Former NASCAR champ Mike Stefanik dies in plane crash

Article Image

Nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik died while piloting a single-seat Aerolite 103 plane out of an airport in New England.

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 12:00 PM
Updated: Sep 16, 2019 12:00 PM

Mike Stefanik, a nine-time NASCAR champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, died Sunday in a plane crash, according to the stock-car racing organization. He was 61.

According to Connecticut State Police, an Aerolite 103, single-engine, single-seat plane took off from Riconn Airport just over the state line in Rhode Island on Sunday. Police say the ultralight plane, while turning back toward the airfield, crashed into a wooded area adjacent to the airport in Sterling, Connecticut.

NASCAR said it was Stefanik who died 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 on the NASCAR website. "His tough, competitive nature and excellence on the race track won him the respect and admiration of fans and competitors alike. His career stretched more than 30 years, bridging the generations between Jerry Cook and Richie Evans to our current drivers. He recorded achievements in this sport that are likely untouchable, and his legacy as a champion will endure. We will keep his wife Julie and his family and friends in our prayers."

According to NASCAR, Stefanik was the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He won that circuit championship in 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2006. He also won the Busch North -- now known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East -- titles in 1997 and 1998.

His nine overall NASCAR championships are tied with Evans for most in NASCAR history.

Police did not give a cause of the crash, which remains under investigation.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106622

Reported Deaths: 4077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles516782294
Riverside7486323
San Diego7100260
Orange5923145
San Bernardino5034199
Alameda319595
Santa Clara2707140
San Francisco247341
Kern207637
San Mateo206184
Tulare184484
Fresno165832
Santa Barbara163612
Imperial163427
Contra Costa140437
Sacramento137356
Ventura106232
San Joaquin85834
Kings7143
Stanislaus68328
Sonoma5314
Solano50922
Monterey47710
Marin43614
Merced2807
San Luis Obispo2691
Yolo20723
Santa Cruz2062
Placer1999
Napa1113
Humboldt983
Madera982
San Benito852
El Dorado840
Del Norte440
Butte440
Sutter422
Nevada411
Shasta374
Mono351
Mendocino300
Yuba291
Lake230
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Glenn140
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 72°
Oroville
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 74°
Paradise
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 72°
Chester
Few Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Red Bluff
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Willows
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Rain showers and a good chance for thunderstorms are on the way for your Friday night and Saturday forecast. We'll also be much cooler and have gusty South winds this weekend. Some showers are possible early next week, but dry and warmer weather returns for the middle of next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events