WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The NASCAR racing world is mourning the loss of one of its finest champions, Wilbraham native Mike Stefanik.

The 61-year-old was killed when his single-engine plane crashed Sunday at the Plainfield Turnpike at the Connecticut/Rhode Island line.

Stefanik raced in various divisions at the former Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam.

Agawam racing journalist and photographer Matt Wienasz remembers this western Massachusetts racing great.

“Mike Stefanik was a truly talented race car driver that I remember, he could wheel anything, was always a fan favorite here in western Massachusetts,” said Matt Wiernesz, a racing journalist and photographer. “Fans loved him, just a great guy. It’s sad we lost him at such a young age. One thing for sure, he did love racing.”

Mike Stefanik achieved his greatest fame winning back to back NASCAR championships in 1997 and 1998.

His final NASCAR modified tour race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August of 2013. He leaves his wife and two daughters.

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