DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2001) - Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., who for nearly two decades has strapped himself into modified stock cars and competed each weekend at speedways throughout New England, raced to 15 victories in 18 ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2001) - Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., who for nearly two decades has strapped himself into modified stock cars and competed each weekend at speedways throughout New England, raced to 15 victories in 18 starts at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway to claim the 2001 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship announced today by NASCAR. Christopher will receive more than $160,000 from the $1.7 million NASCAR Weekly Racing Series point fund.
Rob Wilcox, who races in the New England Region of the ShorTrack Division in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series has been announced as the 2001 national champion.
Both drivers will be honored on stage at the Peabody Hotel and Resort in Orlando, Fla., during the national champion’s banquet on Friday, November 16th.
“ This is totally incredible,” exclaimed Christopher, who last season claimed his first NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional championship in the New England Region.“ You can set your goals in racing, but it’s hard to achieve a regional championship, let alone the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship. All you can do is show up each week and race as hard as you possibly can and hope for the best. I knew we had an opportunity to win the region again, because we had enough victories, but we needed to get the point lead. It was a real battle. I thought we might have a shot at the national title, but you’re never positive. To actually win the nation is hard to comprehend.”
Christopher, who raced to the national crown while competing in the SK Modified division at the historic .625-mile Thompson International Speedway, also competes at Stafford Motor Speedway in the New England Region of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. He also races regularly in Featherlite Modified Series and Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring competition. Christopher also currently leads the track championship point standings in the SK Modified division at Stafford, which completes its season on Sunday, September 30. At both Thompson and Stafford features are handicapped with high point drivers always starting toward the back of the field with his average starting position at Thompson being 13th and 16th at Stafford. Christopher’s 2001 results at Thompson eclipsed his 2000 personal best records set at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway by six victories
“ Ted Christopher is an exceptional competitor within the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series,” stated Chris Boals, director of NASCAR Touring and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.“ Ted will be an excellent national champion. He is dedicated to racing and to the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. His achievements this season have been outstanding and will be recognized for years to come. Thousands of competitors throughout the nation just like Ted Christopher strive each race weekend to achieve the same honor. All of our regional and national competitors join an esteemed list of select drivers that have become NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional and national champions.”
Christopher, who operates his own heavy equipment transmission repair company in Connecticut, competes for car owner, Jim Gallante. Gallante and Christopher have teamed together for the much of the past decade.
“ Jim has provided our team with everything necessary for our team to perform at a championship level,” added Christopher.“ Our relationship has been tremendous over the years. I am just proud to be able to give Jim and this team something back for what he has given us.”
Even though Christopher has been declared the 2001 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion he still has several NASCAR sanctioned races to participate in before the championship celebration can begin.
“ Racing is my life,” offered Christopher.“ I do this because I love it, not for any other reason. To win this championship takes dedication from every individual on our team. Everyone involved with our operation deserves a piece of this championship. To me, I have the fun job. I get into the car and drive it as hard as I can. I love passing cars. I don’t look forward to the off-season, but I want to savor this with our team. I’m really looking forward to the banquet and the celebration. We still have some racing to do this season and maybe even a few more wins left this season, but no matter what, we are going to enjoy this championship.”
All NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional champions will receive $40,900 from participating series sponsors. In addition, those sponsors create the $115,500 that the national champion will receive.
In addition to winning over $160,000 in posted prize money for the national crown, Christopher and his team will also collect $1,000 for a local track award, an NWRS track championship helmet along with a leather NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion’s jacket and a champion’s diamond ring. Christopher’s total winnings for the 2001 season, including local track awards, will be well over $163,000 including his efforts at Stafford Motor Speedway, which is a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series record.
Christopher’s crew chief, Craig Ragaglia, will receive $5,000 for the national champions crew chief award from Lincoln Electric and a limited edition Lincoln Welder.
The $1.7 million national and regional championship point fund includes contributions from 23 contingency program sponsors including: Anheuser-Busch, Berryman, CV Products, Champion, Cintas, Craftsman, Clevite, Earl’s, Edelbrock, Featherlite, Goodyear, Holley, Hoosier, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, Moroso, Prestone, 76, Gatorade, Lincoln Electric, 3M, True Value, Raybestos, and Featherlite that have joined together to create the largest point fund in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series history.
NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Regional Champions:
Blue Ridge Region:
Phillip Morris of Ruckersville, Va., scored the Blue Ridge Region championship in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series on the final night of the season. Morris surpassed Wade Day of Blountville, Tenn., who won the regional crown in 2000, in the track championship standings at New River Valley Speedway to capture the regional title. Morris’ final victory moved him past Mark Vineyard of Powell, Tenn., who competes at Atomic Motor Speedway in Knoxville, Tenn., and into the regional lead. It is the first regional title for Morris, who competes in the NWRS Late Model Stock Car division at New River Valley Speedway in Radford, Va., where he earned 13 wins and 16 top-five finishes in 19 starts. Morris, who has been a dominant force for many years in NWRS Late Model Stock Car competition, will take home $41,900 for his regional crown and finished second in the national standings.
John O’Neal of Kansas City, Mo., earned the top spot in the Heartland Region of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and recorded his first regional championship. O’Neal, who competes in the Late Model division at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., collected 13 victories this season and was in the hunt for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship for much of the season. O’Neal held off Clint Bowyer of Emporia, Kan., who competes at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., for much of the season and will collect $41,900 for his regional crown. O’Neal finished the season with 17 top-five finishes in 18 starts and third in the national standings.
