Ted Christopher continued to add to his legend at Stafford Motor Speedway as he took the checkered flag in the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler presented by CARQUEST for the third year in a row, and a record fifth time in his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour career.
Christopher, from Plainville, Conn., had a top-five car all day and was able to wrestle the lead from Jimmy Blewett on Lap 146. From the front Christopher had to hold on through four cautions and a green-white-checker attempt to earn his 35th career Whelen Modified Tour win.
After Christopher and the leaders had taken the white flag, a multi-car accident ensued on the frontstretch that consumed Blewett and others, and Christopher came around to take the yellow-checkered in yet another Spring Sizzler triumph.
The 51-year-old Christopher entered the race tied with Mike Stefanik for the most Whelen Modified Tour victories in Stafford’s premier event with four (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009). He also possess a Spring Sizzler win in the SK Modified division from 1988.
The winningest driver in the history of Stafford Motor Speedway with more than 100 triumphs across all divisions and series, Christopher registered his 10th career Whelen Modified Tour win at the historic half mile. He is also now tied with Tony Hirschman for third place on the Tour’s all-time wins list at 35, nine behind Reggie Ruggiero.
Christopher qualified sixth and redrew ninth on April 24, the day before the race was scheduled to run originally. When raceday was rained out and the event was postponed, Christopher and the No. 36 Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet team arrived on May 1 ready to contend for a third-consecutive Spring Sizzler victory.
Christopher was fastest in final practice on Saturday, ran in the top five in the early stages, and overcame a bad pit stop to get in position to challenge for the lead. Once he was able to get past Blewett on Lap 146, Christopher had a car fast enough to pull away from Blewett and third-place Bobby Santos, but cautions through the last quarter of the race continued to pull the field back together.
With a lead of nearly two seconds for Christopher, the caution came out for Doug Coby’s spin on Lap 182. Christopher just edged Blewett on the restart, and then with a half-second lead as the race was winding down, another caution on Lap 196 for the stalled car of Joe Hartmann that set up the green-white-checker scenario. Christopher was able to get clear of Blewett on Lap 199 to take the white flag.
Christopher was followed across the line by Santos, the Coors Light Pole Award winner who led the first 54 laps of the race before he was spun by lap traffic. At the time of the incident he blended into the field 22nd, but came out of the round of pit stops 14th. Santos was able to move his way back up for a runner-up finish to preserve the points lead he brought into the race by virtue of a win in the season opener.
Stefanik, Rowan Pennink and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five finishers while James Civali, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Berndt, Erick Rudolph and Justin Bonsignore closed out the top 10. Berndt tied his previous career-best finish and it marked the third top-10 in four career starts for Bonsignore, who took home Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors.
The race featured 10 lead changes among nine drivers. Coby led the most laps with 60.
The third race of the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will also take place at Stafford. The TSI Harley-Davidson 125 is scheduled for Friday, May 28.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Tech-Net Spring Sizzler pres. by CARQUEST Unofficial Results
At Stafford Motor Speedway
Lap length: 0.5 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (9) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 200 laps, 69.700 mph, $8,000.
2. (1) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Dodge, 200, $5,100.
3. (18) Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I., Pontiac, 200, $3,500.
4. (10) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 200, $3,000.
5. (12) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Ford, 200, $2,700.
6. (22) James Civali, Meriden, Conn., Pontiac, 200, $3,050.
7. (19) Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $2,800.
8. (6) Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn., Chevrolet, 200, $2,000.
9. (8) Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $1,400.
10. (16) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $1,600.
11. (15) Richie Pallai, Jr., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $1,200.
12. (25) Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn., Chevrolet, 200, $1,575.
13. (27) Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $1,550.
14. (21) Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200, $1,479.
15. (4) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 200, $1,450.
16. (13) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 199, $1,540.
17. (28) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 196, $1,625.
18. (26) Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 194, $1,375.
19. (20) Joe Hartmann, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 190, $950.
20. (32) Johnny Bush, Huntington Station, N.Y., Chevrolet, 190, $1,325.
21. (31) Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn., Chevrolet, 187, $1,200.
22. (2) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 183, brake line, $875.
23. (14) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 181, $1,350.
24. (24) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 171, $1,325.
25. (29) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Mass., Chevrolet, 155, $1,200.
26. (17) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 140, transmission, $800.
27. (11) Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 137, mechanical, $800.
28. (3) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 137, accident, $1,200.
29. (7) George Brunnhoelzl, III, W. Babylon, N.Y., Chevrolet, 91, $1,300.
30. (5) Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Chevrolet, 84, ignition, $1,300.
31. (30) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 57, ignition, $1,200.
32. (23) Rob Summers, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 11, ignition, $1,200.
Time of Race: 1 hour 26 minutes 5 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.708 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: B.Santos (100.195 mph, 17.965 seconds)
Caution Flags: 8 for 42 laps.
Lead Changes: 10 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Santos 1-54; R. Silk 55-61; D. Coby 62-121; T. Christopher 122; J. Tomaino 123-125; E. Rudolph 126; J. Tomaino 127-128; R. Preece 129; M. Stefanik 130-136; J. Blewett 137-145; T. Christopher 146-200.
Standings: 1. B. Santos, 365; 2. T. Christopher, 350; 3. M. Stefanik, 340; 4. R. Pennink, 310; 5. T. Szegedy, 310; 6. R. Preece, 274; 7. E. Berndt, 272; 8. C. Pasteryak, 261; 9. E. Goodale, 250; 10. E. Rudolph, 249.