The Chrome Horn News


Flamingo Motorsports Closes Out Championship Season
With Sixth Place Finish At Stafford

    Mike Stefanik quietly wrapped up his 2006 Whelen Modified Tour championship Sunday afternoon at Stafford Motor Speedway’s Fall Finale, but his accomplishment should be anything but silent. Stefanik’s sixth place finish assured him of his seventh Whelen Modified Tour title, and ninth overall NASCAR championship. The feat ties a long-standing record set befittingly by Richie Evans, Stefanik’s friend and mentor, for most NASCAR championships. Not even Richard Petty or the late Dale Earnhardt has reached the level of success now held by Stefanik and Evans, who was killed in 1985 in a practice crash at Martinsville Speedway.
     “That’s just a numbers game. I’ll always look up to Richie. He did it at a different time and in a different era. I have so much admiration, and I feel so fortunate that I was able to know him, do things away from racing with him, and be invited to his home,” said Stefanik. “One time, he let me race one of his brand new racecars. That was quite an honor at 21 years of age. At today’s standards, that would be like Jeff Gordon giving somebody his car and saying ‘you race it for me’. That is probably still the biggest highlight of my career because I don’t think I was ever as excited as I was heading to Thompson that day to drive his car.”
    Stefanik completed the season with 209 points over runner-up Eddie Flemke. The Coventry, Rhode Island native posted one win, ten top-five, and 15 top-10’s throughout the 2006 campaign. His closest rival, Ted Christopher, allowed Stefanik and the Eric Sanderson-owned Flamingo Motorsports team to all but wrap up the title following the next to last race at Thompson International Speedway when an on-track altercation took Christopher out of the race and out of contention for the crown.
    “Teddy kind of gave it to us rather than making us have to earn (the championship) so that took a little bit away from it,” said Stefanik about winning the title. “For me personally, it was kind of strange how it all came to an end. I wish it wasn’t that way but that’s how it was. We kind of realized at Thompson it was pretty much over so it was a little anti-climatic at Stafford. We had a party at the motorhome afterwards, but it was so cold and it got so dark and windy we knew it was going to be a short celebration. We enjoyed what we could get out of it for the day, and now we’ll have a great time at the banquet to look forward to. I think that’s when it will really sink in - the accomplishment this entire team achieved.”
    In the CARQUEST Fall Final, Stefanik started seventh and finished sixth after trying countless times to make the outside groove work for him. He made it as high as second, but fell back after the No. 16 Diversified Metals Chevrolet tightened up. Following a pit stop, Stefanik made it back into the top-five, but dropped to sixth when he made a challenge on Tony Hirschman in the closing laps for fourth.
    “I just drove the car kind of wild and carefree,” admitted Stefanik. “I didn’t have to think about the points so I tried to get fourth in the end and I ended up sixth. I was just trying too hard and I gave up the spot to John Blewett. Stafford was all about trying to better our position. We kept trying the outside even though it wasn’t working.”
    Stefanik and the Flamingo Motorsports team will be honored as the 2006 Whelen Modified Tour Champions on December 16th at NASCAR’s annual awards banquet.
    “I’m very excited,” said Stefanik, “But this all would not have been possible without the incredible dedication and loyalty on the part of this team. This is their first championship and they deserve a lot of the spotlight. They’ve worked hard for it.”


Source: Penny Aicardi/Flamingo Motorsports PR
Posted:  November 20, 2006

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