Share your TC Story here.
Great piece from RacedayCT by with Keith Rocco here.
-- I copied this from Justin Bonsignore's Facebook page. --
It’s been a few days now and I am still struggling to find the words to say, and still can’t comprehend that this has even happening, but our racing community and the Modified community has lost an icon, a legend, a KING! There were two sides to Ted, there was TC and there was Ted. TC was this total badass who for as long as I can remember has been winning in everything any everything he has ever sat in. TC could intimidate you before the race even started, he was a win at all costs kind of guy, and didn’t make too many friends in the process, he was booed at every track he ever went to, and loved every second of it. TC put asses in the seats for decades because of this, you loved to love him, or loved to hate him, wasn’t too much in between. Like I said there was also Ted and as much of a badass that TC was, Ted was the complete opposite, he was this hard working, easy going, ice cream eating friend that just called to say hello and shoot the !+$%.
Like many others have, I want to share a few stories I have, and I think it’s fitting to share a TC and a Ted story.
My I was fortunate enough to not have TOO many TC stories, he was pretty good at intimidating me in my earlier years on the tour and often I was smart enough to let him go at the time. Back in 2015 when I was running an SK at Stafford we battled hard for the lead, I think Rocco and some others were involved and we all kept swapping the lead, well Ted kept squeezing me in the fence off of turn 2 for a few laps, so after the second or third time I finally went into turn 3 and used the old 8 wheels turn better than 4 on him, just wanted him to know I didn’t appreciate his !+$%, long story short neither of us won, I think we ran 2nd and 3rd, either way next Friday I go up to him at the driver’s meeting not remembering anything at all from the week before and in typical TC fashion he gives me the “WHAT THE !+$% EYYYY???” I’m like what’s wrong? He goes on a mini rant of how if I ever pull that again on him he is going to junk me. So, without missing a beat I go “Well Ted, you stuffed me in the fence a few times off 2 and I didn’t like that”. His response was (in that often-imitated impression) “REALLLLLYYYY” with that smirk and scrunched up nose look. I go yeah, really. He looks at me and goes “well I guess were even then and starts with his shoulder bump into you and laughing.
I have a few others and I am sure he would still point out that he owes me 2 spins still, but he was just such an pain in the ass to race against at times, like TQ racing indoors and he is pounding on your bumper in practice for 5 straight laps, just because he is faster and wants you to know it, but still with all that said I idolized him, always looking at him and going wow I hope when I am nearly 60 I can of accomplished so much and still be winning in this sport.
As much as I have played back TC moments in my head the past few days, the Ted moments are what really stick out, I had rented his backup TQ a few years ago for Atlantic City and he had me come up to his shop to work on the car and check everything out. The day started out with his two German Sheppard’s almost attacking me, or so I thought and setting off the shop alarm at the tranny shop, after that it was a lot smoother and we got the cars ready, I stayed and hung with Ted for a bit after we finished and he took me on the tour of the complex, what an amazing place he has built. You could tell how proud he was of his work, and you could see how hard he worked every day, he shared stories of all his trophies, the cars, and the business side of things. Since that weekend I became friends with Ted and he was always so complimentary when I was having success, he had no idea what that meant to me, at AC this year I knocked him off the pole in qualifying after we were ball busting all afternoon about it, he came up and put his arm around me and was genuinely happy for me, or at least I think so, and after that weekend didn’t end well for either of us, he texted me a picture of his ice cream sundae he was eating to forget about the rough weekend on the track. I could go on and on and keep sharing stories, which by the way have been amazing to read other people’s these past few days, but I am going to really miss TC and Ted, my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Quinn, his brother Michael and the entire Christopher family, as well as to all of his past and present crew members who have become his second family, and to all of his TC fans, he will never be forgotten and I hope as a group the modified community can make him proud
Awesome piece from Joe Skotnicki on RacedayCT.
-- From Ryan Preece's Instagram. --
"The last conversation I had with TC was at Oswego Speedway in Shawn Waddell's trailer.
He said to me "Heyyyyy, you're missing New Hampshire Motor Speedway to race at Kentucky? Really???"
I said 'Yep, I've been trying to get to this level and Eddie is ok with me doing it. I'm willing to give up a the driver championship to try and win again and show these guys I can do this."
For those of you that know Teddy, winning is what mattered.
He looked at me and said "Ya, I guess you're right, but that still sucks". This weekend, TC's name is riding on the roof with me and winning is the only thing that matters.
An excellent piece by Mike Twist.
John A. Milleron September 19, 2017
The folks over at Sid's Vault Productions did an amazing tribute video. Check it out!
