FEATURE: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THEN WORDS
Tour Veteran Ted Christopher Lets The Numbers Do The Talking
can talk to you for hours on end about racing.
He can tell you how a race played out, both in front
of him and behind him, in the closing laps of an
event. He can tell you about top-end speeds and
low-end horsepower. He can tell you exactly what
each shock on each corner of the race car means in
terms of performance.
Truth be told, he can also offer an unfiltered
opinion on virtually every other racer in the
garage, too, when you get him fired up enough.
But ask Ted Christopher about himself, and, well, he
sort of clams up.
I don't know, was all the NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour driver offered when asked what he thought of
his career thus far. I mean, everybody looks at
statistics. I've got enough of those for a career, I
The statistics certainly do spin a pretty good story
Over the last 13 years on the Whelen Modified Tour,
Christopher has never finished worse than ninth in
the final standings, amassing 40 of his 42 career
wins on the Tour during that span. From 1999-2011,
Christopher won at least two races in every season
with the exception 2007, when he won only once. He
responded to that by winning four times the
following year en route to the Tour championship.
Recently, Christopher won his 100th career SK
Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway where
a section of grandstands is named after him in
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
His 42 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories
rank third, just two behind Reggie Ruggiero for the
second on the all-time list.
I'd like to get that accomplished if I possibly
could, sure, said Christopher, who is in his first
full season with Boehler Racing Enterprises, driving
the famed Ole Blue No. 3 on the Tour. I don't
really look at stuff like how many wins I have, but
you do look at some of the goals you set. The 100
wins at Stafford, that's something that I look at.
Would it be a goal to pass Reggie? Yeah. That would
be something to look at later, for sure.
In the end, the numbers alone aren't what will
define Christopher. At 55 years old, he's in the
longest drought of his storied Whelen Modified Tour
career 23 races without a win yet he's as upbeat
about his chances to win each week as ever.
He hears the whispers. He knows people think he's
lost some zip on his fastball, and he also knows
that his make-no-excuses style hasn't exactly
endeared him to everybody in the garage over the
But he has the statistics to back him up.
Some people think I should stop because of my age,
but I'm still winning at Stafford, Christopher
said. It's like anything if I was with an
established team that always ran up front, that
would be a moot question. Everybody thinks I should
stop, but I don't look at it that way at all.
We knew going into this that this would be a
building year a little bit. We had some issues
getting the right power with the thing. I felt like
we didn't have enough, and come to find out, that
was true. We finally got a good motor in it for (New
Hampshire Motor Speedway), and we almost won the
thing. We kept the same engine in it for Stafford
and ran third, and we're definitely going to run it
Remarkably, for a driver so used to success each
season, Christopher doesn't seem to be all that
frustrated for a former champion who hasn't won a
points race on the Whelen Modified Tour since
September of 2011.
There's a lot of people that want to win these
races, Christopher said. It's a little bit
frustrating from time to time, but not a real lot.
Its like anything starting out we're building
chemistry, building on different things. Overall,
I'm actually pretty happy with how things have
With two races left on the schedule at Thompson
Speedway, Christopher has reason to be optimistic.
Thirteen of his 42 career wins have come on the
banked, .625-mile oval including a torrid stretch
when he won seven times there in a nine-race stretch
from 2008-2011. His one checkered flag in the BRE
No. 3 came at Thompson last year in the non-points
But for all the winning Christopher has done in
Modifieds, it's not where he believes his legacy
will come from. At least not entirely.
In one of the rare instances where T.C. opens up
about what's mattered most to him in his racing
career, he looks at just how wide a footprint he's
left on the sport. He's run all three NASCAR
national series, the K&N Pro Series (where he has 10
career wins in 92 starts), Supermodifieds, Super
Late Models, and everything in-between. And he's won
in virtually all of them.
That is where his legacy will lie.
You never really think about your legacy,
Christopher said. When I started racing, I never
thought I'd be as successful as I have been. I just
liked to race, and I was fortunate to win a lot of
I've raced a lot of different stuff and won in a
lot of different race cars at a lot of different
race tracks sometimes in cars I'd never driven or
at tracks I had never even seen before. In my mind,
that's my biggest accomplishment. I can't count how
many times I've raced with people for the first time
and won for them in a Supermodified, in a PASS
car, in all kinds of different things.
Of course, that's where Christopher stops. If
there's more to say, he either can't or won't say it
at least not about what he thinks his history in
the sport will be, or how he wants people to
remember him. He doesn't have to talk about things
like his now infamous Three Tap Rule, or the
grandstands named after him in Stafford, Conn., or
being inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of
Fame (which he will be, this October).
Nope, Christopher is already talking about what's
next, about the next chance to win and maybe
that's the secret to his success over the years.
He's not dwelling on a 23-race winless streak;
instead he's focused solely on winning next week at
Thompson, and especially the following week at
Bristol Motor Speedway.
I'm really looking forward to Bristol, he said.
Even though I missed a year there, I've still led
more laps than anybody at that track. I'd like to
I would really like to win there.
Source: Travis Barrett / NASCAR