Mike Stefanik

NASCAR Hall of Fame
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NASCAR Hall of Fame fan vote open

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The fan vote for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2021 class is open at NASCAR.com.

Like the rest of the voting committee, fans can vote on two of the 10 nominees on the Modern Era ballot and one of the five nominees on the Pioneers ballot.

You can vote once per day. All votes will be tabulated with the top three nominees and submitted as the fan ballot during the voting panel meeting. Voting day typically happens the week of the Coca-Cola 600. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s is no update on when and how voting day will occur.

Modern Era Nominees

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Ricky Rudd, Kirk Shelmerdine, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips and Mike Stefanik.

Pioneer Nominees: Jake Elder, Red Farmer, Banjo Matthews, Hershel McGriff and Ralph Moody


Carl Edwards ‘couldn’t believe’ NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination

Carl Edwards
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Just over three years after the surprise ending of a NASCAR career that included 72 national series wins and one Xfinity Series title, Carl Edwards was taken aback by his nomination for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame class on Tuesday.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Edwards said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “SiriusXM Speedway.”

Edwards, who shocked the NASCAR world when he stepped away from the sport in January 2017, was a nominee on the Modern Era ballot along with NASCAR on NBC analysts Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, crew chief Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd and Mike Stefanik.

“I looked at the others guys on the list …. Harry Gant, Neil Bonnett, Jeff Burton, Dale Jr. and Larry Phillips, these guys are legendary,” Edwards told SiriusXM. “It’s humbling and it’s just an honor to be thought of next to those guys. I just can’t say enough. … I feel like for me, racing, I just had a blast. For me it was about the personal challenge and trying my hardest. I learned so many things from racing. This kind of thing I never even considered.”

Edwards began his full-time Cup career in 2005 with Roush Fenway Racing and drove there until he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing for his last two years.

Over the course of 445 career Cup starts, Edwards earned 28 wins. That’s more than the number earned by Earnhardt (26), Rudd (23), Burton (21), Gant (18) and Bonnett (18).

Among his accomplishments were victories in the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500, two Bristol night races, the 2011 All-Star Race, two runner-up finishes in the points and a trip to the Championship 4 in his final season.

In a NBC Sports poll from when Edwards announced his departure from NASCAR, 60.28% of voters said they thought Edwards’ was worthy of the Hall of Fame.

“But when those races are over and those years are over, that’s done,” Edwards told SiriusXM. “I got my awards and I had my fun. To me, I also took some others things away from racing. I’ve thought about this a lot in the last day. What has racing done for Carl Edwards? Racing taught me so many things.

“It got my life in order. I’d never have started worrying about my fitness if I hadn’t seen (former teammate) Mark Martin doing it. I never would have gotten my shop in order and known how to manage things if I hadn’t seen Jeff Burton and (Burton’s former crew chief) Frankie Stoddard in an article in Speedway Illustrated about how they did everything. I learned about business, I learned about competition. I learned how to win, how to lose, how to deal with adversity. I feel like I carried all these things from racing through to my life and I apply them every day. To me, racing did a lot for me. I just feel honored to have been a part of it.”

Voting for the NASCAR Hall of Fame usually happens on the Wednesday before the Coca-Cola 600. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a NASCAR spokesman told NBCSports.com Tuesday that there was no update on when the 2021 Voting Day would be scheduled or whether it would be held virtually.

NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik killed in plane crash

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Nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik was killed in a plane crash Sunday, NASCAR confirmed. Stefanik was 61.

Stefanik, a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, won seven modified titles and two K&N Pro Series East crowns. In 2003, he was named one of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s 10 greatest drivers.

NASCAR issued a statement on behalf of Chairman Jim France:

“Mike Stefanik was one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history, but even more so, he was a true representative of our sport. His tough, competitive nature and excellence on the race track won him the respect and admiration of fans and competitors alike.

“His career stretched more than 30 years, bridging the generations between Jerry Cook and Richie Evans to our current drivers. He recorded achievements in this sport that are likely untouchable, and his legacy as a champion will endure. We will keep his wife Julie and his family and friends in our prayers.”

