Stefanik Set For Battle At The Beach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A large part of NASCAR history in his own right, Mike Stefanik is set to participate in the historical and inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona Int’l Speedway, Feb. 18-19.
For the first time, NASCAR’s weekly and regional touring series will have a prominent place during Budweiser Speedweeks in Daytona, the “Worlds Center of Racing.” As a nine-time touring series champion, Stefanik had to be a part of it.
“At Daytona, whether you win on the road course, the big track or the small track, the trophy will be worth its weight in gold,” Stefanik said.
Stefanik knows a little something about trophies. He shares the all-time record of nine NASCAR championships with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans. Stefanik won seven NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships as well as a pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East titles.
Stefanik, from Coventry, R.I., has a locked-in starting position for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour feature in the UNOH Battle At The Beach by virtue of his tour win during the 2012 season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was a record-extending 72nd career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Stefanik. Drivers to win touring series races and championships in 2012 are locked into their respective features in Daytona; All others must qualify through heat races.
Unlike the vast majority of touring and weekly competitors that will head to Florida in February, Stefanik has raced before at Daytona – the NASCAR Nationwide Series event during Speedweeks in 1994. That was on the big track, however, and the UNOH Battle At The Beach will be contested on a.4-mile oval on the track’s backstretch.
“I don’t really know that much about how the track is going to race, I just know our car owner wants to go,” Stefanik said. “It’s going to be good for our team to get together and get a race in before things really get going around here [New England], so that’s always a bonus.”
Stefanik will head to Daytona with a slightly different team dynamic than he had during the 2012 season in which he piloted the No. 66 that was a joint effort between two different teams owned Ed Marceau and Chris Our. For Daytona and the upcoming Whelen Modified Tour season, Stefanik will compete solely for Our in a No. 22 Modified and Brad Lafontaine will remain the crew chief.
The Whelen Modified events will be just one facet of the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will have qualifying races and a 150-lap feature on Monday, Feb. 18 while the action on Tuesday, Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and NASCAR K&N Pro Series.