The Chrome Horn News



    Mike Stefanik wants to win another championship, if for no other reason than to get another shot at Boris Said.
    As a perk for winning the 2006 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, Stefanik’s off season included the opportunity to take part of the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at the Lake Placid, N.Y.
    “That was probably one of the most exciting things I’ve done in a long time,” said Stefanik of the event, which was presented by Modified Tour sponsor Whelen Engineering. “That was definitely neat. I was so happy that Phil Kurze from Whelen invited me.”
    It was the first time in a bobsled for the nine-time NASCAR champion. It was also his first visit to the upstate New York town that hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics.
    “I pulled in there and saw the track,” Stefanik said, “and it wowed me – like pulling into Daytona for the first time, and you look over your shoulder and see turns 3 and 4 and this massive wall of concrete.
    “As you go down (the track), you keep accelerating and you keep going faster and faster and you have no idea what’s coming next. It just keeps coming at you and you have no idea what’s coming around the next corner. I just felt like I had very little control.”
    Stefanik finished third in the Challenge, which was won by Said – the road-course ace and an experienced sledder.
    “You can’t go in green and expect to beat him,” Stefanik said. “I certainly want to win another championship, because I certainly want to go back and do that.”
    Stefanik fulfilled his other need for speed in the offseason jumping on his Suzuki GSX-R 1000 whenever possible.
It has been, of course, modified.
    “I got it pretty fast,” Stefanik said. “It’s like a street-legal Formula One car.”
    With seven NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titles and a pair of NASCAR Busch East championships, Stefanik is well versed in the offseason “banquet trail.”
    After racing wrapped up, he spent a weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for the Whelen Modified Tour and Busch East postseason award shows, a week in New York City as part of the NASCAR champions' events, and a visit to New Hampshire International Speedway for their awards banquet.
    He still found time to relax. His favorite activity was ice skating on Johnson’s Pond in front of his house with his two daughters. And since Christmas, the 48-year-old Stefanik said he has increased his commitment to what he called “a healthy lifestyle.”
    “I just said enough’s enough,” Stefanik said. “I took off some fat and feel really good.
    “I’m just on a mission. I just want to be in the best shape I can be. I don’t want my health to be an issue.”
    Especially if he’s going to give Said a challenge next winter.


Source: Jason Christley/NASCAR WMT PR
Posted:  April 10, 2007

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