STAFFORD – On May 23,1986 the movie Top Gun was all the rage at the box office, but few would have known at Stafford Motor Speedway that the track’s real Top Gun was essentially being born.
On that day, a driver named Ted Christopher won for the first time in the track’s premier SK Modified division.
Fast forward to Friday at Stafford Speedway and 27 years later that first time winner from 1986 was celebrating a big one.
Christopher, of Plainville, won the Coors Light SK Modified 80, marking his 100th career SK Modified victory at the track.
“It feels real good,” Christopher said. “That’s a big number. I really want to thank all the people through the years who’ve helped me. I really want to thank my crew this year, they’ve stuck with me. We’ve had some tough times with the car but I have to admit, tonight was the best it ran so I really want to thank them. On a hot night, it was definitely tough out there.”
Doug Coby of Milford was second and Eric Berndt of Cromwell third.
The 55-year old Christopher has eight career SK Modified championships at Stafford and over the years has built a reputation as one of the best short track racers in the country. But no matter where he’s raced or in what series, he’s always considered Stafford home.
“It’s a huge milestone for me doing it at this track, Stafford has been so good to me over the years,” Christopher said. “When you look at it, it’s a huge number. I’m glad I could accomplish it and finally get it over. I hope I get a few more before the year is out and maybe try to contend for a championship. …. It’s a big accomplishment, something I’m very very proud to do here at Stafford.”
Bo Gunning is a distant second to Christopher on the track’s SK Modified win list with 47 victories.
Overall Christopher has 121 victories at Stafford Speedway, the best of any driver in history. Along with the 100 SK Modified victories has he has 12 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins, six Pro Stock victories, one K&N Pro Series East win, one Valenti Modified Racing Series win and one Pro All Stars Series victory.
Christopher took the lead from Coby on lap five and never trailed again.
“We’ve had some good runs, but this was probably our strongest run from start to finish [of the season],” Coby said. “I was better than Ted in the beginning and then I got a little too free in the corners and he kind of stayed neutral. They had a good car tonight and so did we. He got his 100th win so congratulations to him.”
For Christopher, the goal-setting ways continued after his celebration Friday.
“Probably the goal for me now is to try to get to 10 titles.” Christopher said.