RaceDayCT.com reported that according to multiple news reports, Stefanik crashed while piloting a single-engine, single-seat Aero Ultra-Light plane. The crash took place took place in Sterling, Connecticut near the Rhode Island border.

Stefanik is the winningest driver in Whelen Modified Tour history with 74 wins. His nine championships ties him with Richie Evans for most national touring championships in NASCAR history.

In 1997-98, Stefanik won back-to-back championships in the modified and K&N East Series. Stefanik was the rookie of the year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 1999.

Stefanik was first nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. He told RaceDayCt.com that the nomination  “humbled” him. “I’m not in, but it’s quite an honor,” Stefanik told RaceDayCt.com. “I never really thought much about it. I didn’t get into racing to get into a Hall of Fame. But it’s humbling for sure.”

The Hall of Fame released a statement from its director, Winston Kelley:

“First and foremost, on behalf of everyone at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we offer our most sincere condolences to Julie, Nichole, Christie and the entire Stefanik family on the loss of Mike.

We are all very saddened to learn of the passing of NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee and nine-time NASCAR Champion Mike Stefanik. His record-tying nine championships just tells part of the story of his incredible legacy. He was intensely competitive, dedicated and tenacious and equally humble, versatile and respected. His seven NASCAR Whelen modified championships are second only to NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans. His tenacity and dedication are exemplified in the facts that his first and seventh championships came 17 years apart and his first and 74th wins came an incredible 27 years apart, the final win coming at age 55 at the very tough Bristol Motor Speedway. His versatility can be seen in winning back-to-back titles in both the Whelen Modified Tour and KN Pro Series East in 1997 and 1998 and winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series rookie of the year the following year, 1999. Despite his success and frequent dominance, perhaps what Mike will most be remembered for is his humility and the respect he had from his fellow competitors.

Mike’s legacy and commitment to NASCAR will be forever remembered, celebrated and cherished here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and in our hearts and minds.”

New Hampshire Motor Speedway released a statement from David McGrath, the track’s executive vice president and general manager.

“Yesterday, the short track community lost one of the greatest modified drivers in history. Mike Stefanik was a true champion on and off the racetrack making a long-lasting mark on short track racing, specifically in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. With 10 career victories, Mike is one of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s top winning drivers. I know that I can speak for everyone here, as well as our entire Speedway Motorsports, Inc. family, when I say that Mike will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the entire NASCAR community during this very difficult time.”

Jeff Gordon among nominees for 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame class


Four-time champion Jeff Gordon headlines the list of nominees for the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, which was announced Tuesday on NASCAR America.

Gordon, who ranks third on the Cup all-time wins list with 93 and helped broaden the sport’s appeal, is in his first year of eligibility.

Should he be among the five selected for the 2019 Hall of Fame Class, he would follow team owner Rick Hendrick (2017 class) and crew chief Ray Evernham (2018 class).

There are 20 nominees for the class. Fifteen are holdovers from last year. Gordon is among the five new names to the list. Voting is expected to take place in May with the class inducted in January 2019.

Joining Gordon, 46, as first-time nominees are: Harry Gant, John Holman, Ralph Moody and Kirk Shelmerdine.

Gant, 78, competed in NASCAR from 1973-94, winning 18 races and 17 poles. He won four consecutive races in September 1991. He remains the oldest Cup winner. He was 52 years, 7 months, 6 days when he won at Michigan in August 1992. He’s also the oldest pole winner in series history. He was 54 years, 7 months and 17 days when he won the pole at Bristol in August 1994.

Shelmerdine, who turns 60 on Thursday, won four championships as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt in 1986-87 and 1990-91.

Holman and Moody formed one of the sport’s most famous teams. Between 1957-73, Moody and Holman built cars that earned 83 poles and won 96 times. They won the 1968 and ’69 titles with David Pearson. Holman died in 1975. Moody died in 2004.

The other 15 nominees from last year are:

Davey Allison … 19-time Cup winner who won the 1992 Daytona 500. He was the 1987 Rookie of the Year. He died in a helicopter crash in 1993 at Talladega.

