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NASCAR Driver Killed In Small Plane Crash In Connecticut

Ted Christopher, driver of #36 Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet, waves to fans after winning the CARQUEST Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway, Oct. 2, 2011. (Getty Images for NASCAR).

NEW YORK (CBSNews) —  NASCAR driver Ted Christopher was killed Saturday (Sept. 17) in a small plane crash in Connecticut, CBS New York reports.

The Mooney M20C aircraft crashed in a wooded area near Guilford shortly before 2 p.m., according to the FAA.

Authorities said two people were on board the plane at the time. The second person’s name has not been released.

Police said they do not yet know from where the plane took off, or to where it was headed, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

“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,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

“As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country,” France continued. “He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Christopher won 48 NASCAR Modified Series races, according to ESPN. NASCAR honored him with the national award for the top driver among all of its weekly sanctioned tracks in 2001.

“All of us at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park are saddened to learn of Ted Christopher’s passing. Last Sunday, he recorded his 99th victory on our oval. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Modified drivers of all time,” Thompson Speedway Motorsports said in a statement. “May Ted rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Christopher family, and all those impacted by this tragic loss.”

Christopher was scheduled to compete in a race Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl.