Riverhead Raceway Announces Four Event Series For Ted Christopher Cup For 2020 Season

Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz are honored and excited to announce a four race series for the NASCAR Modifieds that will encompass the extra distance races scheduled for the 2020 season, now known as the Crown Jewel Modified events, at the historic quarter mile oval. In addition to the weekly NASCAR track championship points the series will carry a separate set of points awarding the top driver the Ted Christopher Cup. Christopher one of the most successful drivers to ever strap into an open wheel Modified of any kind tragically lost his life in an airplane crash while flying to Riverhead Raceway for a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on September 16th, 2017 at 59-years young.

The four race Crown Jewel modified series is the concept of Riverhead Raceway race director Scott Tapley, who along with track GM John Ellwood put the final touches on the series. The chase for the Ted Christopher Cup will start with the biggest race of the season at Riverhead the Saturday May 30th Islip 300, a race that pays the winner a cool $7,000. The second race will unfold on Saturday July 4th during the 70th Year Celebration with the NASCAR Modifieds set to do battle in a 70-lap tilt. Race number three takes place during the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Saturday July 25th with the four race series set to conclude Saturday night August 29th during the NASCAR 100. During the victory lane celebration at the conclusion of the NASCAR 100 the Ted Christopher Cup will be presented to the champion of the series. Track management additionally disclosed the Ted Christopher Cup will be a perpetual award much like the Big Brothers & Big Sisters Drivers Cup that is presented annually to the track’s NASCAR Modified champion.

GM John Ellwood noted the rules package for the series that Chief Technical Director Randy Murray will be implementing are the same that have been used during the annual Islip 300. That allows teams who run Modified Racing Series, Race of Champions or Tri-Track Series to run their series rules while competing in the Crown Jewel modified events at Riverhead and chasing the prestigious Ted Christopher Cup at Riverhead Raceway. All teams will be required to run the track Hoosier Racing Tire. The starting field for all four races will be set via time trials with no invert or redraw in play a policy new for 2020 at Riverhead Raceway.

Prior to making the announcement on the Ted Christopher Cup concept John Ellwood spoke first with Ted’s widow Quinn, “had a wonderful conversation with Quinn the other day and she is very touched about what we are doing in honor of her husband. In fact she told me she’s going to try and make it out to the four races and we hope to have her present the Ted Christopher Cup in August” John noted.

The driving career of “TC” indeed is a fabled one spread across numerous race tracks and divisions in the northeast. Ted stood victorious in the historic Riverhead Raceway victory lane 3 times in Whelen Modified Tour competition starting with his win in June of 2002 in the famed #13 and for the 3rd time in 2006 in Eddie Whelan’s #36 machine. Weekly Saturday night racing was a passion for “TC” and in fact Ted spent one summer racing weekly at Riverhead Raceway driving for Wayne Anderson and his Eastport Feeds team with the combination winning once that year in route to a 4th place finish in the championship standings. Teddy enjoyed most of his success at the famed Stafford Motor Speedway where he was a 9 time SK Modified champion totaling 131 wins along the way. “TC” scored four Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified titles tallying 99 victories while visiting the winners circle 47 times at the Waterford Speedbowl in a SK Modified. Ted’s WMT stats include the 2008 championship and 42 career wins, third on the all-time win list.

Despite all that on track success Ted Christopher remained one of the most popular and charismatic personalities in the game and no matter where or what he competed race fans and media flocked to him simply just to be around the man affectionately known as the “King” to many in the northeast racing community. Riverhead Raceway will honor and remember that legacy this year and for seasons to come with the Ted Christopher Cup.

Additionally, John Ellwood announced that the six divisions that make up the weekly program at Riverhead Raceway will have also have a “Triple Crown” series in 2020 presented by Miller Lite the details of which will be released next week.

The 2020 NASCAR Weekly Series at Riverhead Raceway will open Saturday May 9th with the NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models. Crate Modifieds, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks and INEX Legend Race Cars all in action. Two practice days will proceed opening night on Saturday afternoon April 25th and May 2nd. The May Meltdown Enduro program will hit the track Sunday afternoon May 3rd.

The complete 2020 schedule will be revealed at www.riverheadraceway.com after January 1st

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  1. What a great way to honor the undisputed king of short track modified racing. Great job by the Partridge family and Riverhead Raceway. May TC’s memory carry on for years to come

  2. Smart move by Riverhead to yes honor TC but also do something to make the 4 races OPEN COMP friendly by saying TRI-TRACK, ROC, MRS rules prevail, this way also STAFFORD tour legal cars can compete just like Stafford OPEN COMP races, AND ADDING TC’s name may bring Stafford cars to RIVERHEAD!

