BRISTOL, Tenn. – Mike Stefanik says that time is running out on his racing career.
But when time ran out on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Stefanik was out front scoring a win he’ll remember long after he hangs his helmet up for good.
Stefanik was able to get by race leader Todd Szegedy on lap 125, and when a looming time limit forced a green-white-checkered finish less than 10 laps later, the 55-year-old was able to hold on for his second series win this season and his first career win at BMS.
“This is so awesome,” Stefanik said. “I’m not going to be in the sport too much longer. Trust me. Time just starts coming. There's no real reason. There just comes a time when you have to say 'It's time.' I'm looking at it real close. I don't know if I'll come back next year. I really don't think so."
With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race scheduled to start at 8 p.m., a short rain shower before the modified race coupled with 10 cautions forced a hasty conclusion to the event, which was originally scheduled for 150 laps.
Polesitter Donny Lia led the first 91 laps of the race before he ran into trouble on a restart. As Lia led the field to the green flag, he was hit from behind by Justin Bonsignore, ending Lia’s chances at winning.
That cleared the stage for the duel between Stefanik and Szegedy, which culminated in a two-lap shootout. Szegedy got to Stefanik’s bumper, but was unable to stick his nose out and make a pass.
Szegedy held on for a runner-up finish. Ron Yuhas Jr., Ryan Preece and Ryan Newman completed the top five.