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Mike Stefanik Atlantic City TQ Midgets January 2010 (Mike Calla/Wheels of Speed Photo)



Article By Ryan Gaydos | Fox News

NASCAR champ Mike Stefanik, 61, dies in plane crash near Rhode Island.

NASCAR champion Michael Stefanik died Sunday in a single-engine plane crash near the Rhode Island state line, police said. He was 61.

Stefanik took off in a single-engine, single-seat Aerolite 103 from the Riconn Airport in Coventry, R.I., and was turning back to the airfield when it crashed in a wooded area near the airport, Connecticut state police said.

NASCAR confirmed Stefanik was killed in the crash.

“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 in a statement. “His tough, competitive nature and excellence on the race track won him the admiration of fans and competitors alike.”

Stefanik was popular in the NASCAR circles, being named the Busch North Series Most Popular Driver in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2004. He won the Busch North Series in 1997 and 1998.

He made a name for himself in Whelen Modified Tour circuit winning the championship in 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2006. He was also named as a top 10 all-time driver in the series in 2003.

His nine total championships tie him with Richie Evans for most in NASCAR history.

He holds the Whelen Modified Tour record with 74 victories from 1985 to 2014.

Stefanik never made it to the NASCAR Cup series, but competed in 26 races each in the Busch (now Xfinity) and Craftsman Truck (now Gander Outdoors) series during his career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @Gaydos_.

Categories : NASCAR, News, Short Track
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Karsyn Elledge time trial lap USAC Midgets in Tuesday night's Pennsylvania Midget Week opener at Grandview Speedway.
(WOS Photo)

Karsyn Elledge daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller, granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt and niece of Dale Jr., has been running the USAC National Midget Series. The above photo was taken Tuesday July 30th at the Grandview Speedway during the USAC Midget race.

About 5 years ago she was racing winged Outlaw Karts and during an interview for Speed Sport Magazine she was asked what form of racing she would like to do, her answer was she would like to drive Sprint Cars but her mom wont let her .

On July 31st at the Kutztown , Pa Action Track USA she may have started up front in her heat and went on to win it in record time, but the other drivers in the heat were no slouches.

AUTOMETER/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Karsyn Elledge, 2. Jason McDougal, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Zeb Wise, 5. Chad Boat, 6. Steven Drevicki, 7. Alex Bright, 8. Alex Yankowski. 2:01.97 (New Track Record)

If she could learn to qualify better, she would start the features closer to the front. I hope she sticks to open wheel although the odds and family pressures of that are slim.

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READING (PA) FAIRGROUNDS MARCH 29, 1964
USAC SPRINTS
Don Branson in the # 3 WYNN'S Friction Proofing Special.
(WoS Photo)



It was around this time ... 56 years ago that I was a young kid working as a draftsman for a major heavy machinery manufacturer (De Laval Steam Turbine) in Trenton, NJ. Like most guys of that age I was interested in cars. One day while eating lunch at my desk and reading Hot Rod Magazine, a summer intern engineering student came up to me and said that I should go see real racing on dirt. Well I was a stick and ball fan and watched just about every Yankees game on TV WPIX Channel 11 from NY. I didn’t know anything about racing except watching a few Jalopy (stock car) races from Culver City, California on TV. A few weeks later I was reading the sports section of the Trentonian newspaper and see an ad for USAC Sprint Cars at the Hatfield Speedway. I got out my gas station roadmap (no GPS back then) and found out where this Hatfield PA was and how to get there.

The day of the race came Friday July 26, 1963, after work I went home to change and with map and instructions in hand it was off to see what this was all about. When I found the track , an ambulance was coming out as I was parking my car. I later found out that Jim McElreath crashed into the first turn wall in practice. I got my ticket and saw all of the people in the stands and didn’t know where I should go. The track crew were trying to fix the wall and I saw other people going in the infield so that’s were I went. While walking around in the infield before racing resumed I ran into a guy who worked at the same place that I did He had been a new employee and I didn’t know his name. His name was Bruce Jones who would become a life long friend. He was with another guy named Jack Rule who just happened to be the brother of the engineer student intern at work who told me to go see real racing on dirt. The race drivers were named A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Marshman, Don Branson, Roger McCluskey, Bob Harkey, Jim Hurtubise, Earl Halaquist, Cotton Farmer, Jim Maguire, Arnie Knepper, Ron Lux, Chuck Hulse, Bud Tinglested, Chuck Yost, Ralph Liguori and others. When the green flag waved to resume practice all I could say to myself was WOW! What the hell have I been missing all of my life. I was hooked for the rest of my life. I became friends with Bruce & Jack. Bruce ran stock cars and I would hang out at the garage. We would go to watch a lot of races, sometimes 5 a week. We would see the best Modified stocks (dirt and asphalt), Midgets and Indy Cars, but nothing could compare with the Sprint Cars. There was just some magic watching them.

What was this force that had a grip on me, let me try to explain. When I first started to go to the races, open cockpit race cars didn’t have cages. When they would crash or go over it was like 50/50 if the driver would be badly hurt or be killed. It was an adrenaline rush watching them do something dangerously crazy. It’s the feeling you have if you were watching a man walking on a high wire 100 ft off the ground with no net and he is having a hard time keeping his balance. The adrenaline rush is because you see before you what can happen if he falls. That adrenaline rush would not be there if the walker was 20 feet off the ground and had a net under him.