  3. What about Stefanik?

  4. Darealgoodfella,
    What about Stefanik? I don’t remember Stefanik ever being a regular competitor at Riverhead. It’s a memorial award in dedication to a driver who not only won there and spent some time as a regular there, but also had a truly deep passion for the place. If you think this is some type of slap at Mike Stefanik I think you’re far off base. Like galaxies off base.

  5. Kudos to Riverhead for doing that Shaun thanks for keeping us informed all year long merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. Nope, you are wrong. I never perceived or intended this as a slap at Stefanik. Oh no, not a slap at Stefanik at all.

    Stefanik had an outstanding career and numerous championships. Kinda figured there would be some sort of honorary type events and what not announced for him by now.

  7. Another classic by Dadope

  8. I would have expected Stafford to do something like this for TC. After all, Stafford was pretty much his home track, and he helped Stafford survive and thrive. TC was the draw at Stafford. I’ve been wondering why Stafford hasn’t come up with something like this.

    But then, TC made it clear he wasn’t racing to make friends, with his hilarious comment about racing vs summer camp. Classic TC.

    Then there are the numerous Evans dedicated/memorial races throughout a season. Evans was a great ambassador and diplomat of modified racing, as was Stefanik. Stefanik was always the diplomat, well, except when he was spun at Daytona in one of those preseason races. But given that Stefanik was such a diplomat and ambassador for modified racing, I’d soon expect to see some races done in his honor as the Evans races are.

  9. I guess my question is what about Mike Stefanik? I am surprised as well that no events have been named to memorialize his career. Look at the mans stats, unbelievably impressive to say the least. I am not a dareal fan however he raises a good point.

  10. Christmas morning, a magical time. No grand children to watch opening presents but the long ago memories of the kids are still strong. Not even a Christmas celebration today as it has been moved to Sunday for logistical reasons at which time we shall combine our traditions with the Patriots final regular season game for a near perfect day. So here I am writing this to the chagrin of many no doubt with only joy in my heart for the season and promise of a new year.and a goal to write something worth reading.
    Good news first of all DGF. Stafford does memorialize Ted Christopher in their TC13 lapper that is part of an open event. Not as grandiose as Riverhead but it’s two years old now and the tradition is building. With regard to Stefanik I agree with those that say he should be remembered. However he passed only last September. It’s early and the events will come for sure.
    If a memorial race is at it’s core is a time to remember a person then mission accomplished. The Riverhead TC offering once again caused me to review the guys racing record and it’s mind boggling how much racing he did. We each own a piece of his career and mine is the SK’s going back to the 80’s at Stafford. It’s also clear that it was so much more that I didn’t experience but respect.
    From what I can glean this Riverhead thing perplexes a few of you and if that’s the case I agree. Far be it from me to question Mr. Courchesne’s recollections having a personal relationship with Christopher but I just do not recall Riverhead being a big part of Ted’s career. Racing there for sure with the NWMT and other events but known to race there not so much. Checking Wikipedia and other on line references, doing searches I can find no memorable history at Riverhead. Other then hitting the pace car obviously which is so epically ironic it exceeds the ruminations of the fiction of Stephen King.
    That said, as long as family survivors are good with it a track can memorialize any one for any reason at any time. What I tend to feel uncomfortable with is the point at which remembrance becomes opportunism and crass commercialism. It’s a very blurry line. A double edged sword fraught with emotion. My question is, is too much remembrance self defeating and a bit morbid? At some point does it cross the line to being a mere promotional tool that highlights living in the past.
    Maybe it’s because I see this right after seeing the Stafford podcast where Rocco spends a great deal of time talking about Ted Christopher. They were outstanding anecdotes for sure including the Pennink like shot Rocco gave Christopher when he was a pup. If you haven’t watched it you’re missing out. What I don’t want however is for modified racing locally to be a place where homage has to be given to the guy in every conversation about modified racing. That’s an exaggeration but hopefully it makes the point. Racing is more about the next race and too much past is not healthy for the sport.
    So as I said as long as the survivors are good with it and the Riverhead fan base likes it who am I to question. I’m just surprised. Surprised that a track with Riverheads tradition that is equal to or exceeds any in the Northeast with it’s own great drivers would not only have a TC event but make it so extensive.
    Finally to all those that would be annoyed by the length or content of this comment please keep in mind that this is not only the Christmas season but also the season of Festivus. That’s right, Festivus for the rest of us. Maybe the perfect holiday for RaceDayCT in that one of it primary elements is the airing of grievances. So have at it.

  11. Wait a minute here. Teddy died 2 years ago AND was still very much an active AND winning driver. Stefanik just passed this year. Let’s settle down and maybe this can be addressed down the road. Kudos to Riverhead for doing this, no reason to steer the story in another direction.

  12. This is a sad attempt to try to boost car counts to races that already existed. Putting TC name on these races dosen’t hide the fact that Riverhead does not pay a respectable purse other than the 300. The masses are not going to cross the sound for $1450 to win and $125 to take the green. If going to do this let’s put some cash into this to make it worthy of the name? If this was the Charlie J cup and Ted was alive he would not be attending, hard statement but truth.

  13. Evans , Desarro , Jarzombek, Baldwin ,Cookman, Blewet and others don’t have races in there honor at Stafford or Thompson so I wouldn’t hold my breath for Stefanik, couldn’t agree more with Ken this was about TC and Riverhead

  14. Agree with Rich.

    If any track should respect and honor TC is should have been Stafford. TC was the cash cow for Stafford, the goose that laid the golden eggs, etc.

    The TC113 lap SK sounds about right. Perhaps the TC 13 lappers were done in haste with little thought.

    Stafford needs to create a Monument Park, like is done at Yankee Stadium honoring legendary Yankees, and inaugurate it with a plaque of TC.

    I didn’t see TC having any special relationship with Riverhead. For Riverhead to claim TC as their own is pure capitalism. Riverhead was an “away” track for TC. Riverhead should be honoring Charlie Jarzombek, their local legend.

    Doug, great job bringing up the time when TC hit the pace car at Riverhead. We were stunned watching that happen. Once it was confirmed everybody was okay (airbags went off in the pace car), everyone had a good laugh. How often does the pace car get hit, and who else but TC to do THAT???? But back in the day, the infields at these tracks were packed with crew, tires, etc. and there were no infield walls, barriers, etc. Crazy times. Look up the pics of the Islip big events and you can see it. Crew, jacks, tires, tool boxes all over the infield, no walls.

  15. I think the TC races are for their regulars with the hopes of the 51, 58, 36, 7ny and other tour guys showing at a few of the races. I wouldn’t put this in the category of an open series. Still fun though. I don’t like races on July 4th. A lot of other things going on that day

    I’d rather wait and do a tribute to Steffy right than rush it. There is always a certain amount of sadness with all of these tribute events The more we have to have the tougher it is. Letting a little time go by is ok. There will be a Nascar HOF induction coming too

  16. It needs to be made clear that these races are NOT NWMT events. These are races within the regular and Riverhead Tour Type series which happens to follow NASCAR Modified Tour Type rules. A remarkable and resilient series that exclusively runs at Riverhead.

    First race: May 30, sandwiched between NWMT Jennerstown (5/23) & NWMT Stafford (6/1)

    Second race: July4th, NWMT Riverhead on the June 20th, TTOMS on July 1, then NWMT Wall on July 11.

    Third Race: July 25, same day as TTOMS Star, NWMT on July 18, and NWMT Iowa on July 31.

    Fourth Race: August 29th. NWMT Thompson on August 19th, and NWMT Oswego on Sept 5.

    These are regular Riverhead Tour Type car races being tabbed to make up the TC Cup. Let’s see what kind of sponsorship this gets and TC Cup championship purse and distribution.

    Schedule doesn’t look too roomy for some NWMT regulars to show up at these TC Cup races, unless they have a spare car laying around. I wouldn’t put a NWMT contending car at risk in these races. It’s a four race commitment.

    As far as rules go, Riverhead is not a horsepower track, so just about anything goes, get the weights right and fair.

    This is nothing more than a mini-series within a regular, old and established local NASCAR Tour Type mod series that runs at a single track.

    Not quite sure many MRS, RoC, or TTOMS cars will have a chance against the home track regulars, so they won’t show. Even the NWMT Tour races are usually dominated by the teams that were/are Riverhead regulars.

    Stafford should be doing something like this in the SK series to honor TC.

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