For most drivers, getting sent to the rear of the field would end any chance of picking up a win at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. However, most drivers don’t have the history Ted Christopher has at the track.
Christopher was sent to the rear of the field at the start of the race from his pole position after missing the driver’s meeting, and then had to come through the field again after getting involved in a spin on Lap 66, but it didn’t stop the Plainville, Conn., driver from picking up his fourth-consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson.
The Budweiser ‘King of Beers’ 150 was the first run for a new No. 36 Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet for Christopher. It took some adjustments, but the team got it dialed in for a late charge through the field.
“It’s probably a good thing I didn’t start on the pole because that thing was evil,” Christopher said. “It was good that we could make some changes with it. We made some and then I said to make some more.
“At the end I said ‘give it some stagger and some wedge and let me do what I’ve gotta do, and it turned out pretty good.’”
Christopher pitted for a second time on Lap 121 and knifed through the field after restarting outside the top 10. He made the decisive pass of Ron Silk on Lap 142 and survived a four-lap sprint to the finish after the final caution flag was given to the field on Lap 143.
The victory was the 40th in Christopher’s Whelen Modified Tour career and 13th at Thompson. He has won seven of the last nine races at the .625-mile oval.
Silk held on for second and point leader Rowan Pennink enjoyed another consistent run with a third-place finish. Bobby Santos and Eric Berndt completed the top five.
Todd Szegedy, Doug Coby, Eric Beers, James Civali and Eric Goodale rounded out the top 10.
It was the fourth-straight top-five finish for Silk, who trails Pennink by 30 points atop the season standings after five of 16 races.
“It would have been nice to win,” Silk said. “We were leading so late there in the race, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Pennink led a race-high 105 laps en route to his fourth podium finish of the year.
“When we were out front, that thing was just unbelievable and I could drive that thing anywhere I wanted,” Pennink said of his No. 93 Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner Chevrolet. “When that caution came out, I don’t know what the tires did, but we didn’t need that heat cycle on the tires. The thing gave up a little bit after that caution.”
The race featured four different race leaders and was slowed just five times by caution.
The next event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the F.W. Webb 100 on July 16.