TC SPEAKS OUT ABOUT STAFFORD SK SUSPENSION by Mike Twist
Christopher Will Be Back This Week After Sitting One Out
Whether you love him or hate him, you can always count on Ted Christopher being in the eye of whatever storm might surface in Modified racing, even if it’s something that occurs when he is spending time away from his primary duties of racing on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Christopher is also a regular competitor in the SK Modified ranks. He has called Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) home in recent seasons and has been a fixture there on Friday nights throughout the racing season. Last year, he won the Stafford track championship. This year, he has also been making occasional starts at nearby Thompson International Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl in pursuit in a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series National or Divisional championship.
After the race, Batova approached Christopher in the pit area and that is where things turn a turn for the worse.
“He came over to my pit and my car,” said Christopher. “I was by myself. My guys were still in the infield. He got there before my guys were back and almost before I was even out of the car. I was busy getting ready to go over to the Busch North car. I wasn’t looking to start anything. But. if somebody starts yelling in my face, I’m not going to back down. I’m not like that.”
TC has been leading the points this year at Stafford in the SK ranks, but he missed Friday night’s event at Stafford. It wasn’t due to a mechanical problem or scheduling conflict. It was because of a suspension from track officials for “Unsportsmanlike like conduct, fighting in the paddock area after the 06-17-05 SK Modified® feature event.”
The penalty stems from an altercation between Christopher and Stash Butova, crew chief for the #91 car of Frank Ruocco. TC and Ruocco played bumper tag in the feature race. Depending on who you believe, Ruocco either banged on Christopher’s bumper for several laps or Christopher brake checked his rival repeatedly. After several occurrences of contact, both cars spun into the turn two wall.
There was some physical contact between the two, but Christopher doesn’t think that he came anywhere close to giving Butova his best shot. He questions the track even using the word “fight” to describe what happened.
“I don’t consider it to be a fight,” said Christopher. “A fight is usually between two people and everyone [who saw the incident] said that there were no punches thrown. I mean I grabbed the guy and his shirt got ripped off. That constitutes a fight in [Promoter] Mark Arute’s eyes?”
Christopher still leads the point standings at Stafford by 20 markers after taking the week off and he’ll be back in action this Friday night in his #13 SK.
TC is no stranger to winning in the SK ranks at Stafford.
In fact, a strange situation could occur for Christopher. He could possibly be a NASCAR National champion without a track championship at his home track of Stafford.
After his penalty, Christopher seems to relish that possibility.
“That would burn their ass huh?,” said Christopher.
Christopher will have two chances to wheel his SK Modified this weekend at Stafford. The track hosts a regular Friday night racing card as well as a make-up race on Sunday featuring the regular divisions along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Christopher doesn’t really seem to mind though. His eye is on the big prize of the NASCAR National and divisional Short Track crowns, which he can compete for by running Thompson and Waterford.
“I don’t know, but that’s [the Stafford track championship] not really my focus,” said Christopher. “I’m after every race I got to now because the [NASCAR] divisional and national points count after every race I go to. I don’t have to be leading their lousy points at the end of the year to win a divisional. They would look good because I drove there, but I could claim Waterford or Thompson as my home track. Every race that I run is a race towards my division.”
The altercation attracted plenty of interest in the Stafford pit area. (51 Photo)
The incident in the pits goes back to one on the track. TC's #13 sits against the wall after contact with Ruocco. Both sides blamed the other for why the accident happened. (51 Photo)
“We’ll be back,” Christopher vowed, quieting any rumors that he might flee from weekly competition at the facility.
The missed race could have a big impact on his title hopes though. Later this summer, TC will probably miss a Friday night at Stafford as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifies for an event at Martinsville Speedway. Being two places at once is pretty impossible and although TC could maybe miss one race and still contend for the title, missing two and still winning it would be a tall order.