Christopher Trying To Piece Together Rest Of Season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Not even half way through the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, the third-winningest driver in tour history suddenly found himself without a ride. That driver, known simply as “TC,” is now nearly halfway home toward his goal of piecing together the balance of the season.
Ted Christopher, the 2008 Whelen Modified Tour champion and owner of 42 career victories, was left without a ride when his former No. 36 team closed operations following the sixth race of the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With eight races left on the schedule at the time, Christopher faced a tough challenge if he was going to complete the full season, especially with no seats available.
Christopher, from Plainville, Conn., was able to team up with car owner Joe Brady to run his No. 00 for the next race at Stafford Motor Speedway and registered a fifth-place finish.
Christopher’s next opportunity came by chance. Leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Keith Rocco was injured on July 29 in a practice crash at Thompson International Speedway, and the Boehler Racing Enterprises No. 3 need a fill-in driver. After his one start with Brady at Stafford, Christopher has filled in for Rocco in the last two events at Thompson and Bristol Motor Speedway.
The owner of 13 Whelen Modified Tour victories at Thompson, Christopher will once again be behind the wheel of “Ole Blue” for this week’s tripleheader of touring modified action with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at the .625-mile speedway. The combination produced a fourth-place finish there together in August.
Christopher’s next win at Thompson will tie him with Mike Stefanik for the Whelen Modified Tour victories record at the track. Christopher put together a run of seven triumphs across nine races at “Big T” from 2008-11 in the No. 36, but will be looking to end a four-race drought there in this week’s Town Fair Tire Northern 75. BRE is also looking to get back to Victory Lane at Thompson for the first time since the 2007 season finale when Bobby Santos was behind the wheel, a span of 17 starts with four different drivers.
Christopher is still not sure exactly what his plans will be for the four races after Thompson, but he’s appreciative of another opportunity with BRE this week, and as always, he’ll be one of the favorites when the green flag drops at Thompson.
RACE: Town Fair Tire Northern 75 / UNOH Showdown
PLACE: Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway
DATE: Sunday, Sept. 9
TIME: 2:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m.
TRACK LAYOUT: .625-mile, high-banked asphalt oval
2011 WINNER: Doug Coby / Doug Coby
2011 POLESITTER: Ryan Preece
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, Sept. 8 – Practice 12-12:45 p.m., Final Practice 1:30-2:15 p.m., Qualifying 5 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 9 – Driver Autograph Session 10-11:45 a.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Russ Dowd, 860-923-2280, email@example.com
TRACK TWITTER: @ThompsonSpeedwy
EVENT HASHTAG: #UNOHShowdown
NASCAR CONTACT: Jason Cunningham, 704-201-6658, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @NASCAR_NE
EVENT SCHEDULE | ENTRY LIST
The Race: The Town Fair Tire Northern 75 will be the third of four events this season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson International Speedway. The 75 will be followed by the UNOH Showdown exhibition combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field for the Town Fair Tire Northern 75 is 25 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 75 laps (46.875 miles) and it is a no-tire-change race.
The maximum field for the UNOH Showdown is 32 cars, including provisionals. The highest-finishing 10 cars from both the Town Fair Tire 75 and the GreenPointe Energy Southern 75 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race will transfer to the UNOH Showdown, with the remaining 12 positions filled through the provisional process. The Showdown is scheduled for 50 green flag laps (31.25 miles) and teams will have the option to take four new tires prior to the race. Championship points will not be awarded for the UNOH Showdown.
The Track: A .625-mile high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first entirely asphalt track in the nation, and was the largest in New England for five decades. Thompson has played host to 118 Whelen Modified Tour races all-time, more than any other track.
Race Winners: There have been 31 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 14 victories. Doug Coby won both races in this event last year while Ron Silk and Donny Lia have earned the victories in the tour’s first two trips to Thompson this year.
Pole Winners: There have been 40 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13. Ryan Preece earned the pole for this race last year while Bobby Santos set the tour’s track qualifying record at 18.237 seconds (123.376 mph) on April 10, 2011.
THOMPSON RACE NOTES
Coby Looks for Showdown Repeat: Last’s year’s UNOH Showdown proved to be a breakthrough event for current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader Doug Coby. He won both the Whelen Modified Tour and exhibition combo race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour to sweep the day to launch a stretch where he tacked on four more wins in the next 11 races crossing over to the current season. In the first two events this year at Thompson he recorded results of eighth and third, and had finished in the top 10 through the first eight races overall this year before the most recent outing at Bristol Motor Speedway when he was relegated to 17th overall and 11th among Whelen Modified Tour drivers in the combo race.
75-Lap Races at Thompson: This year’s September race will be 75 laps, compared to 125 a year ago. That particular distance is nothing new for the Whelen Modified Tour, which has contested seven previous races at the track of that distance, most recently in June 2008. The first six such events fell in the years 1986-89. Records are incomplete for the five races from 1986-88, but the in 1989 event caution laps did count, which will be the case for this year’s edition. The 2008 75-lapper did not count caution laps.
Four Weeks, Four Races, Four Tracks: Just five races remain on the 2012 Whelen Modified Tour schedule, but four of them will be contested on consecutive weeks, starting this week at Thompson. Not only will durability be key for the teams during this stretch, but adaptability as well. In succession the teams will go from the high-banked .625-mile Thompson to quarter-mile bullring Riverhead Raceway on Sept. 15, to the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 22 and ending on Sept. 30 at the slightly-banked half-mile at Stafford Motor Speedway. There will then be one week between Stafford and the season finale at Thompson on Oct. 14.
Five Drivers Locked-In So Far for Daytona: So far this year we’ve had five Whelen Modified Tour drivers earn locked-in starting positions for the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach by virtue of wins through the season’s first nine events: Doug Coby, Donny Lia, Ryan Preece, Ron Silk and Mike Stefanik. The UNOH Battle will take place Feb. 18-19 on a temporary .4-mile oval on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway as part of 2013 Speedweeks. There have also been three Whelen Southern Modified Tour drivers – George Brunnhoelzl III, Brian Loftin and Brandon Ward – locked-in. Both tours will compete in combination in the 150-lap exhibition race on Feb. 19.
HOME TRACKS: Preece Closing In On Track Title
Ryan Preece is closing in on his first Thompson International Speedway track title with a commanding 104-point lead on Kerry Malone in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sunoco Modified standings. Preece has won nine of the season’s 17 features as of Aug. 30. Woody Pitkat is second on the division’s wins list this year with three while competing on a part-time basis. Ted Christopher, who has 97 career wins at Thompson overall, has two victories and is third in Sunoco Modified points, 180 behind Preece. Through the latest Whelen All-American Series national points update on Aug. 28, Preece ranked fourth and Christopher seventh, with Keith Rocco leading the way in Connecticut and third nationally.
LAST TIME OUT: Bristol
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was held at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 22. Here are some highlights from the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour:
• Ron Silk gained the lead from Todd Szegedy after the two made incidental contact on Lap 127 and drove away for his first victory at Bristol, his second of 2012 and the ninth of his Whelen Modified Tour career.
• The victory for Silk was the first by a NASCAR-approved SPEC engine in Whelen Modified competition.
• Silk also earned the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, his second of the year and seventh of his career.
• George Brunnhoelzl III was the highest-finishing Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in the race – sixth overall – and garnered a victory for that tour. It marked his second southern victory at Bristol.
• Points leader Doug Coby was involved in a couple incidents and finished 17th overall, which combined with Silk’s win, reduced his points lead from 41 to 27 points on Silk.
NEXT TIME OUT: Riverhead
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for a second attempt at the Riverhead 200 following a rain-out on the original scheduled date, July 28. This year’s Riverhead 200 will be the 51st running of the Whelen Modified Tour on the tight Long Island quarter-mile bullring. Justin Bonsignore got the win last year at his home track while Mike Stefanik is the tour’s active leader in career wins at the track with six. One of the larger entry lists of the year is expected for the Riverhead 200, which annually attracts a handful of competitors from the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division.
Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR
NWMT-NWSMT Thompson 9/9/12 Schedule
Time Series Event
7:30 a.m. NWMT/NWSMT Haulers Enter
8:30 a.m. NWMT/NWSMT Garage Opens
8:30 a.m. Paddock Gate Opens
10 a.m. Grandstand Opens
11 a.m.-12 p.m. NWAAS Practice
12-12:45 p.m. NWMT/NWSMT Practice
12:45-1:30 p.m. NWAAS Final Practice
1:30-2:15 p.m. NWMT/NWSMT Final Practice
2:15 p.m. NWAAS Qualifying
Following NWAAS Features
4:30 p.m. NWSMT Qualifying
5 p.m. NWMT Qualifying
6:30 p.m. NWMT/NWSMT Garage Closes
8 a.m. NWMT/NWSMT Garage Opens
8 a.m. Paddock Gate Opens
9:30 a.m. Grandstand Opens
10-11:30 a.m. NWAAS/NWMT/NWSMT Autograph Session (on-track)
12 p.m. NWMT/NWSMT Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
12:15 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
12:30 p.m. NWAAS Features
1:45 p.m. NWSMT GreenPointe Energy 75
2:30 p.m. NWMT Town Fair Tire 75
Following NWAAS Features
5:30 p.m. NWMT/NWSMT UNOH Showdown
NWMT Thompson 9/9/12 Entry List
CAR DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM OWNER CREW CHIEF
2 Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn. UNOH/Dunleavy Repair Ford Mike Smeriglio, III Philip Moran
3 Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn. Cape Cod Copper/Silver Dollar Const. Chevrolet Jan Boehler Scott Richards
4 Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y. Mystic Missile Racing Dodge Robert Garbarino Daniel Laferriere
6 Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn. Calverton Tree Farm/TS Haulers Chevrolet Ed Partidge Tom Grasso
07 Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y. Emerling Chevrolet Dealership Chevrolet Jennifer Emerling Michael Paquette
16 Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn. Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford Eric Sanderson Stan Szaban
18 Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y. Buoy One Seafood/MacLad Ford Robert Pollifrone Greg Gorman
28 Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn. Ron Bouchard's Autos/Raceworks TV Chevrolet Don King Thomas Trcka
33 Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn. Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Chevrolet Beth Cole DJ Hickton
38 Driver TBA Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Chevrolet Linda Rodenbaugh Jake Marosz
39 Richie Pallai, Jr., Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Bosch Spark Plugs Chevrolet Rich Pallai Denis Pruchnik
44 Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass. ImperialCars.com/Tinio Corp. Chevrolet Sully Tinio Steve Lemay
45 Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa. Horwith Freightliner/John Blewett Inc. Ford Dave Delange Ryan Plourde
46 Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn. Cape Cod Agts/North End Auto Parts Chevrolet Robert Katon, Jr. Richard Rotundo
51 Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y. M3 Technology Chevrolet Ken Massa John Sanford
52 Doug Coby, Milford, Conn. Reynolds Auto Wrkg./Furnace &Duct Chevrolet Wayne Darling John McKenna
58 Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y. Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet Edgar Goodale Jason Shephard
64 Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, Conn. Fast Track Elect./Complete Const. Chevrolet Mike Murphy Stephen Dodge
66 Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I. Cady’s Tavern Ford Ed Marceau Brad Lafontaine
68 Johnny Bush, Huntington Station, N.Y. Two Brothers Scrap Metal Chevrolet Charlene Bush TBA
76 Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J. John Blewett Inc./Ling Trucking Chevrolet John Blewett Ed Bennett, III
79 Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass. Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac Sandra Hill David Hill
88 Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y. Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet Buzz Chew Ron Ste. Marie
93 Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner Chevrolet Mark Pennink Don Barker
99 Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J. Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet Trey Tomaino Trey Tomaino
Unofficial Entry List, as of Aug. 31