When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to Darlington Raceway on May 7th, Austin Hill will pay tribute to nine-time NASCAR champion and future Hall of Famer Mike Stefanik. Hill’s No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra will carry colors reminiscent of Stefanik’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) entry from 2010-2011, the final seasons he piloted the No. 16. The seven-time NWMT champion and two-time NASCAR Busch North Series champion will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022.
Stefanik captured NWMT crowns in 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2006. He is tied with fellow modified legend and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans for nine NASCAR championships, the most of any driver in the sport’s history. His accolades also include being named one of the Tour’s Top-10 Greatest Drivers in 2003 and named the NWMT “Most Popular Driver” seven times. Stefanik even made 26 Camping World Trucks starts and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1999.
“It’s awesome to be going back to Darlington for the second year in a row,” Hill said. “Being able to participate in Throwback weekend by celebrating Mike Stefanik’s career as a Hall of Famer is an honor. We’re working nonstop trying to get our first championship this year, so looking back on his career and him winning seven modified titles and two more in Busch North was incredible. He’s a great example for racers like myself to follow with how dedicated and competitive he was for such a long period of time. Not many drivers are able to keep winning races late in their careers like Mike did in this paint scheme, so it’s cool for United Rentals to allow us to celebrate his career like this.”
Stefanik made a significant impact on numerous team members at HRE, including General Manager Mike Greci. In 1997-1998, Stefanik drove to back-to-back Busch North Series championships in an entry owned by Greci.
“To see him honored with a spot in the Hall of Fame is really special to so many people,” Greci said. “We miss having him around and had a ton of success racing together over the years. We had so much fun back in those days racing together and this is an awesome way to celebrate his career, and recognize the accomplishments that made him a Hall of Famer. We’re extremely grateful to our partners here at HRE, especially United Rentals, for allowing us to run this scheme and look forward to his induction next year.”