LEE, N.H. — Ted Christopher, NASCAR’s winningest modified driver of the past 10 years, makes his first-ever start in this Friday night’s Ollie Silva Memorial Classic supermodified race here at Lee USA Speedway. Christopher joins a highly competitive field including 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck national champion Johnny Benson, a pair of six-time International Supermodified Association champions, Chris Perley and Russ Wood, plus four-time Northeast Midget Racing Association champ Ben Seitz.
Christopher, of Plainville Ct., will be driving the potent Clyde Booth aerodynamic No. 61 winged roadster from Mooresville, North Carolina, attempting his first Lee race in the cockpit of a supermod. He has already won a 50-lap ISMA main event in the car last month in first appearance at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Christopher also won during his first try with the car in another feature race in Berlin, Michigan.
Famed for his crossover racing moves, setting up a competing driver to pass on the outside before sneaking by with a quick inside pass, Christopher is the talk of modified racing fans in the Northeast. Lee is one of the few tracks where he has never won. He also provides a stiff challenge for Perley, the defending Ollie Silva Memorial Classic champion and a three-time
ISMA winner this season, who is famed for his daring outside passing in the
“Tell Perley he better be ready. We’re not going to the Silva race to finish second,” promised Christopher, not known to be timid with his aggressive on-track maneuvers or his straight-to-the-point conversations. “He beat me once earlier this season (at Stafford, Ct.). It’s not going to happen this
Three Canadian drivers also are in Friday night’s field: two-time 2011 feature winner Toronto’s Mike Lichty, 2008 Silva Classic winner Mark Sammut, of London, Ontario, and Craig Rayvals, an Ottawa supermod star who broke his leg in a spectacular flip during the 2009 Silva event at Lee.
New Hampshire drivers Jeff Locke, Dave Duggan, Joey Scanlon and Eddie Witkum Jr. are also in the fast field of entries along with Justin Belfiore, a former Classic 150 champion.
Silva build a legendary Racing Hall of Fame career winning throughout the U.S. and Canada between 1949 and 1981. He died at age 75 in 2004. His famous “Big O” supermodified car, the winner of more than 100 feature races, will pace Friday night’s race, the ninth annual event in his honor.
The Frank Callahan Memorial 350 supermodified main event also is on Friday’s program. Mike Ordway Jr., of Fremont, N.H., Haverhill’s Tom Tombarello, and Wayne Helliwell Jr., of Dracut, are among the starters in that 35-lap feature named for the former longtime fan and car-owner from Haverhill. Friday’s qualifying heats start at 6:30 p.m. The Ollie Silva Memorial Classic 75-lap ISMA feature starts at 8 p.m. Practice for supermodifieds gets the green flag at 4 p.m.