Christopher Crowned NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion; Annual Awards Banquet Concludes 2008 Season
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (Dec. 13, 2008) -- The 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season drew to a close Saturday night as Ted Christopher was crowned the series' champion at the annual postseason awards banquet at Mohegan Sun Resort.
Christopher's 2008 title campaign included four wins and 13 top 10s. Driver of the No. 36 Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet, Christopher's championship season was highlighted by wins at Stafford Motor Speedway, Mansfield Motorsports Park, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway.
From Plainville, Conn., Christopher has established a reputation of racing any type of car, anytime, anywhere. He has won multiple track championships and was the 2001 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, but 2008 marked his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour crown in his 15th full season in the series.
"Throughout my racing career I have been very fortunate to have driven many different types of race cars for many different car owners," Christopher said. "From people like Joe Brady, who I won my first Modified tour race with, to Curt Chase, Gary Cretty, Jim Galante, Eddie Whelan and many in between, one common denominator was: I always loved driving their Modifieds."
Christopher's night also included taking home the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award and, for the first time in his career, the prestigious Most Popular Driver Award. For the first time, voting for the Most Popular Driver Award was conducted online through NASCAR.com and NASCARHomeTracks.com. More than 10,600 total votes were cast in online balloting for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers.
In addition to the coronation of series champion Christopher, the top drivers and owners and special award winners from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour were also honored Saturday night.
Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., was recognized for his championship runner-up effort in 2008 when he recorded 11 top 10s and the first two wins of his career. Todd Szegedy, the 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion, was the third place honoree.
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., earned the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award, given to the driver who earned the award the most times in 2008, while seven-time series champion Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., likewise took home the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award. Eric Beers, from Northampton, Pa., was recognized as the winner of the Coors Light Pole Award.
Glen Reen, a native of Wilbraham, Mass., earned 2008 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
"This was just a dream a year ago," Reen said. "It wasn't until February that my uncle and I were talking about which direction to go in for the 2008 season and I said something about going Tour racing and he said, 'hey, let's do it.' In a few short months we pieced together our team and did what we needed to do to my SK Light car and here we are at the end of the season with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Championship.
Four special awards were also presented during the awards banquet.
Mike Smeriglio III, owner of the No. 2 Modified team driven by Szegedy, was bestowed the Sportsmanship Award and Ken Heagy of Calverton, N.Y., was recognized with the Driver Achievement Award. The Len Boehler Award was presented to Roger Hill, owner of the No. 79 Modified team driven by Silk and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Women's Auxiliary Award went to longtime series veteran Jamie Tomaino and his wife, Cheryl.