Stafford Springs, CT — When the green flag comes out for the 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler this Sunday, May 1st at Stafford, there will be one driver in the starting lineup who has all the momentum in the world on his side. Ted Christopher, who will be attempting to win the Sizzler for the fourth consecutive year, has won 9 races in 6 different states thusfar during his already busy 2011 season.
Christopher kicked off his 2011 campaign with TQ Midget victories in Atlantic City and Providence and then took three more wins and the track championship at New Smyrna Speedway in February. After New Smyrna, Christopher took the checkered flag at Thompson Speedway in the Whelen Modified Tour season opener, and he has continued his winning ways on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, winning back-to-back events at South Boston and Caraway. Add in the fact that Christopher has won the last three Spring Sizzlers, and he has 110 career feature victories at Stafford, and things are looking up for the 2008 Whelen Modified Tour champion.
“Things have gone well for us so far,” said Christopher. “I’m looking forward to coming to Stafford, anytime we race at Stafford it’s always special. To win four Sizzlers in a row would be a cool deal, but there’s a lot of hungry drivers out there who want to win. Hopefully the best car will win and hopefully that car will be me, but that’s why we run the race and we’ll see what happens. To win the race again would be a great accomplishment, but to me it’s just the next race on the schedule that we’re going to try to win and put on a good show for the fans.”
With the Sizzler being 200 laps long where most Whelen Modified Tour events are 150 laps, race strategy is sure to be an important factor in determining who will win the race. With three conseucutive wins and five wins overall in the 200-lap Sizzler format, (Christopher also won the 1988 80-lap Sizzler), it might seem like Christopher and his #36 Al-Lee Installations team have the strategy down to a science. But Christopher says that isn’t the case.
“We never have a set gameplan going into the race,” said Christopher. “We keep changing things up to keep people on their toes. If we did the same thing every time, people would start copying our strategy. With the Sizzler, we’ve had all kinds of different strategies, pit early, pit late, take fuel, and we have gone the whole race without taking fuel. Plus if you have a gameplan going into the race, usually something happens during the race and your gameplan ends up not working out. Like at Thompson, we were two laps down and we ended up making those two laps up in about 8 minutes with the Lucky Dog. My spotter at Caraway asked me what the plan was and I told him we’ll see what happens when the green flag comes out.”
One thing that hasn’t slowed Christopher down this season is an injury to his hand that he sustained in a crash in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opening event at Caraway Speedway. Christopher has won all three of his Modified Tour starts since the wreck and he doesn’t think his hand will be an issue this weekend at Stafford.
“The doctor told me that it won’t be like it was for another 6 months,” said Christopher. “The hand gets a little stiff at night and I have trouble sleeping, but as long as I don’t do anything to bother it in the car, it is ok. It got a little numb during the race at South Boston, but at Thompson and this weekend at Stafford, you aren’t turning the wheel as much as you are at South Boston. My last race at Caraway, I lost the power steering with about 15 laps to go, so that was a little tough, but there was a red flag and a couple of cautions at the end of the race, so I was able to get a bit of a rest.”
In addition to the Sizzler this weekend, Christopher is also looking forward to the CARQUEST Champions For Charities event at Stafford on June 28th as part of the 8th Annual CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday program. Christopher will join 13 other open wheel champions behind the wheel of Wild Thing Kart Senior Outlaw Karts in a race that has paired each driver with a charity that they will be racing for. Christopher will be racing for the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, and he will add his CARQUEST Champions For Charitites proceeds to his season long efforts to raise money for Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.
“I’m looking forward to adding to my weekly deal,” said Christopher. “Last year we donated $1 for every lap completed and $100 for each win, and I’m going to be doing the same deal this year. I haven’t driven a go kart in a long, long time and I’m looking forward to the race and raising some money for Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.”
The 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 29 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. The run for the Coors Light Pole position gets underway on Saturday, April 30 with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. The Sizzler concludes on Sunday, May 1 with the CARQUEST Belts and Hose Pit Party followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $38.00 for all ages.
CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday will take place on June 28, 2011 and will feature the ISMA Super Modifieds, NEMA Midgets, and Pro-4 Modifieds in addition to the CARQUEST Champions For Charities event. Tickets for CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office and are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $32.00 for all ages.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR