Two of the Connecticut’s most successful drivers will be joining forces for the upcoming season at Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park. Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT will drive for Keith Rocco Racing in the Sunoco Modifieds. Both drivers hold 5 track titles at the 77-year-old facility operated by the Hoenig family.
“I worked with Ted (Christopher) for a long time back before I started my racing career and he made a joke towards me at Waterford one week,” Rocco said. “He said ‘Before I retire, I’m gonna drive for you,’ so (Ronnie) Williams had other plans this year and I called Ted up and I said here’s your opportunity and we sat down and came up with a plan and that’s what it is.”
Rocco was a crew member on Christopher’s team from 2001 to c.2004-05. Christopher recorded 14 wins at Thompson in 2001 and claimed the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
“To jump on a team and be involved and to learn a little bit and win as much as we did, it was awesome. What else would anybody ask for that just joined a team other than winning races and contend for a national championship?”
“He’s a true racer. He wants to win races just like myself. We’ve had our battles and our problems in the past, but right now we put some great shows on together and we have a great deal of respect for each other. So I think it’s gonna work out really well at Thompson and looking pretty forward to racing with him for the win and almost being teammates I guess you could say.”
Christopher is seeking his milestone 100th victory at the 5/8-mile oval. Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway’s winningest driver has 124 wins and is looking to join Billy Pauch as drivers with 100+ wins at multiple tracks. Pauch did it at Flemington (164), New Egypt (128), and East Windsor (113). Christopher’s 98th win was September 8, 2012, in the UNOH Showdown for Boehler Racing.
“We talked about it and he told me he wants to get that 100th victory before he retires and hopefully, he can pull that off in my car.”
“I can’t say enough for the Williams family. They actually put my old second car and rental program on the map and they ran great and they showed what its capable of. Ronnie was a rookie at Thompson he did a great job. He had some second place finishes. He contended for some wins, just came up a little bit short, but really looking forward to seeing what that car’s going to be capable of pulling off with a driver like Ted, the master of Thompson, I think it’s going to be very interesting.”
Rocco scored 5 wins en route to the track championship at the 5/8 mile oval in 2016. His fifth crown tied him with Christopher and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans of Rome, NY.
“I can’t say enough for Mark and Mike Pane. They gave me the opportunity and they gave me some great equipment. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about having great equipment and then it’s about having fun, and going there, and being relaxed, and having your mind in the right train of thought so that worked out perfect for me.”
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com
Auto Racing Research Associates
Photos by Paul Fohlin, Nicholas Teto, and Matt Wiernasz