Plane Crash Claims Northeast Ace Ted Christopher

RaceChaser Staff Asphalt Modifieds, Featured, New England, Touring Series 7 Comments

Ted Chirstopher, a former NASCAR modified champion, died Saturday in a tragic plane crash. (Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. — Ted Christopher, the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion and a former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, passed away tragically on Saturday at the age of 59.

Speed51.com first confirmed the news through a member of the family.

Christopher was en route to Riverhead Raceway via plane for Saturday night’s Tour event when the aircraft crashed into the woods near the town of Guilford, Conn., as reported by the New Haven Register.

State Police later issued a press release confirming that one person was injured in the crash, and the Federal Aviation Administration has indicated that two people were on the plane at the time. The second person has not yet been identified.

While Christopher spent limited time in the NASCAR national series ranks, accruing six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, his greatest contributions to the sport were at the regional and local levels.

He won 15 races in 18 starts at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to clinch the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title in 2001, then referred to as the NASCAR Weekly Series, and was honored as one of the series’ Top-25 drivers during its 25th anniversary celebration in 2006.

In fact, Christopher will be forever regarded one of the all-time greats at Thompson, having just picked up his 99th-career win at the five-eighths-mile Connecticut oval on Sept. 10.

Christopher was a perennial force on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, ranking third in all-time Tour wins with 42 victories in his 372 career starts, as well as six addition wins on the former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

But for many years, a championship eluded him. Christopher finally ended that quest in 2008, when he outran Matt Hirschman for the crown by winning the season’s final race at Thompson, one of four wins he earned that season.

In total, Christopher’s 2008 title-winning record included four wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10s in 16 races.

Christopher also competed part-time on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for nearly two decades, earning 10 victories in that division over 92 career appearances, including five at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He reigns as the all-time winningest driver at Stafford Motor Speedway, with 131 victories at the half-mile over the course of his legendary career, and was the first driver to win SK modified track championships at all three NASCAR-sanctioned Connecticut asphalt oval short-tracks: Stafford, Thompson and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Christopher even competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice in his diverse career, running in the premier Daytona Prototype class for Brumos Racing in 2006 and for Southard Motorsports in 2008.

Asked by Race Chaser Online at Bristol Motor Speedway in August how he wanted his career to be remembered, Christopher smiled when he said:

“I race to win, and I always have. If people remember that, then they knew Ted Christopher.”

The staff at Race Chaser Online and the Performance Motorsports Network sends its condolences to the Christopher family and all of those in the New England and short track communities touched by TC’s life and his legacy.

The New Haven Register contributed to this staff report.

Comments 7

  1. Thank you for always putting on a show. God speed ahead an watxh over your fellow drivers ahead. Gone but never forgotten. You truly were an incredible driver an respected by many an now missed by many more. Fly with the angels an always fly to protect just like you drive to win.

  2. It’s been quite a while since I watched Ted race, but I remember him as been a clean racer and a gentleman. RIP another of my heroes.

  3. Ted was one heck of a wheelman. His presence on the track will surely be missed. I watched him race for many years in the SK modified series during Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway. Godspeed Ted Christopher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.