Christopher thought that it was nothing more than a plain and simple racing deal.
“We just touched,” said Christopher. “It doesn’t take much with an open wheeled car. I’m not happy about it either. I don’t like winning that way, but I’ve lost some like that and won some like that.”
Blewett was a little bit less philosophical about the outcome.
“That’s b-----t,” said Blewett. “It was a good race and it’s just a shame that it came down to what it came down to at the end. But hey, what comes around also goes around.
TC WINS, AS BLEWETT FUMES, AT THOMPSON by Mike Twist
Late Race Firworks Decide Mod Tour Race
The two summer blockbusters on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour have been Ted Christopher and John Blewett, III. Those two hard-nose racers had won four of the seven races on the schedule since Memorial Day. Thursday night at Thompson, a fifth victory was added to the tally.
With 10 laps to go, which racer would go to victory lane was the question on the minds of all who were watching. Blewett and Christopher kept swapping the lead with a variety of outside passes, inside passes and crossover moves. With nine to go, the race was decided with Blewett’s #66 planted firmly into the backstretch wall, Christopher losing his only real competition and plenty of booing from the Thompson fans.
When Christopher won the race, the post-race activities were no red carpet walk either. Things got so heated that Connecticut State Troopers actually escorted the winning racecar from victory lane to the paddock tech area for fear of any disgruntled fans or crew members taking out their frustrations by doing more than booing.
“It was a little bit of a controversial deal, but what are you going to do?” said Christopher after things had died down a little bit.
While the first half of the race belonged to veterans Tony Hirschman and Mike Stefanik, there was little doubt that the second act would be decided between Christopher and Blewett. Officially, they only exchanged the lead three times in the final 50 laps, but as the laps clicked down, neither driver was a clear favorite to win over the other.
On lap 141, while exiting turn two, Blewett was in the lead and Christopher was looking to take it away. The two made contact and Blewett spun into the outside retaining wall on the backstretch. His #66 hit hard and suffered major damage. Before walking to the ambulance though, Blewett brushed past the safety workers and into the racing groove. When the field came by under caution, he walked towards Christopher’s car and appeared ready to pounce on its hood before TC drove by him.
Blewett goes after Christopher's #36 on foot (Top) and his #66 needed two wreckers to get pulled off the track. (Bottom). (Jim DuPont Photos)
Ted Christopher (#36) and John Blewett, III (#66) battle for the lead with less than 10 laps to go. The outcome wasn't pretty. (Jim DuPont Photos)
“I raced him clean. We went back and forth for the lead and when it came down to the end, he drove me like a jerk-off. If he wants to drive me like that, then I will drive him like that every time. There’s going to be no more gentlemen when it comes to us.”
In his victory lane interview over the PA system, Christopher suggested that his throttle may have stuck a little bit, causing him to get into Blewett slightly. The fans didn’t buy that explanation based on their booing and Blewett didn’t seem to buy into it either.
“The throttle sticks, the brakes don’t work. I’ve heard all of the excuses,” said Blewett. “There won’t be any excuses when it comes back around. It’s going to be me wrecking him. Period. No excuses. I’ll be a man and say it. When it happens, it’s going to happen and I hope that Eddie Whelan has got plenty of money to build plenty of cars because I’m going to keep Brad LaFontaine plenty busy.”
“He can do whatever he wants,” replied Christopher. “I don’t care. I’m a big boy and so is he.”
Does that mean that Christopher is ready to fight if Blewett issues any form of payback – without a doubt.
“Of course,” said Christopher. “I’ve played that game before.”
Making the victory notable was the fact that in was the first race with Brad LaFontaine as the crew chief for Christopher’s #36 ride. Ironically, LaFontaine left his role as top wrench for John Blewett’s brother Jimmy and the #12 team to make the move.
Christopher and LaFontaine have a history together when it comes to winning races.
“This is the first time with a new crew chief,” said Christopher. “We’ve seemed to have changed them every week. Brad is going to work out well. We’ve won races and championships together a long time ago. I trust Brad. For me, I can’t be the one to drive the car, crew chief the car and make the calls when to pit. This works out perfect. Brad is great on pit road.”
As the Connecticut State Police keep troublemakers from Christopher's car, Blewett's comes into the paddock on the back of a flatbed. (51 Photo)
The two drivers wisely decided not to try and work things out after the race on Thursday night. Christopher did not offer any apologies or explanations directly to Blewett, and Blewett said that any attempt to try and talk it out would not have been welcome anyways.
“There ain’t no talking,” said Blewett. “I don’t even want to talk to him because I’ll punch him in the f-----g mouth. That’s b-----t. If you’re going to be a man then race like a f-----g man. If you want to be a weasel, be a f-----g weasel. When you do, I don’t want to hear nothing about it.”
Despite the drama, Christopher is still quick to point out what the final outcome of the race was.
“It’s still a win,” said Christopher. “It’s unfortunate what happened, but I caught him and stuff. I fell back to third and passed the second place guy, so I was fast.”
Quietly finishing behind Christopher at Thompson were Tony Hirschman, Zach Sylvester, Tom Bolles and Jimmy Blewett. The point race tightened up a little bit after Thompson as well. There are now only 113 points separating the top three in the standings – Mike Stefanik, Hirschman and Christopher.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour now takes a week off to have things cool down a little bit before heading to Martinsville Speedway for the September 2nd race there. Speed51.com will fill the gap between races with our Thompson Leftovers coming up next week.