(Mooresville, N.C.) – 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 of Exeter, RI . 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.”
About Hattori Racing Enterprises
Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) was founded in 2008 by Shigeaki Hattori and since then the team has fielded entries in a variety of different series, including the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS), NASCAR K&N Pro Series, and ARCA. As a former driver, Hattori captured the Japan Formula Toyota championship in 1994 and moved to the United States the following year to race open-wheel cars. He competed in the Toyota Atlantic Series, Indy Lights and IndyCar. He won a pair of Indy Lights races in 1998 and made two starts in the Indianapolis 500. In 2005, Hattori made the transition to stock cars and drove a Toyota in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Hattori’s organization reached its pinnacle achievement in 2018 when Brett Moffitt and the No. 16 team captured the Gander Trucks championship in the team’s second full-time season.
HRE and driver Austin Hill earned four victories in 2019 and have become a perennial championship contender after being the winningest team in the Gander Trucks Series over the past two seasons.
Source: Hattori Racing Enterprises