Ted Christopher has been around Modified racing for over three decades, with much of that time spent on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. But since the beginning of 2016, he has only made three Tour starts, focusing mostly on running SK Modifieds in Connecticut. This has left some in the Northeast wondering if this is the beginning of his exit from the driver’s seat. But for those who know “TC,” that is far from the case with the 2008 NWMT champion always on the hunt for a ride, especially at his favorite tracks. With the Tour race at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, closing in, TC has a ride that might just get him another win at the “Big T.”
Long Island team owner Danny Watts has now tabbed Ted Christopher for the orange No. 82 for the Thompson 125 on Wednesday, June 14.
Speed51.com powered by JEGS talked with Christopher about his new partnership with the Watts team.
“I’m looking forward to it. Danny’s got good equipment. Brad Lafontaine helps him out with that thing. I think he’s going to be helping him at the track as far as crew chief and stuff. We’ve got a good history together before, plus Thompson is usually pretty good to me. We’ll see what happens.”
Watts had begun the season with Ron Silk behind the wheel, in what was supposed to be the second season with Silk behind the wheel. Silk parted ways with Watts after the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway in April. Watts brought in Spencer Davis for the race at Langley Speedway (VA).
For Thompson though, it was Christopher’s long relationship with veteran crew chief Lafontaine, that helped pave the way to the ride.
“Ronnie ended up quitting and I always talk to Brad all the time with different stuff. I know he was helping with that, and I said ‘If he’s interested in wanting to do at least Thompson,’ I know he had somebody for Langley and I said ‘If he’s just picking people randomly to do a race here and there, keep me in mind if you want to do Thompson.’ One thing led to another and we’re going to do Thompson and more.”
While the plans for Christopher and Watts beyond Thompson in June is not decided officially, TC hopes a good first run can lead to more races between the two.
“I think Danny wants to run the rest of (the Tour schedule), that’s all up to him. We’ll see how the first race goes, if you go out and run like gangbusters then you’re used to getting a ride, right?”
One thing that Christopher made clear is that he wants to come back for more, especially tracks that he holds dear.
“More than anything I miss racing Thompson, Stafford, New Hampshire, stuff like that which I was going to try to do maybe a race or two in those races towards the end of the year, be it with my car, with some other people that I talked to or with the 00. But this deal came together and I’m really looking forward to it. It takes a lot of pressure off me. If they want to race the whole thing, I’m game for running the whole thing. I like Riverhead, I run real well at Oswego, Seekonk is not my best place but I’ll give it a whirl!”
Christopher’s aspirations even run a little bit into next year, at a certain Florida track he also holds dear.
“I hope it plays out well because one thing I would like is I know Danny likes to run New Smyrna and I love New Smyrna. I miss that place.”
Of course, Christopher knows that the main mission right now is not just to run well at Thompson, but to win at Thompson.
“I’ll try like hell, you know that. I’m running the SK (Modified) up there too. We were real fast up there this past Sunday and got caught up in a wreck on lap two. Hey, I haven’t forgotten how to run the place.”
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com