Christopher Takes Second Straight Win At Caraway Speedway
Holds off late-race charge by Stinson to collect victory
ASHEBORO, N.C. (April 23, 2011) Ted Christopher edged Thomas Stinson in a two-lap dash to the finish at Caraway Speedway on Saturday to capture his second NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory in less than a week.
Christopher, a veteran of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with 294 career starts and 39 wins on that circuit, took command from pole-sitter George Brunnhoelzl III on the sixth lap of the Caraway 150 and held off Stinson in a green-white-checkered finish to win by .284 seconds. Christopher's victory follows his win last Sunday at South Boston, Va. It marked his sixth career win in 15 starts in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and his fourth at Caraway.
Although Christopher took the lead on Lap six and remained out front the rest of the night, it was anything but easy for the Plainville, Conn. driver.
We had a really good car but the power steering let go with 13 laps remaining in the race and I don't know what happened and it really made it tough, especially with my (right) hand, Christopher said. That late caution helped us out.
Christopher was able to build leads throughout the race by as much as eight car lengths only to see Brunnhoelzl make a charge for the lead on occasion. Stinson, who had started 17th, caught the pair on Lap 125 and gained the second spot on Lap 131. Stinson kept moving closer to Christopher and was at his bumper when the ninth and final caution of the race was given to the field on Lap 145 for an eight-car incident in Turn 4.
Stinson, who ended his streak of top-five finishes last weekend at South Boston when he was involved in an early-race accident, felt he could have made it interesting if the race went another lap or two at the end. Stinson was a lap down in the race by Lap 30, but rebounded to contend for his first tour win.
We went down a lap early and got the lucky dog and had a good car but had some problems, Stinson said. We had to get a push after the clutch went out and we actually had a fire in the dash early in the race. We didn't know whether to come in and park or what.
Stinson made an attempt to get by Christopher on the outside during the final restart but didn't have enough time.
I kept saying to myself I am going to beat Ted Christopher for the win' but we didn't have quite enough at the end, Stinson said. I think if we could have had two more laps I could have gotten by him.
Another driver who made a late charge was John Smith. Smith picked up his only tour win last July at Caraway and appeared to have a strong car as the laps wound down.
I think we had a little more right rear tire left that the rest of the guys and it almost worked out for us, Smith said. I thought I might have waited too late after riding around the first 75 or 100 laps but we had some late cautions and almost got the win. (Thomas) Stinson had a good car and it is really hard to beat Christopher.
Brunnhoelzl was fourth with Fleming fifth. Jason Myers followed in sixth with Austin Pack, Tim Brown, Lee Jeffreys and James Civali rounding out the top-10. Pack used his second straight top-10 finish at Caraway to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award, while Stinson swept the Featherlite Most Improved Driver and Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award with his performance. Brunnhoelzl moved into a tie for second place with Brian Loftin for Coors Light Pole Awards with his ninth one after qualifying earlier Saturday.
Brunnhoelzl enters the spring break with a 75-point lead over Smith in the standings with Stinson, Myers and Brown completing the top five. The tour returns to Caraway on July 1 for the next event on the schedule.
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Whelen Southern Modified Tour-Caraway 150 Results
At Caraway Speedway
Lap length: 0.455 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (4) #00 Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 150 laps, 66.567 mph.
2. (17) #7 Thomas Stinson, Chester, VA, Chevrolet, 150.
3. (11) #25 John Smith, Mount Airy, NC, Chevrolet, 150.
4. (1) #09 George Brunnhoelzl III, West Babylon, NY, Chevrolet, 150.
5. (6) #40 Frank Fleming, Mt. Airy, NC, Ford, 150.
6. (9) #4 Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, NC, Ford, 150.
7. (13) #31 Austin Pack, Winston-Salem, NC, Chevrolet, 150.
8. (7) #02 Tim Brown, Cana, VA, Chevrolet, 150.
9. (12) #1 Lee Jeffreys, Winston-Salem, NC, Ford, 150.
10. (8) #79 James Civali, Meriden, CT, Pontiac, 150.
11. (16) #77 Gary Putnam, Concord, NC, Chevrolet, 149.
12. (19) #2 Josh Nichols, Winston-Salem, NC, Chevrolet, 149.
13. (2) #44 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH, Chevrolet, 143, accident.
14. (18) #33 Gary Fountain, Clermont, Fla., Chevrolet, 130, accident.
15. (3) #11 Zach Brewer, Winston-Salem, NC, Chevrolet, 112.
16. (10) #80 Michael Speeney, Newtown, Pa., Chevrolet, 108.
17. (14) #8 Jonathan Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL, Chevrolet, 98, overheating.
18. (5) #36 L.W. Miller, Dushore, PA, Chevrolet, 98, suspension.
19. (15) #07 Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y., Chevrolet, 36, engine.
20. (20) #12 Mike Norman, Lewisville, NC, Ford, 0, clutch.
Time of Race: 1 hour 1 minute 31 seconds
Margin of Victory: .284 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: G.Brunnhoelzl III (102.735 mph, 15.944 seconds)
Caution Flags: 9 for 36 laps.
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: G. Brunnhoelzl III 1-5; T. Christopher 6-150.
Standings: 1. G. Brunnhoelzl III, 705; 2. J. Smith, 630; 3. T. Stinson, 596; 4. J. Myers, 593; 5. T. Brown, 587; 6. Z. Brewer, 580; 7. J. Civali, 580; 8. F. Fleming, 553; 9. A. Seuss, 534; 10. L. Miller, 530.