Michael Edward Cluka, 54, passed away unexpectedly and blessed with eternal life on July 15, 2021. He was born November 20, 1966 in Milwaukee, Wis., to Ed and Sue (nee Stephenson) Cluka.
An open public celebration of Michael’s life will be held on Thursday, July 22, 2021 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Turn 1 pavilion at Slinger Speedway in Slinger, Wis.
Michael never met a stranger and his magnetic personality radiated friendship, laughter and kindness. His influence helped shape lives, careers and relationships.
Michael grew up in Menomonee Falls, Wis., and relocated to North Carolina in the mid 1990s to pursue a professional racing career in the NASCAR Cup Series. He was an accomplished tire changer and one of the most respected shock specialists in the sport. Michael spent his formidable years by his dad’s side at Wisconsin short tracks and celebrated his first major accomplishment as a member of Al Schill Sr.’s 1984 National Short Track Championship team.
Michael reached the pinnacle of his professional career prior to the 2000 season when he received the call from Richard Childress Racing to serve as the shock specialist and front-tire changer for seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. He earned his first victory in NASCAR’s premiere series with Earnhardt on March 12, 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and followed it up with another victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October of the same year.
Full obituary: Phillip Funeral Home