Mike Stefanik Nominated For NASCAR Hall Of Fame

Mike Stefanik is reluctant to use the word retired to describe the fact that he’s not currently slated to be in a Whelen Modified Tour car full-time in 2014.

Mike Stefanik displays his NASCAR championship rings in 2006 (Photo: Howie Hodge for NASCAR)

Mike Stefanik displays his NASCAR championship rings in 2006 (Photo: Howie Hodge for NASCAR)

But that fact, along with the gaudy nature of his achievements in NASCAR competition, was enough for NASCAR’s Hall of Fame nominating committee to nominate the Coventry, R.I. driver for the hall.

Stefanik was one of 20 individuals announced Friday as nominees for the Hall of Fame.

Stefanik won seven NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titles and also won two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (Busch North Series) titles. He is the only NASCAR driver in history to win two series titles in the same season, remarkably, accomplishing the feat in both 1997 and 1998.

Stefanik, who won his first Whelen Modified Tour title in 1989 and his last 2006, is the Whelen Modified Tour’s all-time winningest driver with 74 career victories. Reggie Ruggiero is a distant second on the all-time wins list with 44 victories. He has 12 K&N Pro Series East wins in 164 starts.

He also has 26 career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts and 26 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. He also has Whelen Modified Tour titles in 1991, 2001 and 2002.

After finishing fifth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings with two victories for team owner Chris Our in 2013, Stefanik was offered a part-time ride with Our for the 2014 season. Our replaced Stefanik full-time on his team with 18-year old Tommy Barrett Jr., a standout the last two seasons on the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Stefanik opted to step away from the driver’s seat, though has not termed himself as retired.

From the 20 nominees, five inductees will be chosen by NASAR Hall of Fame Voting panel, which includes a fan vote through NASCAR.com. Voting for the class will take place on May 21.

Below are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically as reported by NASCAR:

Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR’s premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500

Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949

Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion

Bill Elliott, 1988 premier series champion, two-time Daytona 500 winner and 16-time Most Popular Driver

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others

Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier series champion

Terry Labonte, Two-time NASCAR premier series champion

Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600

Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner

Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion

Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion

Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships

Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”

Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier series champion

Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier series champion

Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner

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