The folks at the Mod Squad have an incredible write up.
--- I copied this from Tim Bertrand's Facebook page. ----
It's been unbelievable to read all the T.C. Stories and tributes the last two days. It just proves that you never understand exactly how valuable someone is to a sport like ours until they are gone.
Teddy drove for our team a handful of times. Most people don't know this about him - but he absolutely loved to run the midgets. He told me they were probably some of his favorite cars to run. The most memorable was a battle he and Mark Buonomo had at Stafford in 2004. They must've passed each other at least 25 times in a 25 lap feature. My least favorite time was the next year in 2005, Ted won his heat over Joey Payne after starting last (he would joke how he loved to beat Joey - had a lot of mutual respect) started 12th at Stafford and was running 3rd on lap 3, and drove down into one through the grass and backed the car into the fence. He comes in with his famous smirk - and says "are ya mad?" - I didn't say a word and walked away. Next day, he called and apologized profusely and we talked about a bunch of other stuff. I was shocked! I then learned what a genuinely good guy he was.
There wasn't a single time I saw Ted in the last 10 years that he didn't say "what the !+$% hey, why are you putting all these girls in your cars and not me? Especially (Coby, Bonsignore ) - whyyyy them?? When am I gonna get another shot?"
He would ask multiple times in a weekend if I saw him. He'd ask my Dad every time he saw him. He'd ask crew members every time he saw them.
So a few weeks back, I had an opening at the Speedbowl and called him up and said "hey Ted, want to run the midget this weekend?" - his response "well yeahhhhhh, what the !+$%, you think I was gonna say no?"
We had a ball that night. We talked about real estate, his new house, business, and everything but racing.
In typical TC fashion, he started dead last in the heat race and won going away. (Video below) Unfortunately we got a bit bent up on the first lap of the feature, and he only ended up sixth that night. It wasn't even his fault but after the race, he looked at me and said - "are ya mad?" I smiled at him and said absolutely not. He then said "you know I'm going to ask you to drive this thing again every time I see you don't you?" I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder and said "oh I'm sure that wouldn't be any different then every time I've seen you in the last 10 years".....
God bless you TC, I will miss the taunting every time I saw you. My heart felt condolences go out to your wife, Family, and various crews that supported you.
---- I copied this from official Bryon Callen's Facebook page. ----
A week ago Sunday Shawn Houlihan
and I were on the starters stand at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park as the checkers flew on the first of 3 Sunoco Modified features came to a conclusion. We met TC in the 79 on the front stretch as Shawn gave him the checkered flag to celebrate what was his 99th win. I shook his hand congratulating him on a great run and got the “Easy on the grip be nice to my hand.” with that grin of his. I shared with Shawn that afternoon after all the years I had been a starter I had never given Ted the checkers and stated that the streak continued.
Late Thursday afternoon I got a text from Tom Fox asking if I was available to be the starter at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday evening. Through my own addiction to the sport I love I jumped at the chance.
Flashback few weeks I was on the starters stand at Stafford Speedway when another albeit younger hard nose racer used an aggressive move in the last turn to win a feature with Ted receiving the same move a lot of people had seen the 13 use over the years. All of the old sayings were used after that evening, The Chrome horn, the Bump and Run or the infamous 3 Tap Rule made famous by the man himself. Penalties were assessed afterwards and back to the present this would be the last night the 99 and 13 would be starting tail.
The entire event went fairly quick and with 5 to go in the last feature of the night I surveyed the SK field as they raced down the front stretch I watched the 13 go under my feet and thought of the 27 started the race TC quietly and somewhat methodically had made his way from the rear to 4th place where he would eventually finish.
Never would I have imagined that I just flagged his very last race. It pains me to know I will now never get the chance to hand him the checkers.
Godspeed sir, #RIPTC
-----------I copied this from Doug Coby's Facebook page. It's a great read if you haven't already done so.----------
A lot to process over the last 24 hours. Our racing world lost an icon with Ted Christopher's passing. Things will never be the same for any of us and my thoughts are with his wife, twin brother, family, loyal crew members, and fans. Here are my thoughts and a few stories of Ted, as I have finally been able to collect them. This is a way too long Facebook post. It's more like a book. But Ted deserves a book. Read if you wish:
Races will still be won at our Connecticut tracks. But with far less meaning because you didn't have to beat Ted to do it. I can only imagine this was the thought many had back in 1985 when the Modified world changed like this once before. I was lucky enough to beat Ted one on one maybe one or two times...but I definitely finished second far more than I won in those battles. He always seemed to have my number. The nights Ted won were the nights when Ted was my best friend and it was good racing! The few times I laid a bumper on him though, I was shunned from his existence for a week or two, or so it felt to me...probably because I usually laid the bumper on him for 3rd or 4th and not while putting on a show for a win. Unlike Keith Rocco who regularly raced Ted for wins, I always tried to get rid of him far sooner than that. !+$% if I wanted Ted in my mirror with 2 to go! No thanks!
