July 15, 2013

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Wolcott's Mike Christopher Jr. gets his start

By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press

 

When your uncle is a NASCAR national champion and your father is a three time champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway and still ranks fourth on the all time win list with 28 despite not racing the last 10 years, well you know that young Mike Christopher, Jr of Wolcott can’t fall far from the family racing tree.

Christopher, who is just 14, has been racing the last several years but this year moved into the Legends car series and is running full time at the Waterford Speedway every Wednesday night and some Saturday nights.

For Mike, Sr. seeing his son racing brings a smile to the fathers face. “I am glad to see him enjoying it. First he was learning (legends) and now I think he’s ahead of me.” Mike said laughing that the driver is ahead of the crew chief. “But I have a good idea of what I am doing now.”

Mike Jr. starting in racing at the urging of his mother, Jen. Racing is usually a male dominated sport and even when the father raced, the mother was dead set against it.

“My wife is the one who got hin into the go-karts, he liked it and actually got pretty good at it.” Mike said but after a few years in that series, he knew it was time to move up.

“Week after week, your running against the same kids and your not learning. Running in the Legend cars series, you’re running not only against kids but adults too.”

Better competition is the only way to improve regardless of what sport it is.

Mike said that he enjoys the Legends cars and is learning a lot everyweek and although his father, Mike, is a championship driver, he was to young to watch him but he still sees his fathers idential twin, Ted, continuing to win and carry on the Christopher name.

“I enjoy working with my dad. He is teaching me a lot at the track every week. Where to run on the track, stuff like that.” Mike Jr. said.

The legends car aren’t slow either, according to Mike they can get up to speeds over 85 MPH at the Waterford Speedway, a one-third mile oval on the Connecticut oval.

When asked if his uncle has given him any advise, he said not really and it’s not because of he doesn’t want to see his nephew succeed, its just that they aren’t at the same track at the same time.

“A couple weeks ago, at Waterford, that was the first time we have been at the same track at the same time.” Junior said.

Younger Mike would like to do a little traveling and that is something the father is in full agreement with.

“Maybe at the end of the year, we’ll go to Seekonk Speedway, Bethel Speedway in New York as well as Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. He most likely will go to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and run the road course there.” Father Mike said.

“I’d also like to try and run the nationals.” Mike Junior said.

When asked if any of his school friends know of his fast life style, Mike said some do but they really don’t get it.

“I have some friends that race but most of my friends don’t understand it and don’t get it.” Junior said chuckling.
While M.C. Jr. has yet to get to victory lane he is hoping that his hard work along with his father hard work and teaching techniques will pay off shortly.

“I am hoping, who knows, it could be next week.”

While his father and uncle have raced the 500 HP NASCAR modified tour and the SK division in and around New England, I asked young Mike if he is looking to move up to the fast and more expensive modified, SK or SK Light division and he said he can’t wait.

According to Mike, Sr., the Legends car series is pretty inexpensive to run weekly….if you don’t wreck.

“Basically you just add gas and get tires every couple of months. You could run the whole year for about $4,000 with tires but again that’s without wrecking. One wreck can cost about $500.00 to repair.”

So while M.C. Jr. is looking at the next level, Mike, Sr. is up in the air.

“I would like to but it’s so expensive.” That is something he knows first hand from his own days of building his cars and engines to keep his racing cost down.

“I think the next step would be either a SK or SK Light and maybe even a modified. Right now, the modified tour isn’t drawing full fields and it cost just as much to repair a SK modified or a modified tour car but the payout is better with the tour.”

But regardless of what happens, it seems to be that another Christopher will soon be racing at tracks like Stafford, Thompson and Waterford, just like his father and uncle before him but at just 14 he’s still learning.

TV TIME FOR MODIFIED TOUR
There is good news for the fans of the NASCAR Whelen modified tour as four of the remaining nine races will be shown on TV with three events of the races shown live.

Saturday was the New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 1p.m. Effective August 17th, Fox Sports will rebrand Speed Channel into Fox Sports One and the Fuel TV into Fox Sports Two.

The modified tours next live event will be Wednesday night August 21st at 6 p.m. from the Bristol Motor Speedway on Fox Sports two.

On Saturday, September 21 at noon, also on Fox Sports Two, the modifieds return to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for another 100 lap race.

The final event of the year will be taped on October 20th from the Thompson International speedway and will be shown on Sunday, November 3rd on Fox Sports One.

 

Brian Danko has been covering Auto Racing for over 30 years for various magazines & and racing papers including Area Auto Racing News. His weekly column can be seen "In The Print Editions" of  The New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.

 

Copyright © 2012-2013  Brian Danko & SpeedwayLineReport.com, New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.