Mike Stefanik Ready To Go Hunting Another Whelen Modified Tour Championship

There might have been a time when it could have been said that Mike Stefanik and his Chris Our owned Whelen Modified Tour team was ready to sneak up on the competition in 2013.

Mike Stefanik flashes across the start/finish line at Thompson Speedway during the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker 150 on April 14 (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

They can try to quietly tiptoe all they want now, there’s no sneaking up on anybody at this point.

Through an exhibition event and the season opener Stefanik has made it clear, loudly, that he is ready chase an eighth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in 2013. Stefanik goes looking for his second victory of the young season Sunday in the Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“[My competitors] know we’re going to be tough,” the 54-year old Stefanik said. “I see some people saying ‘You’re a darkhorse this year.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know, I’m in awful good equipment, I’ve got [crew chief] Brad LaFontaine on the pit box, that’s good for some time on the racetrack. We’ve got great guys in the pits. [Team owner] Chris Our gives us everything we need. We have the program. The program is there. I feel I’m the weak leak at my age, where I’m at. I wish I was 25, 35 years younger. I’m older than some of the kids’ dads I’m racing against. But, if I can just do my job and feel like I’m doing my job then things will be good.”

Stefanik has Whelen Modified Tour titles in 1989, ’91, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02 and ’06. He finished second in the standings in 2010. In 2011 he finished 11th in the standings, after missing one event.

He left Flamingo Racing after the 2011 and last year he competed with Our and car owner Ed Marceau splitting time. He finished 11th in the standings in 2012, after missing one event. This year Our is the lone team owner for Stefanik.

Stefanik unofficially opened the season by nearly winning the Whelen Modified Tour portion of the UNOH Battle at the Beach on a temporary track at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19. He was spun out of the lead on the last of the event by Steve Park.

At the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker 150 on April 14 at Thompson International Speedway, Stefanik used a late pass to take the lead from Rowan Pennink and go on to victory.

“It’s a very short season, 14 races,” Stefanik said of looking for an eighth Whelen Modified Tour title and 10th NASCAR Touring series title overall. “We used to be 28, 31 races, then we went to 24, then to 18, now it’s down to 14. So you can’t afford to have many bad races. I’m not saying you can’t have any bad races, but it’s just a momentum builder to come out with a good run, a strong performance and a good points day.

“And I’m not saying I’m chasing points already, but, you’re not going to win the points battle if you don’t have good finishes. The competition is just too steep. You can’t expect everybody to have two or three bad days because it’s just not going to happen. You’ve got to start strong, stay up front and I like our start obviously.”

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