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   The Chrome Horn - News



Modified Veteran Piling Up Wins In Weekly & Touring Series

It’s hard to beat the perfection produced recently by Duane Howard in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series or Andrew Ranger in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1. But then again, Ted Christopher has made it a habit of prevailing against whatever competition he faces.

The September edition of the Hunter Index is no different, as Christopher’s efforts over the last month put him atop the latest edition of the monthly power poll designed to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR Developmental Series.

The Hunter Index is a new feature in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com. Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives.

Christopher, who also earned the honor in May, has been on a tear lately on two levels:
He has climbed to sixth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national rankings and is within 13 points of third with two weeks remaining. Over the past four weeks, he has rattled off four wins, six top fives and seven top 10s in eight starts in the Modified divisions at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.

At the same time, Christopher has put together a similar season-changing momentum swing to challenge Bobby Santos III for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title. Christopher briefly took the points lead with a dominating win at Thompson. He also led the most laps at Bristol Motor Speedway before a mechanical failure ended his day early. Christopher has two wins, a second and a fifth in his last five tour races.

“He’s one of the best drivers in the business today,” said voter Spencer Lewis, representing the Canadian publication Inside Track Motorsports News. “His ability to perform at a consistently high level week in and week out, against a variety of competition, puts him on a different level than everybody else.”

Interestingly enough, Christopher only earned one of the six first-place votes.
Ranger, who came in second, picked up two, while third-place Howard had the other three.

Panelists rank their top 15, with first place receiving 15 points, second 14, third 13 and so on.
Ranger, who was also second in the July rankings, was 2-for-2 in his starts over the last four weeks. He continued his mastery of road courses with wins at Trois-Rivieres and Montreal. The latter came by way of a thrilling last-turn, last-lap bump-and-run on Jason Bowles – just moments after Bowles had used a similar move to take the lead from Ranger.

Howard was similarly unbeatable. The Oley, Penn., driver has five straight wins in the 385 Modified Division on the dirt at Grandview Speedway in Bechtesville, Penn. Overall, Howard has won six of the last seven features there and has eight wins and six second-place finishes in 14 starts since May 22. He is third in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings.

"You can't help but be impressed with the run Duane Howard has put together," said Brett Bodine, who is the chairman of the NASCAR Resumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition side on the panel. "With Grandview's handicapping system, he's starting in the second half of the field and every week is charging to the front. He's got that track figured out this year and he's getting it done against some quality competition that has more than their share of wins and championships at that place."

Eric Holmes, who extended his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points lead with a convincing win at Colorado National Speedway, is ranked fourth and Keith Rocco is fifth. Rocco, from Wallingford, Conn., has already clinched the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship and has three wins and seven top fives in his last 10 starts racing in the Modified divisions at Thompson, Stafford and Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl.

Justin Johnson of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) is sixth, followed by Ty Dillon (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Craig Preble (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Don Thomson Jr. (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series) and James Civali (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour).

Four drivers earned honorable mention, including Andy Seuss, who won the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and German Quiroga, who is coming off a NASCAR Mexico Series win at San Luis Potosi.

The Hunter Index is named for Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Developmental Series.

The Index was designed in the off season as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

In addition to Christopher, Virginia asphalt Late Model driver Philip Morris (March), Paulie Harraka of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (April), Christopher (May), Bobby Santos of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (June), Rocco (July) and Holmes (August) have also earned the No. 1 position in the Index.

The panel also included media members Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant representing the Northeast, Adam Fenwick of National Speed Sport News from the Southeast, Tim Haddock of haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com from the West Coast, and Lewis. They are joined by Bodine and Jason Christley, a NASCAR public relations representative.


NASCAR Whelen All-American Series / Whelen Modified Tour

Why he’s here: The 52-year-old Plainville, Conn., driver continues to excel week-in and week-out. Not only is he challenging Bobby Santos III for the Whelen Modified Tour title, he’s found his groove on a weekly basis in the Modified divisions at Connecticut’s short tracks.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1

Why He’s Here: May not be getting any birthday cards from Jason Bowles in the near future, but his move at Montreal kept the Roxton Pond, Quebec driver perfect on road courses this year.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

Why He’s Here: Has shot into contention for a podium finish in the national standings with an unbelievable stretch of top two finishes at Grandview.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Why He’s Here: Notched another win at Colorado to move closer to his third series championship in the last six years.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

Why He’s Here: Clinching his first national championship with more than a month left in the season hasn’t slowed him down – he went out and won the next week.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

Why He’s Here: The ‘other’ Justin Johnson – South Boston’s JJ is ranked fifth in the national standings – he has won nine of the last 11 Super Late Model races at Toyota Speedway.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Why He’s Here: Grandson of Richard Childress was in the right place at the right time at Gresham Motorsports Park to record his first career NASCAR win.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

Why He’s Here: Wrapped up dirt Late Model championship at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska and leads the nation in wins with 22.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1

Why He’s Here: Put together an impressive victory on the oval at Mosport, and then followed it up with a second-place at Montreal.

NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour

Why He’s Here: Followed up third-place run at Bristol behind Ryan Newman and Mike Stefanik to take back the points lead with a runner-up finish Virginia’s Langley Speedway.

HONORABLE MENTION: German Quiroga (NASCAR Mexico Series), Bobby Santos III (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Andy Seuss (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour), and Cole Whitt (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)

Source: Jason Christley / NASCAR
Posted: September 10, 2010

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