Brandon Bendele of Adkins, Tex., drove to his second Sunbelt Region championship in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. Bendele, who competes in the Late Model Stock Car division at San Antonio (Tex.) Speedway, collected 15 victories and 16 top-five finishes in 18 starts. Bendele, who scored his first regional crown came in 1999, finished fourth in the nation and will take home over $42,000 for the title. Bendele held off Jerry Williams of Ravelele, S.C., who competes at Summerville (S.C.) Speedway, for most of the season to capture the crown.
Jeff Aikey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, scored his first NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship in the Midwest Region at Farley (Iowa) Speedway. Aikey, who competes in the NWRS dirt Late Model division at the .500-mile dirt oval this season, has scored nine victories this season. Aikey finished fifth in the national championship standings. Aikey has been close to capturing a regional title in the past, but 2001 finally became his year. In addition to his nine victories, Aikey scored 16 top-five finishes in 18 starts. Aikey will collect $41,900 for his regional championship efforts.
Atlantic Seaboard Region:
Brandon Butler of Richmond, Va., won his way to the top of the standings in the Atlantic Seaboard Region of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series in the 2001 season. Butler will collect over $41,900 for winning the regional battle and finishing sixth in the nation with nine wins and 18 top-five finishes in 19 events. Butler competes in the NWRS Late Model Stock Car division at South Boston (Va.) Motor Speedway. Butler battled throughout the season with Doug Godsey of Richmond, Va., who races at Southampton Motor Speedway in Capron, Va., and Dustin Storm of Prince Frederick, Md., who races at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Va., for the top spot in the Atlantic Seaboard Region. The trio was grouped together and battled for the lead throughout the season with Butler and Godsey swapping the regional lead on several occasions.
Vern Bliss of Arcade, N.Y., will take home the $41,900 for the Northeast Region championship. Bliss, who competes in the Late Model Pro Stock division at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway, sprinted to 10 victories this season to earn his second track championship and his first regional crown. Bliss captured 17 top-five and 19 top-ten finishes on his way to finishing seventh in the national standings. Bliss will become the first regional champion to represent the high-banked .375-mile Western New York oval. Bliss led the region for most of the season and fended off the challenges of Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, Pa., who competes at Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Pa., and J.R. Kent of Horseheads, N.Y., who competes at Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome, to capture the crown.
Pacific Coast Region:
Aaron Days of Turlock, Calif., locked up his first Pacific Coast Region championship in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series with a victory in the final week of the season. Days will collect over $42,000 for his efforts between regional and track awards. Days, who competes in the Sportsman Late Model division at Altamont Raceway Park in Tracy, Calif., has earned nine wins and 15 top-five finishes this season. Days fended off the challenges of two-time and defending Pacific Coast Region champion, Mark Welch of Orangevale, Calif., to earn the title. Days finished eighth in the overall national championship standings.
Ricky Bilderback of Rockton, Ill., captured his first-ever Mid-America Region championship in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series this season. Bilderback turned in a season long performance that barely out-distanced the defending NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion, Gary Webb of Blue Grass, Iowa, in the closest regional battle of the season. Bilderback, who competes in the Late Model division at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway, visited victory lane on ten occasions with 15 top-five and 17 top-ten finishes to earn a Competition Performance Index (CPI) of .7558, while Webb’s CPI was .7550. Bilderback will earn over $42,000 for his efforts and finished ninth in the national standings.
Great West Region:
Tom Moriarity of Monroe, Wash., scored his first Great West Region championship in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. Moriarity, who competes in the Super Stock division at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., scored four victories in 20 starts to move to the top spot in the region during the final weeks of the season. Moriarity had 16 top-five and 18 top-ten finishes this season and will earn over $42,000 for the regional title. Moriarity fended off the challenges of Lynn Hardy of West Jordan, Utah, who competes at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Jerry Robertson of Arvada, Colo., who competes at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colo., and is the defending region champion, to capture the championship. Moriarity finished tenth in the national standings.
<pre> 2001 NASCAR WEEKLY RACING SERIES NATIONAL STANDINGS FEATURE DIVISION
Pos Driver Name Region Home Track (State) Starts Wins Top-5 Top-10 CPI 1 Ted Christopher New England Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway 18 15 16 16 .9083333 2 Phillip Morris Blue Ridge New River Valley (Va.) Speedway 19 13 16 16 .8649676 3 John O'Neal Heartland I-70 (Mo.) Speedway 18 13 17 17 .8475316 4 Brandon Bendele Sunbelt San Antonio (Tex.) Speedway 18 15 16 16 .8411366 5 Jeff Aikey Midwest Farley (Iowa) Speedway 18 9 16 16 .8378125 6 Brandon Butler Atlantic Seaboard South Boston (Va.) Speedway 19 9 18 18 .8150419 7 Vern Bliss Northeast Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway 19 10 17 19 .7936902 8 Aaron Days Pacific Coast Altamont (Calif.) Raceway Park 18 9 15 16 .7666677 9 Ricky Bilderback Mid-America Rockford (Ill.) Speedway 19 10 15 17 .7583004 10 Tom Moriarity Great West Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway 20 4 16 18 .7038540