For the first time in a long time, two Christophers will be racing in the same division at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT). Ted Christopher, the defending SK Modified champion at Stafford, will be racing against his 15-year-old nephew, Mike, during the 2015 season. Mike Christopher, Jr. informed Speed51.com on Tuesday afternoon of his intentions to race full-time in Stafford’s top division next season.
The younger Christopher is the son of Ted’s brother and former Modified driver, Mike Christopher, Sr. Mike Jr. dominated the Connecticut Legends circuit with more than 20 wins in 2014, as well as two championships at the Waterford Speedbowl (CT). He ran five races in the SK Light (Modifieds) class at Stafford at the end of last season and now he’s wasting no time moving right up to the big leagues.
“My brother and I talked about it a little bit and I think it is better that he does that,” said Ted, a nine-time SK Modified champion at the historic half-mile oval. “He needs to learn how to shift and race with a better caliber of drivers. That’s the toughest place in the Northeast right now. But I think it’ll be good.”
Mike Jr. knows how competitive the SK division at Stafford is. He said his goal for the year is to learn the cars and learn how to race in a bigger field.
“Even just getting a top 10 would be something big to do,” Mike told Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Tuesday afternoon. “There are so many people that could win every week. A top-10 in points is a good, legitimate goal and if I can get on the podium that would be great. That would probably be the highlight of my year.”
Ted agreed that a win probably isn’t a realistic goal for Mike, but then said that just about anything is possible at Stafford.
“If all the stars are lined up right it could be his night,” said Ted. “You don’t know unless you go, right?”
The coolest part, for Mike, is he now gets to do something he’s wanted to do most of his life. He gets to race against his uncle, and one of the greatest to ever drive a Modified, Ted Christopher.
“I’ve been watching my uncle since I was less than a year old at Stafford and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway,” said Mike. “To finally get out there and race with him, or at least try to race with him, it’ll feel great to finally get out there and do it with him.”
So will Mike give his uncle extra room on the track considering he’s family and his uncle is also one of the best ever to race at Stafford?
“It’s the same as when my dad and my uncle used to race,” Mike said. “They were rougher around each other than any person out there. It’s just going to be like any other racer out there.”
What about Ted? Will the famous “Three-Tap Rule” still be used on his nephew?
“I’ll just give him two and send him so then he knows,” Ted said with a laugh. “I won’t even give him three. I didn’t treat my brother any different when I raced against him. You think I’m going to treat his kid any different?
“It’ll probably be different with him. He’s the next one coming and learning so I’ll help him as much as I can. I’m sure I’ll probably give him a break more than I’ll give anybody else a break.”
It might be safe to say that a moment everybody at the track will be excited to see will be the first time Mike and Ted race each other for the win, just to see what might possibly happen and how Ted might react.
“I’d be happier than anything for him,” said Ted.
Can Mike get by his uncle, though? Mike has seen his uncle race for so long that he might be able to use one of Ted’s own moves against him.
“I’ve been watching him for 15 years, so I’ve seen all of his moves,” said Mike. “But I’m sure he’s got more stored. If I get up to him I’ll try to get by him in any way possible, but it’s going to be really good if we finally get up next to each other.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Nick Teto/YankeeRacer.com