BY: Kyle Souza / PHOTO: Getty Images/Jared Wickerham
Nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik is back on the NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee ballot.
The Coventry, Rhode Island, native, who won seven championships on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, is on a list of 15 potential inductees into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.
The veteran Modified winner and champion lost his life in a plane crash last September.
Stefanik is part of the Modern Era ballot — one of two major ballots that voters will pick from to honor the Class of 2021 as part of new voting requirements by NASCAR. Two drivers from the Modern Era ballot will be selected — while one from the new pioneer ballot will join them, totaling three. A Landmark Award winner will also be honored.
FULL CAREER STATS: Mike Stefanik’s Racing Timeline
Stefanik is joined on the Modern Era ballot by Neil Bonnett, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd and Kirk Shelmerdine. Two will be selected from the group.
In 29 years of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing, Stefanik won 74 times and won 48 poles. Both of those marks are the most in the modern era of the Whelen Modified Tour. He won his first championship in 1989, another in 1991, followed by two straight in 1997 and 1998. He won two more in 2001 and 2002, then his final in 2006. As part of the ’97 and ’98 seasons, he also won two NASCAR Busch North Series crowns (previously K&N Pro Series East, now ARCA Menards Series East).
The panel of voters is tentatively scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 20, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to select the Class of 2021. NASCAR did not mention in a story Tuesday if that date would change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important to note Stefanik has not been nominated into the Class of 2021, but is among 10 drivers where two will be selected from.