Mike Stefanik, one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to win nine national series or touring championships, died Sunday in a small single-seat plane crash.
Stefanik was 61.
The winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Stefanik’s races for nearly 30 years winning seven titles in the series while also claiming two titles in the Busch North – now NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
In Stefanik’s lone season as a full-time Truck Series driver he won Rookie if the Year honors in 1999 at the age of 41.
“Mike Stefanik was one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history, but even more so, he was a true representative of our sport,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said. “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.”
He was a six-time nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.