NASCAR champion Ted Christopher passed away Saturday after being involved in a plane crash in Connecticut. He was 59.
Christopher is one of two drivers to win the NASCAR Whelen All-Amercian Series national title and a touring series championship. The Plainville, Connecticut, driver won the short-track national title in 2001 and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour crown in 2008. He was the winningest driver at a pair of Connecticut’s historic tracks: Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
He was one of two people on board a plane that went down in Guilford, Connecticut, Saturday afternoon. The crash claimed the life of both.
“We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft’s pilot,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.
“As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Christopher was named one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR’s weekly series in 2006, when the series celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 2008, Stafford named a section of its grandstand in his honor.
Christopher made six starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 21 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and two in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He had 12 wins in 94 NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts, and 42 wins over 29 year of racing on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He also won six times in 19 starts in the former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and made a pair of starts in IMSA’s ROLEX 24 at Daytona.
Christopher had 131 overall wins and nine SK Modified Division championships at Stafford, and another 99 wins at Thompson.
He has been scheduled to drive the No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet at New York’s Riverhead Raceway. Prior to the race, the 82 team drove the car in a ceremonial pace lap before a moment of silence was held.