Ask race fans who holds the record for the most NASCAR championships, and chances are the answer will be a tie between Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, each with seven titles. But we know the correct answer is nine titles and that record is shared by two Northeast racing legends---Richie Evans who is in the EMPA HoF and Mike Stefanik who tonight we welcome into the honor roll of racing’s best.
Like Evans, Mike reigned supreme behind the wheel of a paved track Modified, winning the Whelen Modified Tour championship in 1989, ’91, 97, 98, 01, 02, and 06. But what really set Mike apart from his competitors was he also captured the Busch North Series title back-to-back in 1997 and ’98, the only driver in NASCAR history to accomplish this seemingly unreachable feat.
Between 1985 and 2014, Mike raced in 463 Whelen Modified Tour events. He won 74 times, 30 more than Reggie Ruggiero, who ranks second in all-time wins, registered 223 top-five finishes and 301 top-tens. This includes 20 victories at Stafford and 15 checkered flags at Thompson, where---and Mike this is in their records---you are also listed as the oldest winner!
In the Busch North Series, (for you young guys, that’s the predecessor of today’s K&N Pro Series East and back then a series with as stout a lineup of veteran hard-nosed racers as you could find anywhere) between 1991 and 2005, Mike made 164 starts, scoring 22 wins, 65 top-five, and 102 top-tens. And, of course, two championships.
In 1998, Mike ventured into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, entering one race and finishing in the top-ten. The next season, 1999, he ran the full Truck schedule, 25 races, with one top-five and nine top-10s.
And over the years between 1992 and 2000, Mike was behind the wheel in 26 now-Xfinity events.
Welcome to the EMPA HoF NASCAR Modified and Busch North champion driver Mike Stefanik!