Long Awaited: Mike Christopher Jr. Tops Casella Waste Open Modified 80 At Stafford 

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the Casella Waste Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

It was the race that seemed like Mother Nature didn’t want happening. 

The Casella Waste Open Modified 80 took the green flag to start on June 7. The race was stopped after five laps due to rain. The first attempt to at a makeup on June 14 also ended up a victim of rain. 

Friday the hopes of finally getting the event looked dim, especially after monsoon rains hit the track early in the evening. 

But the race finally found its way to checkered flag Friday. 

Mike Christopher ran away over the closing stages to win the Casella Waste Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford. 

It was Christopher’s second Open Modified win at Stafford and first since May 14, 2021. 

“Great car,” Christopher said. “Really just thankful to be in it. [Car owner] Jimmy Paige gave me the opportunity to hop in this car. We’ve had a lot of rainouts this year, not only here but at Thompson too. Haven’t had the chance to really get a race in. … Glad to have everyone here. Thanks to the whole crew.” 

Christopher, of Wolcott, went by Woody Pitkat for the lead on lap 26 and never trailed again. 

“I knew from the beginning, even when we were racing with [Pitkat] when he was out front that I could stay right with him, I could back up, I could get back to him,” Christopher said. “It was just making that pass. [My team] did a great job on the [pit] stop. The car came out even better than what it was before. At the end, those restarts, you hate having restarts in the lead at the end of a race, but we hit our shifts and the thing was just dominant.” 

George Bessette Jr. of Danbury was second and Ronnie Williams of Tolland third. 

“First half of the race I didn’t even know if we even had a chance,” Bessette said. “We fought loose pretty much all day. I just tried to keep my nose clean and tried to save the tires as much as I could. … My guys did a great job on the pit stop. We made a couple adjustments and here we are.” 

Said Williams: “I’m not sure how we ended up here. Credit to [my team]. They brought me a fast race car, especially at the end there.” 

The race restarted on lap six with Pitkat continuing to hold the top spot. 

On lap 26 Christopher got by Pitkat to become the second leader of the event. Caution flew on lap 58 with Christopher leading, Teddy Hodgdon in second, Pitkat in third and Dana DiMatteo in fourth. 

Under caution all the cars went to pit road for a controlled pit stop (no changes to the running order). By lap 67 Christopher was checking out from the field and the action was behind him. Marcello Rufrano recovered from a spin and rocketed back through the field, moving to second on lap 67. Caution flew on lap 76 for the spinning car of Nick Halkowicz. 

On the restart it was Christopher holding the top spot, but Rufrano was slow at the green flag, allowing Bessette to move to second. Williams was able to get by Hodgdon for third on the final lap. 


  1. chevelledude says

    He Pretty Much Looked Unbeatable!! But I Dig It!

  2. Henry Lecomte says

    What can you say The Christopher name speaks for it’s self

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