A pair of short track legends will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021, as Mike Stefanik and Red Farmer were named to the class alongside Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Tuesday evening.
Stefanik was a nine-time champion in NASCAR’s touring series. Along with back-to-back Busch North championships in 1997 and 1998, Stefanik won seven series titles and claimed 74 career wins during the “series” years of the Modified Tour starting in 1985.
Stefanik was also the NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 1999, but ultimately his roots and greatest successes came on the bullrings. Three of Stefanik’s seven Modified Tour titles came in the years following that honor, in 2001, 2002 and 2006.
Other career highlights include wins with the Valenti Modified Racing Series, a Race of Champions victory, and wins at local tracks such as Stafford Motor Speedway and the now defunct Riverside Park Speedway.
Stefanik tragically passed away in a plane crash in Connecticut in September 2019, five years removed from his last appearance behind the wheel of a Modified.
Red Farmer was inducted as the representative of the “Pioneer Era” for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. While an exact tally of Farmer’s wins have been lost to time, it is widely accepted that the total is well over 700.
As a result of those successes, Farmer won three consecutive NASCAR Late Model Sportsman championships between 1969 and 1971. Farmer also won the NASCAR Modified National Championship in 1956.
Before the late David Rogers broke the record last December, Farmer held the mark for most starts in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL), the biggest pavement Late Model race in America. However, Farmer’s 32 starts in the event all came consecutively, in the first 32 runnings of the race. Farmer started on the pole for the very first Snowball Derby, won by Wayne Niedecken.
To this day, Farmer continues to compete in his home state of Alabama, routinely racing Dirt Late Models at the Talladega Short Track. Just last weekend, Farmer competed with the United Championship Racing Alliance at Talladega.
Another notable figure for short track racing was acknowledged during the announcement, as Ralph Seagraves was named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Seagraves, an official with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, was instrumental in bringing the Winston brand to what is now the NASCAR Cup Series, as well as the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and many of its member tracks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo