According to Speed 51, Christopher died in a crash in Guilford, Conn., while on his way to a race at Riverhead Speedway in Riverhead, N.Y., where the 2008 Whelen Modified Tour champion was scheduled to compete Saturday night.
CBS News reports that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France also paid tribute, saying: "We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft's pilot". Christopher is one of two drivers to win the NASCAR Whelen All-Amercian Series national title and a touring series championship. "He will be missed throughout the racing community".
At Riverhead Raceway, Fox News reports, officials paid tribute to Christopher by driving his vehicle in a ceremonial lap around the track and then asking for a moment of silence from fans.
Christopher was one of two passengers aboard the Mooney M20C aircraft traveling from CT to NY when the plane disintegrated near the North Branford-Guilford border just before 2 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family and fans of Ted Christopher through these trying times.
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Two people were hurt when a small plane crashed in Beaver County on Saturday afternoon.
Before a race tonight at Waterford Speedbowl, General Manager, George Whitney said racers followed Christopher's #13 vehicle as it was driven around the track twice in remembrance of the driver killed in the crash this afternoon. One reported seeing a body that had apparently been thrown from the plane.
Christopher was a fan favorite in NASCAR's Whelen Modified Series and won several track championships across many levels of racing.
Christopher's death reverberated throughout NASCAR and the racing community. He collected 42 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories and six victories in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.