Continuing to build on a now race-winning relationship, as of last October at Thompson Speedway (CT), with car owner Tommy Baldwin Jr., Christopher heads to the inaugural Northeast Classic at Loudon, NH where a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win Open Modified event awaits many willing participants from across the region.
While Ted Christopher earned 10 wins at NHMS in both NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Busch North Series competition, eternally tied with Mike Stefanik, Mike Christopher Sr. was never quite able to find his way to victory lane. Now, Mike Jr. is eagerly taking up the challenge to get win number 11 for the family.
“I’ve been going up there since I was in a stroller, I grew up watching races up there with Ted and even my dad racing up there in the Mystique car when they finished one-two. The Christopher name is synonymous with New Hampshire.” – Mike Christopher, Jr.
Coincidentally, even the most experienced drivers will also be in for a new challenge presented in the rules package for the Northeast Classic: the elimination of a restrictor plates and a new gear rule to compensate. Not since the early days of the 1990’s have Modifieds raced without the carburetor restrictor plates.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot faster down the straightaways obviously; but lap time wise, I don’t think it’s going to be drastically different since we’ll be a bit slower on corner entry. It might be a different factor of the draft on the straightaways; but to be honest, I know nothing about the draft except for all the races I’ve watched there.”
Another rule change for the weekend: a new tire which will wear out less compared to past tires at any other Modified event.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do for everybody else. I’ve also heard that the tire is going be different compared to anything else,” Christopher said. “I just know it’s nothing we usually run on the SK’s, the (NASCAR Whelen Modified) Tour, or any of the open races. Open races, those tires run out pretty quick. They’re fast and go away before too long. I’ll be asking around about that, it could be a factor. Everyone at these open races are trying to make these tires last and trying to play that strategy. A lot of learning to do and I’m up for it.”
Christopher believes that the full day of practice before race day will be just as suspenseful, at least for the race teams.
“That practice day is going to be about learning the basics and some other things too. Where I should work the draft, everything. It’s such a big factor with the Modifieds at that racetrack, it makes or breaks wins.”
As for Mike Jr’s chances at victory, he weighed in on all the factors and his odds.
“If I figure out the draft, somewhat decently; and if I’m up front racing for the win then our chances are high. With what Tommy brings, good equipment and fast racecars, along with his experience there, it comes down to the driver at that point. You also got timing, luck, and all of those other things that are involved in a race. If I take good notes, get in position late, and play my cards right then chances of winning are 50/50.”
Regardless, it is still exciting times for the up and coming Connecticut driver, who along with the No. 7NY Tommy Baldwin Racing team, are going to be working hard to do good off the track as well.
“Tommy has been working really hard this offseason to get sponsorship dollars for this car and it finally all came together, I can’t thank him enough. Also thank PinkTie.org, it’s a charity foundation that we’re looking to do work for the companies, the organizations that they help out. Paying off lap money, raising awareness for all these great charities they help out. One of them is Angela’s House,” Said Christopher.
“It’s a cool deal we’re putting together, auctioning off laps to investors who want to give to their charity of choice. It’s going to be a cool deal, it’s not quite all together yet, but we’re looking forward to getting that moving forward.”
Race fans unable to make it to New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be able to watch the race live on Speed51.TV. Order a pay-per-view ticket today for $29.99 to catch all of the action.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51