It’s been more than a year since NASCAR driver Ted Christopher, the modified racing legend who has competed in just about every car imaginable, was killed in a plane crash. He was 59.
On September 16, 2017, Christopher was on his way to a race at Riverhead Raceway in New York when his plane went down in North Branford, Connecticut, NBC Sports reported at the time. The pilot was also killed.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, who is currently on an indefinite leave on absence as a result of DWI and drug possession charges, released the following statement following Christopher’s death:
“As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. “He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans.”
Christopher’s racing career is indeed legendary. He won the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Tour Modified champion, and two years prior, was voted as one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history. He raced at every level of NASCAR, including the Monster Energy Cup series (six starts), the NASCAR Xfinity Series (21 starts), and the Camping World Truck Series (two starts).
The Hartford Courant also noted he’s won more races than any other driver at both Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway.
Shortly following the devastating crash, The Courant spoke to a witness, Carrie Carigan, who hiked into the woods after hearing the crash and described the terrible scene.
“The plane is literally straight up and down,” Carigan said. They were saying maybe it hit a tree and literally went straight down — it was just horrific. The nose is down and the wings and everything are just spread out through the woods. I really didn’t want to look at it too much.”
NASCAR’s top names quickly took to social media to offer condolences:
Rest in peace, Ted.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 16, 2017.