September 17, 2017 05:07 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

NASCAR driver Ted Christopher dies in plane crash

NASCAR driver Ted Christopher dies in plane crash

Ted Christopher, a longtime NASCAR racer renowned for his 'Three Tap Rule' maneuver on the course, died in plane crash Saturday. He was 59.

Ted Christopher, a longtime NASCAR racer renowned for his 'Three Tap Rule' maneuver on the course, died in plane crash Saturday. He was 59.

Christopher was one of two passengers aboard the Mooney M20C aircraft traveling from Connecticut to New York when the plane disintegrated near the North Branford-Guilford border just before 2 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed.

The second passenger and pilot of the plane, was with Christopher en route to Riverhead Raceway for a racing competition. 

The pilot has not yet been identified, but family members confirmed the tragic news to NASCAR.

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NASCAR driver Ted Christopher died in plane crash Saturday. He was 59

NASCAR driver Ted Christopher died in plane crash Saturday. He was 59

Christopher was one of two passengers who died in the crash, The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Saturday

Christopher was one of two passengers who died in the crash, The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Saturday

NASCAR CEO Brian France released a statement on the tragedy Saturday

NASCAR CEO Brian France released a statement on the tragedy Saturday

The pair were en route to a competition in New York when the plane crashed near the North Branford-Guilford border in Connecticut

The pair were en route to a competition in New York when the plane crashed near the North Branford-Guilford border in Connecticut

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, released a public statement on Christopher's sudden passing Saturday.

'We are all saddened to leam of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft's pilot. 

'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 said. 

'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.' 

'We are all saddened to leam of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft's pilot,' France said in the statement

'We are all saddened to leam of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft's pilot,' France said in the statement

'As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR's roots'

'As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR's roots'

The NASCAR driver was known for his 'Three Tap Rule' maneuver on the course

The NASCAR driver was known for his 'Three Tap Rule' maneuver on the course

Thompson Speedway Motorsports also send condolences on the late Christopher.

'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.

'May Ted rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Christopher family, and all those impacted by this tragic loss.'

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident. Details of the plane's itinerary were not immediately released. 

Christopher captured 13 track championships and competed at every level of NASCAR during his career. In 2006, he was selected as one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history.

On the Whelen tour and on New England short tracks, 'Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR's roots,' France said in a statement. 'He was a tough racer's racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country.'

Christopher's death brought tributes from others in the racing world.

'He was a legend,' racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted Saturday night.

'Absolute definition of a racer,' racer Alex Bowman tweeted.

Traffic officials at Riverhead Raceway planned a tribute to Christopher by having his car driven for a ceremonial lap and a moment of silence from fans. 

'He was a legend,' racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted Saturday night

'He was a legend,' racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted Saturday night

Officials at the competition in New York planned a tribute for Christopher

Officials at the competition in New York planned a tribute for Christopher

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