Buddy Baker … 19-time Cup winner who won the 1980 Daytona 500. He was the first driver to eclipse the 200 mph barrier, doing so in 1970.

Red Farmer … Records are incomplete but the 1956 modified and 1969-71 Late Model Sportsman champ is believed to have won well more than 700 races. Continued racing beyond 80 years old.

Ray Fox … Renowned engine builder, car owner and race official. He built the Chevrolet that Junior Johnson won the 1960 Daytona 500 driving. Fox won the 1964 Southern 500 as a car owner with Johnson as his driver.

Joe Gibbs … His organization has 148 Cup wins and four Cup titles (Bobby Labonte in 2000, Tony Stewart in 2002, 2005 and Kyle Busch in 2015).

Harry Hyde … Crew chief for Bobby Isaac when Isaac won the 1970 series title. Guided Tim Richmond, Geoff Bodine, Neil Bonnett and Dave Marcis each to their first career series win.

Alan Kulwicki … 1992 series champion who overcame a 278-point deficit in the final six races to win title by 10 points, at the time the closet margin in series history. He was the 1986 Rookie of the Year. He was killed in a plane crash in 1993.

Bobby Labonte … 2000 series champion who won 21 Cup races. He was the first driver to win an Xfinity title and a Cup championship in a career.

Hershel McGriff … Made his NASCAR debut at age 22 in the 1950 Southern 500 and ran his final NASCAR race at age 84 in 2012. Was selected as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Roger Penske … Team owner whose organization has won 107 Cup races and one series title. Has been a car owner in auto racing for more than 50 years.

Larry Phillips … Weekly short track series driver believed to have more than 1,000 career wins. During an 11-year span, he won 220 of 289 NASCAR-sanctioned starts on short tracks.

Jack Roush … Team owner whose organization has won 137 Cup races and two series titles (Matt Kenseth in 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004). Team has won more than 300 races across NASCAR’s three national series.

Ricky Rudd … Won 23 Cup races, including 1997 Brickyard 400. He is known most as NASCAR’s Ironman, once holding the record for consecutive starts at 788. He ranks second in all-time Cup starts with 906.

Mike Stefanik … Nine-time NASCAR champion with his titles coming in the Whelen Modified Tour and the K&N Pro Series East.

Waddell Wilson … Famed engine builder and crew chief. He supplied the power for David Pearson’s championships in 1968 and ’69 and Benny Parsons’ 1973 title. Wilson’s engines won 109 races. He won 22 races as a crew chief, including three Daytona 500 victories.

Nominees for the Landmark Award are Alvin Hawkins Sr., Barney Hall, Janet Guthrie, Jim Hunter and Ralph Seagraves.

Hawkins established Bowman Gray Stadium with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.

Hall was a broadcaster for 54 years from 1960-2014.

Guthrie was the first woman to race in a  Cup superspeedway event.

Hunter was a journalist, track promoter and longtime NASCAR executive.

Seagraves started RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company’s sponsorship of NASCAR.

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Watch: NASCAR Whelen Modified, Southern Modified Tours combined race from Bristol, 7 pm ET on NBCSN

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The NASCAR Whelen Modified and Southern Modified Tours came together on Aug. 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bush’s Beans 150 combination race.

The race will be televised tonight at 7 pm ET on NBCSN and streamed on NBC Live Extra.

Schedule-wise, it’s the 11th of 15 races for the Whelen Modified Tour this season, and the seventh of 11 for the Southwest Modified Tour.

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It’s the 14th time both series have squared off in a combination race, with NWMT drivers coming away with the win each time, including the last six at Bristol.

Woody Pitkat, of Stafford, Connecticut, qualified on the pole with a Whelen track record of 14.654 seconds (130.940 mph), breaking Donny Lia’s old record set in 2009 of 14.806 seconds (129.596 mph).

The No. 22 Our Racing Chevrolet won the previous two years at Bristol, with Mike Stefanik behind the wheel in 2013 and Tommy Barrett Jr. in 2014. Legendary Northeast driver Ted Christopher will be driving the 22 in this race.

If you plan to stream the race on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you plug in that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 7 pm ET to watch live via the stream.