have raced lot more tour type races then Mckennedy last few years “ so a McKennedy win is really like 3 for other drivers. or……….
    * McKennedy drove for TBR 4 years without that many wins but since changing drivers “The 7NY is putting out much better cars lately” or……
    * he would have one more but “ Can’t control mechanical issues and numerous shit luck they seem to have the last 2 years.” Or…………..
    * Tour modified win records aren’t that important. “90 % of the modified guys don’t even have balls to strap into a 1000 horse power machine” or………
    * The wins don’t reflect it but “Can’t tell you how many times he been class of the field hands down”

    I think I know what you boys want. You want to see eye popping stats that I know you’d be digging out if you had the time. Luckily I do and love you guys so take a gander at what real domination looks like.

    1921-Four races entered, Star,Claremont, Monadnock & Seekonk, 4 races won.
    1920-3 races entered, Thompson, Star & Lee, 3 races won.
    1919-4 races entered, won 2 at Thompson & Lee.

    That’s a 78% win record over 3 years in ISMA the elite Super Modified series and 100% over two years. That’s the guy you’re talking about not the tour mod driver. Hey doesn’t that look a little Hirschmanesque. You know picking selective events, conveniently located and winning the heck out of them. So what do you think, hows “Money McK” sound?

    We all have our favorite forms of racing and they don’t have to be the best. Let’s face it if we were to only care about the best, most popular form of short track racing we’d all be dirt fans. That said the whole Super Modified mystique escapes me. In the races McKennedy entered in 2021 there were an average of 13 cars entered. The average cars on the lead lap at the finish 4.75. McKennedy’s average margin of victory 2.03 seconds which for those that don’t know Supers is a lot of real estate.

    The whole push start deal, huge intervals, anemic field of cars just says dying racing series to me perhaps the new series can change that. Sure they go like a bat out of hell but there’s not much real competition and if I wanted to be wowed I’d go see monster trucks like Graaaaaaave Digger!!!

    Take’s big danglers you say to race Supers. If you say so but for me it’s 30 tour mods on a tiny track like Riverhead without the advantage of those huge intervals that always seem to materialize in the blink of an eye in the Supers.

    In the end there are no asterisk’s that can compensate for the lack of wins in a given series nor is there a shoulda-woulda-coulda category in the record books. In 2017 Preece would likely have won the NWMT championship were he not to have missed two races. Dowling perhaps could have won the championship in 2018 if he had won more then one race and McKennedy could have in 2020 if he’d won any that year. But none of that makes any difference with the record books showing Coby, Bonsignor and Coby as the champions in those years.

    My view McKennedy fans ten to jump the queue in terms of tour mod gravitas for two reasons. The eye popping Super Modified record and driving for the iconic TBR 7ny team.

    THE Tommy Baldwin was the decider for Jon in the past but now that person is Jon who is calling the shots for the 79 team that most would agree has a very high ceiling. I like many of you wish him the best. However at this stage of tour mod history McK falls into the Emerling, Nocella, Lutz, Goodale class in my view. Not top 5 but darned good company.

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