In short track racing, there are a select few drivers that have accomplished just about all there is to accomplish in their racing careers. But despite achieving it all, these drivers continuing driving their machines every week because being behind the wheel of a race car is their true passion. These drivers have a continued love for competition and get behind the wheel each week with the hope of getting back to victory lane.
For Plainville, Connecticut Modified veteran Ted Christopher, having fun is still at the top of the list. But don’t get confused, he still wants to win races and add to his list of achievement, even if that achievement is just to get back to victory lane in one division at one race track.
On this occasion, the track was the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT), and the division the SK Modifieds. This past Saturday night, the man known as “TC” would not be denied.
Christopher raced past Ed Puleo on a lap 17 restart in the 35-lap feature and held off a hard-charging Keith Rocco, who was denied his record breaking 107th Speedbowl victory.
“I didn’t even know that, but that’s pretty interesting,” Christopher said to Speed51.com powered by JEGS after finding out that Rocco would have to wait another race. “It’s nice, I had a car better than him tonight, he got to me and I finally sat down and just ran some good laps and pulled away from him. He’s definitely the benchmark here without a doubt.”
Christopher’s first victory in nearly 11 years comes after an offseason upgrade for his Prestige Motorsports team and two podium runs to start off the 2015 season.
“They’ve (Prestige Motorsports) really stepped up buying a Troyer car. It’s got a great setup underneath that thing and you can drive it where you want. Doug (Dipisa) puts a lot of effort into that thing, builds his own shocks and it’s my motor.”
The win on Saturday night was the 34th for TC in the Speedbowl SK Modified division and it marked the end of a winless drought in SK competition at the Connecticut shoreline oval dating back to July 3, 2004.
Christopher, the 1992 SK Modified champion, did not race full-time at the track between the early 90’s and 2013. He also did not show up all that much from 2005 to 2012. Even now, the Modified racing legend only races a partial schedule due to his commitments. Despite not racing at “The Bowl” as much as he might have liked to, the charm of the historic track has never worn off him.
“It’s so much fun to race when you can race,” Christopher said of the track. “When people give you the outside, when you can go up and down, I don’t know what it is about the race track but it has been that way for years, and it’s still that way.”
Christopher returned to near full-time competition in the Speedbowl SK Modifieds at the beginning of the 2013 season driving for Prestige Motorsports car owner Doug DiPisa. The pair had the intention of running the majority of Saturday nights for race wins and gaining national points for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, while maintaining a relaxed personal schedule and without dipping into his own pockets for money. For most of 2013 at the Bowl, Christopher and company ran mid-pack, occasionally challenging for wins up front but coming up short. 2014 brought more consistency for Christopher as the team had jelled for their second season together, but they couldn’t quite get to the top step on the podium.
“We’d have a great car, I’d start in the back, and somebody would get ahead of me and I’d finish second,” Christopher stated. “We’d have a great starting spot, and the car would be terrible, something would happen,”
After winning a Valenti Modified Racing Series feature for car owner Joe Brady on August 9, 2014 and breaking his overall winless streak at the Speedbowl, Christopher though satisfied with the victory, became more determined than ever to score a victory for the Prestige Motorsports team. At last, it all came full circle on Saturday night when “TC” was able to leave the track with his trophy in one hand and an ice cream in the other.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: New London-Waterford Speedbowl Facebook Photo