Just before the halfway mark of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour portion of The Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway, it looked like any comments that Ted Christopher might offer up after the race would be short, negative and containing a profanity or two.
After all, Christopher had gone from leading the race early to being two laps down at lap 52 as a result of a spin after contact with Ron Silk.
But there was a happy ending, and a joyous victory lane interview in the cards for Christopher when the 150-lap feature was all finished. Christopher made up his laps to take the lead for good on lap and 115 score his 39th career WMT victory on Sunday afternoon. It was the 12th time on the Tour that Christopher had won at Thompson.
“It's never over until it's over is it?” Christopher said after the race.
That's an easy thing to say after the race ended the way that it did for Christopher, but was it something that he believed when he was sitting in the racecar, losing laps on pit road while his team repaired the car? Again, Christopher was philosophical when asked he if really meant that.
“Ah,” said Christopher with a shrug of his shoulders. “You never know. You can't ever give up. [Someone has to win], so it might as well be me.”
Keeping the faith to win might come a little bit easier to Christopher than some of his competitors. While the Icebreaker opened the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and was the first race of 2011 for many competitors, Christopher has already been busy this year. He's not only raced multiple times, but has won multiple times this season already. He's enjoyed victory lane celebrations indoors after winning a pair of TQ Midget races in the Northeast, and he won multiple features during the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway during Florida Speedweeks.
So while some drivers were shaking off rust at the Icebreaker, Christopher never had a chance got any in the first place.
“I never get rusty,” laughed Christopher.
TC didn't know if the extra racing gave him much of an advantage at the Icebreaker though.
“Not really, you know…These guys are racers. They should know. I don't think it's much of a thing for them. Maybe you shake the rust off a little bit when you first practice, but some of these guys practiced all day a couple of weeks ago.”
Christopher wasn't among those drivers who practiced at Thompson late in March. In fact, he was too busy that particular weekend racing on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina.
“We don't practice,” said Christopher. “What do I need to practice here for?”
But while some of those competitors were padding there notebooks during the Thompson test, Christopher actually made his Icebreaker weekend a little more challenging due to racing at Caraway. Christopher was involved in a wreck during that event which led to an injured right hand. On Sunday at Thompson, TC injured his other hand in that same incident which put him two laps down. But you'd have to break both of his arms…and maybe his legs too…if you wanted to keep Christopher from wheeling a racecar.
“I messed my other hand up today,” said Christopher. “This one I broke three weeks ago and this one I hurt in the feature today when Silk spun me out. I've got three weeks to heal before [Stafford's Spring Sizzler - which is the next WMT on the schedule]. But actually, I'm going to race next week in Virginia [When the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour visits South Boston Speedway]. As long as a I get a flight, I'll be there on Saturday.”
Back at Thompson, Rowan Pennink made a late race charge to finish second to Christopher while Mike Stefanik, Ryan Preece and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five finishers. Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos, III dropped out early from the event with engine problems.
Speed51.com will have more coverage of the Icebreaker coming soon with our Leftovers from the event and a photo gallery of all the weekend action.