Nicknames will still be given. But with far less creativity, because they won't come from Ted while he was holding The King's court with 5-6 other drivers and crew members standing around...all of us hoping that we weren't about to be the next victim of a smartass comment or verbal lashing in front of everyone about our lack of car control or inability to run the outside lane. I was labeled a "!+$%in Non" by Ted after one race where I guess I must have caused a wreck he was in. I don't have a racing nickname as many drivers do, so "Non" has continued to be frequently thrown at me by Fran, Gino, Mike Ryan, and all of the guys on the Czarnecki 20 team among others. And when I win, they all say it in that so-easy-to-mimic "TC voice"..."Heyyy nice jobbbb ya !+$%in nonnnn".
As a driver I wanted to be part of TCs club. One of the ones he no longer made fun of regularly. The ones who he knew "got it" and he could joke around with about all of the hacks we race with and "those !+$%in lapped cars, what the !+$%kkkk".
I will miss the thunderous echoes of boos that rained down on Ted during driver introductions. I forget where we were one time during a Tour Race but Ted knew he was going to get a ton of boos, and as his name was about to be announced he turned and said to me "Get ready! Listen to this..." Of course the boos were louder than ever, he waved to the crowd and looked at me laughing with that squinty eyed TC grin. You alllll knew that grin. There was one other time that the majority of the crowd actually CHEERED for him somewhere, and as he climbed into his car we both looked at each other with shocked looks on our faces and instantly laughed. He said "That's just because we don't race here that often."
I will also forever miss the barbs and jabs he would give me after some of my conflicts with other Tour drivers over the past few seasons. I recently bumped into him in the pits at Stafford one night this season and he said, "What the !+$%kkk you're worse than me nowwww", followed by that little TC shove-thing he used to do to let you know he was only kidding. Along with the grin.
Ted and I were certainly not the best of friends. Hell I don't even know if he even really liked me! I don't have his phone number. We only talked at the track. But I will forever regret one thing. Ted had recently finished building his new house this year, not too far from where I live in Southington but far enough that it's not on one of my regular routes around town. In my last three conversations with him there were no barbs or jabs about anything...all we did was have good serious talks about houses. My house flipping business. His new house. And in each conversation all he said was, "What the !+$% you never come over to see my new house. When are you going to come over!?" All the guy wanted was to show me his new house and garage because he was so proud of it. After the third time he said it to me, I finally realized he was for real and not just making conversation. Week after week I kept telling myself to just show up one day, and that after all these years maybe, just maybe, Ted Christopher might start to actually consider me a friend and not just a "!+$%in non". I never went to his house. And I'll never know if going there just once would have made for a better friendship, maybe even been in the club.
Last night as we raced at Riverhead, the track that has tormented me for YEARS, after the news of Teds crash I just knew it was going to be my night to win. I just knew it. And when I grabbed the lead from Timmy Solomito with under 50 to go, held him off on a restart with 25 to go, and then got to 20,15,10 to go with a 1-2 car length lead...I just knew it was the right thing that on this night a Connecticut car would win on Long Island and leave all of those Long Islanders pissed off. It was going to be my night to conquer Riverhead and I was going to do it for Big Head Ted.
8 to go. 7 to go. And then I quickly closed in on two lapped cars racing side by side with just 5 laps to go. I hesitated for a split second, got steamrolled by the 16, and finished second for the 5th time this season. All in the blink of an eye. I haven't been that disappointed in years. I was SUPPOSED to WIN for Ted. Or so I thought.
It wasn't until I got back to the pit area that things became a little clearer and easier to digest. I looked down at the pit stall where our hauler was parked and I saw a freshly painted white number 16 on the ground. I turned and said to my crew guys, "How ironic is it that we are parked in stall 16 and Timmy just beat us?" And then, I looked a few spots over at Timmy's parking spot and surer than !+$%, emblazoned on the pavement near the back of the 16 hauler's pit gate - Ted's famous number "13".
On my ride home I knew that the way it played out with 5 to go was the way it was meant to be - one on one with the "13", "those !+$%innn lapped cars" got in the way, and the "!+$%in non" finished second again, all with a playful shove and a grin.
RIP to the best driver of our generation. I felt this way once before, ten years ago - things will certainly never be the same, nor should they be when you lose someone of such great importance.