It was all of this that branded my soul to love Sprint Cars, no stockcar could duplicate those feelings. Sprint Cars have become 1000% safer over the years, much so that some drivers don’t respect the car, only to be brought back to reality when we lose one of our drivers.

Today’s cars are basically the same cars that ran in the 1960’s. They have fuel injected engines, no transmission (must be pushed to start), quick change rear, 4-bar torsion, quick steering and no flywheel (the engine barks when you punch the gas).They have the newest gadgets but they still look the same on the track. If it’s a winged sprint you couldn’t tell if it was Kenny Weld or Donny Schatz; or wingless if it was A.J. Foyt or Brady Bacon. The cars still look the same way on the track as they did decades ago.

Fast forward to the other night at the Grandview Speedway, part of the 2019 PA Speedweek Series. Standing between the first and second turns taking pictures and watching the 900 plus Horsepower Sprints taking time. They run wide open all the way around, no change in the sound of the motor. If you closed your eyes you couldn’t tell the turns from the straights. After 56 years there is still magic watching the fastest race cars on dirt.

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints
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Jul
17

MY STORY

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READING (PA) FAIRGROUNDS SEPTEMBER 14, 1963 USAC SPRINTS
Johnny White # 1 Fike Plumbing Special leads Jim Hurtubise in the # 56 Sterling Plumbing Special off of turn 4.
(WoS Photo)



It was around this time ... 56 years ago that I was a young kid working as a draftsman for a major heavy machinery manufacturer in Trenton, NJ. Like most guys of that age I was interested in cars. One day while eating lunch at my desk and reading Hot Rod Magazine, a summer intern engineering student came up to me and said that I should go see real racing on dirt. Well I was a stick and ball fan and watched just about every Yankees game on WPIX Channel 11 TV from NY. I didn’t know anything about racing except watching a few Jalopy (stock car) races from Culver City, California on TV. A few weeks later I was reading the sports section of the Trentonian newspaper and see an ad for USAC Sprint Cars at the Hatfield Speedway. I got out my gas station roadmap (no GPS back then) and found out where this Hatfield PA was and how to get there.

The day of the race came Friday July 26, 1963, after work I went home to change and with map and instructions in hand it was off to see what this was all about. When I found the track , an ambulance was coming out as I was parking my car. I later found out that Jim McElreath crashed into the first turn wall in practice. I got my ticket and saw all of the people in the stands and didn’t know where I should go. The track crew were trying to fix the wall and I saw other people going in the infield so that’s were I went. While walking around in the infield before racing resumed I ran into a guy who worked at the same place that I did He had been a new employee and I didn’t know his name. His name was Bruce Jones who would become a life long friend. He was with another guy named Jack Rule who just happened to be the brother of the engineer student intern at work who told me to go see real racing on dirt. The race drivers were named A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Marshman, Don Branson, Roger McCluskey, Bob Harkey, Jim Hurtubise, Earl Halaquist, Cotton Farmer, Jim Maguire, Arnie Knepper, Ron Lux, Chuck Hulse, Bud Tinglested, Chuck Yost, Ralph Liguori and others. When the green flag waved to resume practice all I could say to myself was WOW! What the hell have I been missing all of my life. I was hooked for the rest of my life. I became friends with Bruce & Jack. Bruce ran stock cars and I would hang out at the garage. We would go to watch a lot of races, sometimes 5 a week. We would see the best Modified stocks (dirt and asphalt), Midgets and Indy Cars, but nothing could compare with the Sprint Cars. There was just some magic watching them.

What was this force that had a grip on me, let me try to explain. When I first started to go to the races, open cockpit race cars didn’t have cages. When they would crash or go over it was like 50/50 if the driver would be badly hurt or be killed. It was an adrenaline rush watching them do something dangerously crazy. It’s the feeling you have if you were watching a man walking on a high wire 100 ft off the ground with no net and he is having a hard time keeping his balance. The adrenaline rush is because you see before you what can happen if he falls. That adrenaline rush would not be there if the walker was 20 feet off the ground and had a net under him.

It was all of this that branded my soul to love Sprint Cars, no stockcar could duplicate those feelings. Sprint Cars have become 1000% safer over the years, much so that some drivers don’t respect the car, only to be brought back to reality when we lose one of our drivers.

Today’s cars are basically the same cars that ran in the 1960’s. They have fuel injected engines, no transmission (must be pushed to start), quick change rear, 4-bar torsion, quick steering and no flywheel (the engine barks when you punch the gas).They have the newest gadgets but they still look the same on the track. If it’s a winged sprint you couldn’t tell if it was Kenny Weld or Donny Schatz; or wingless if it was A.J. Foyt or Brady Bacon. The cars still look the same way on the track as they did decades ago.

Fast forward to the other night at the Grandview Speedway, part of the 2019 PA Speedweek Series. Standing between the first and second turns taking pictures and watching the 900 plus Horsepower Sprints taking time. They run wide open all the way around, no change in the sound of the motor. If you closed your eyes you couldn’t tell the turns from the straights. After 56 years there is still magic watching the fastest race cars on dirt.

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