STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WWLP) – Stafford Motor Speedway will be retiring Ted Christopher’s number this weekend, during their season finale at the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final. Christopher was killed in a plane crash back on September 16 between the Guilford/North Branford line in Connecticut. He was 59-years old.
Doug Coby and Timmy Solomito reflected the loss of Ted Christopher last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to 22News.
“It’s definitely weird for everybody. We all have different memories and different ways that we interacted with Ted both on and off the track. Just really a sad situation for his family his really close members who we’re him for many years. We always did battle. What are you going to do ? Its part of how this goes. Its just coping and learning and living, and moving on.” Coby said.
Coby believes modified racing with not be the same going forward.
“There going to be nobody that fills that role. None of us are capable. None of us have the skills. None of us have the swagger to do that. It’s not like anybody should fill the role, but there is going to be a piece missing of what kind of made modified racing fun- maybe kind of exciting- and that will not be here anymore. We have to find a way to make it work.”
Timmy Solomito told 22News that he and Ted Christopher had great battles on the track.
“We traded paint a couple times and had some good laughs. Definitely been a tough couple weeks here. You still don’t wanna believe he is not here.” Solomito said
Solomito believes that Christopher was the icon in the sport of auto racing. He told 22News it’s a huge hole for short track racing.
“Ted be sorely missed. Hopefully we can keep putting on good races for him to watch and hopefully he will enjoy from watching up above.”
Solomito told 22News that modified racing will never be the same without Ted Christopher.
“When people talk about modifieds, they think about Ted Christopher. Its going to be a lot different for fans, for us, for everybody involved. Its unfortunate. You don’t realize how much someone makes an impact until they are gone, and Ted made that impact. I am just happy I am able to say I raced against him, trade paint with him and have a few good laughs. It will be tough but hopefully we can put on good races for Ted.”
Christopher was known nationally, as he made starts in all three NASCAR National Series from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. While NASCAR was in New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson told 22News of a memory from then the NASCAR Busch Series.
“Great wheelman and a great man. When I started racing here in the Busch Series, Ted was a guy I met right away. I think somehow we were parked near each other, around each other. So approachable, so fun. I knew the name. I was excited to be on a track with him, and then through the years from my first time meeting him right here in 2000, but always see him in and around the area here. See him at different races. He ran the Busch Series for a short amount of time. He will be missed. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and the racing community here. He is such an icon.” Johnson said.
Don Hawk, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs for Speedway Motorsports Inc, told 22News that Ted Christopher was a great guy to compete against.
” We raced against Teddy (Christopher). We talked to Teddy and then when I went to work for NASCAR. I actually ran the (Whelen) modified tour and got to know Teddy even up close and personal when he would make bumper-to-bumper contact and that kind of thing. As soon as I heard the news, I reached out to his brother last week. Trying to do whatever we could do. It’s a huge hole in racing. It’s a huge hole in New England racing. I’ll be honest with you, he’s a guy that drove just like my former boss Dale Earnhardt. I’ve huge respect for Teddy Christopher. I very often had to coach him up a little bit how harshly he took it out on somebody when he wanted to move them over. I do like the policy tap one, tap two, and tap three” Hawk said.
He was the all-time winningest driver at Stafford Motor Speedway, with 130 feature wins and has won races up and down the East Coast. Fans loved him or hated him, but he would put on the show for the fans, and they would leave with something to talk about.
The ceremony will take place as of part of pre-race ceremonies on Sunday at 12:30.