When Ted Christopher announced his ambitious 2009 schedule, he made his intentions clear: He was gunning for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
The Plainville, Conn., driver captured the 2001 national title and was the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. While busy defending the latter crown, Christopher added a full season of running on a weekly basis at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway to his weekly duties behind the wheel of an SK Modified at his home track of Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
Ambitious scheduling is nothing new to Christopher, who has long had a reputation for racing as often as he can. But while his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season got off to a blistering start, the weekly side was a little more sluggish.
Christopher’s win at Thompson and runner-up finish at Stafford this past weekend ran his streak to six races of finishing either first or second, and helped him move from 17th to sixth in the national standings. When you consider all five drivers have reached 18 starts, and Christopher still has two races to go before he can start dropping his bad finishes, Christopher is a threat to move even higher.
A driver’s top 18 finishes are counted toward U.S. state and Canadian provincial championships and the overall NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title.
Christopher’s Connecticut rival, Keith Rocco, continues to maintain his hold on the top spot.
The Wallingford, Conn., driver wrecked at Thompson but bounced back to beat Christopher at Stafford for his 11th win of the season. He leads the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with 790 points.
Defending champion Philip Morris of Ruckersville, Va., is second with 765. He was third at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Bill Leighton Jr. of Omaha, Neb., was third at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and is third overall with 699 points.
Iowa City’s Andy Eckrich is fourth with 699, and CE Falk, of Charlotte, N.C., is fifth with 618.
Following Christopher in seventh with 578 points is Les Siebert, who races against Leighton at Junction Motor Speedway and Omaha’s I-80 Speedway. Marty Ward collected his series-leading 12th win at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and is eighth with 576.
Nick Joanides, ninth with 576 points, had an open weekend at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). Joanides, who only has 13 races so far this season, continues to lead the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with his 44.1 points per race average. Rocco is second at 43.9.
Jason Romero, racing at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., rounds out the top 10 at 568.
Running twice a week, Christopher has plenty of opportunities before the Sept. 13 deadline for finishes to count toward the championship to make up for the first half of the season.
While Christopher won the first four races he competed in in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, he wasn’t so fortunate in his weekly program. Through the end of May, he had three top fives and four finishes of 10th or worse.
He followed with a sixth at Thompson, and a second and seventh at Stafford.
But since returning to Victory Lane at Thompson on June 25, he has been nearly unstoppable. Christopher has recorded four wins and two seconds, and has moved from 50th to just outside the top five.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion also earns a secure spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in 2010.
Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 23 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 23 cars, the winner receives 46 points, second gets 44 and third 42. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26. Race winners receive an additional five bonus points.
National Top 500 NASCAR Point Leaders
Pos Driver Track Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points
1 Keith Rocco Waterford Speedbowl 25 11 19 20 790
2 Philip Morris Motor Mile Speedway 20 7 15 17 765
3 Bill Leighton, Jr I-80 Speedway 19 5 17 17 699
4 Andy Eckrich Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway 24 4 20 21 640
5 C E Falk, IIII Langley Speedway 17 6 14 15 618
6 Ted Christopher Stafford Motor Speedway 16 5 10 13 579
7 Les Siebert I-80 Speedway 19 0 8 16 578
8 Marty Ward Greenville-Pickens Speedway 16 12 14 14 576
9 Nick Joanides Toyota Speedway At Irwindale 13 9 13 13 573
10 Jason Romero All American Speedway 17 6 11 16 568
11 Andrew Kosiski I-80 Speedway 19 2 8 16 560
12 Mike Wallace I-80 Speedway 19 0 11 16 560
13 Tommy Lemons, Jr Motor Mile Speedway 21 3 7 10 557
14 Matt Buller I-80 Speedway 18 3 8 15 555
15 Nick Smith South Boston Speedway 20 4 9 12 524
16 John Moore All American Speedway 17 2 13 15 524
17 Roger Powell Greenville-Pickens Speedway 16 2 14 16 522
18 Jake Meier Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway 23 1 7 16 521
19 Anthony Anders Greenville-Pickens Speedway 22 1 14 19 503
20 Jacob Gomes--R The New Stockton 99 Speedway 19 2 14 17 500
21 Juan Pitta All American Speedway 18 1 8 17 499
22 Jeff Larson Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway 16 5 10 14 495
23 David Wilson--R Hickory Motor Speedway 25 3 17 22 491
24 Jonathan Mawhinney All American Speedway 17 0 11 16 490
25 Jeff Strunk Grandview Speedway 13 2 8 11 486