Michael Christopher, Jr. Ready for NAPA Spring Sizzler Double Duty

With modified teams gearing up for the April 27-28 NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford Speedway, Michael Christopher, Jr. is getting himself prepared for double duty as he will be driving the #00 Jimmy Paige Plumbing & Heating Open Modified car for Jimmy Paige as well as his family owned #82 New England Turf / P.T. Watts / Eastport Feeds SK Modified® car.  Christopher ran 2 races with the Paige team last season at Waterford and the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford.  Christopher is looking forward to the Sizzler® and feels like he’ll have what he needs to be a contender for the win in the #00 car.

“I’m excited about the race,” said Christopher.  “Jimmy and Steve Lemay, the crew chief, want to do everything in their power to have good finishes and get some wins.  We’ve been building in the two races that we ran together at Waterford and Stafford last season making the car faster and I have no doubt that they’ll put the time, effort, and money into making sure that we make the car faster and we can compete for wins.  I think we have a lot to build on so I’m looking forward to going racing with those guys.”

Christopher is driving the same #00 car that his late Uncle Ted drove several times for Jimmy Paige.  That is a special connection for Christopher and he is hoping that he can deliver the biggest win of his career for both himself as well as Jimmy Paige and all the crew members on the #00 team.

“It’s pretty cool driving the car,” said Christopher.  “Those guys share stories with me about when Teddy drove the car and there’s history there so it’s something extra.  Winning in a car that Teddy once drove is one thing that you think about but more importantly, it’s the Sizzler® and it’s a big deal.  Winning would be big for Jimmy and all his guys also, they’ve been racing for decades and a Sizzler® win would be huge for them.”

The path to NAPA Victory Lane will be a tough road to follow as the Sizzler® entry list is filled with former winners and champions in the modified ranks.

“It’s always tough to win at Stafford,” said Christopher.  “It’s looking like we’re going to have the same kind of field as the Fall Final and the Sizzler® last year with Ronnie Silk having a dominant car and obviously Matt Hirschman has a dominant car and team.  Those guys seem to be on a different level than everyone else.  Just looking back at GoPro footage of Ronnie from last year at Stafford you can see just how easy he drove the race which surprised me watching it back.  The competition level at Stafford is a very high bar but the double-zero guys have shown they can run up front at Stafford and I think I know the track pretty well.  I think the most important thing for us will be to be strong right from the beginning so we need to have a strong heat race and finish up front in our Duel race so we can be in the top-6 or top-8 for the start of the race.  You definitely don’t want to get behind the 8-ball at the start of the race because all those other guys are going to be on it.  I think if we can unload fast and have a quick package right out of the truck, I think we can have a top-5 finish.”

Christopher will also be eager to get his SK Modified® season kicked off on a positive note.  Last season saw Christopher struggle with the #82 car for much of the year, but the final 4 races plus the TC 13 Shoot Out saw Christopher post four top-5 finishes, including his second win of the year, and an eighth place finish.  Christopher was feeling so good about his car at the end of the season that he and his team did minimal work on the car during the winter and are looking to pick back up right where they left off at the end of 2023.

“The SK is ready to go, we just have to put it on the scale,” said Christopher.  “We spent a good amount of time this winter organizing things after we moved shops and we had good speed in the car at the end of last year so we didn’t really change anything.  We refreshed the engine and we went through the driveline and rear end and things like that but other than that, we didn’t change anything.  I normally go through the body and make a new body but I didn’t even do that.  I have confidence we’ll be fine come the Spring Sizzler® and that’s a race that I have to personally check off on my list of big races to win in the SK Modified® division.”

The 52nd Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® is set for Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28.  Saturday, April 27th and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®.  Stafford’s Late Model, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program with qualifying and feature racing.

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Sunday, April 28th will play host to the $20,000 to win 52nd NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®.  Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified® and SK Light Modified divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the NAPA Spring Sizzler®. 

For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Stafford Speedway PR