Ted Christopher Looks To Add to Stafford Legacy From NASCAR PR
100-Time Stafford Winner Eyes Friday's Mod Tour Race
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will reach the midway point of the 2008 season when it makes a stop at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway for the New England Dodge Dealers 150 on Friday, Aug. 8.
Perhaps no driver in the series looks forward to returning to the historic half-mile more than Ted Christopher. A longtime veteran of racing in the northeast, Christopher has won so many races at Stafford that the track ownership has named part of the facility in his honor.
Already the winningest driver in the track’s extensive history, Christopher reached the century mark in total wins at Stafford on June 13. His historic win came in the SK Modified Division, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. For reaching the milestone, the Arute family renamed Section A of the main grandstand after Christopher.
Of those 100 wins for Christopher at Stafford, eight have come in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, including the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler on April 27. Since his milestone SK victory on June 13, Christopher added another win in the division on Aug. 1. A win in the New England Dodge Dealers 150 would not only give him 102 total at Stafford, but would mark the 29th of his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour career. Christopher’s next tour win would put him in sole possession of fifth place on the series’ all-time wins list.
"I can’t explain why, but for some reason I’ve adjusted well to that track," Christopher said. "Fortunately for me, I’ve been lucky enough to win a lot of races there."
Christopher is also the defending winner of this race, having captured the checkered flag in the 2007 New England Dodge Dealers 150. He led 91 laps in the race and beat Todd Szegedy to the finish line by nearly half a second.
Although Christopher has outdistanced himself from any other driver in track history in terms of total wins, Mike Stefanik is the all-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins leader at Stafford. His 19 victories at the track are 10 more than the next driver on the list, and his most recent
series victory came there in last year’s Fall Final. With four top-five finishes in seven starts this year, Stefanik should be a contender when the green flag drops Friday night.
Jimmy Blewett, winner of last Saturday’s race at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, will also enter the New England Dodge Dealers 150 as a contender for the checkered flag. After a slow start to 2008, he has earned top-fives the last two times out. Despite finishes of 23 and 31 in the first two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Stafford this year, he has four top-fives in nine SK Modified starts at the track.
"I’ve been able to get some laps there in the weekly races, which I enjoy," Blewett said. "I look forward to going back there [for an NWMT race]. We had some strong cars there at the beginning of the year, we just had no luck at the end of the race."
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will hit the Stafford oval Friday afternoon for a practice session from 2-3:30 p.m. Time trials are set for 5:30 p.m., and the race is slated to go green at 9:15 p.m.
The Race: New England Dodge Dealers 150
The Place: Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, Aug. 8
The Time: 9:15 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 0.5-mile oval
Race Purse: $89,010
2007 Winner: Ted Christopher
2007 Pole: Tony Hirschman
Schedule: Friday, Aug. 8, Practice: 2-3:30 p.m., Qualifying: 5:30 p.m.
Ted Christopher knows a few things about winning at Stafford. Here is is shown celebrating his Spring Sizzler Mod Tour victory. (Jim Dupont Photo)