Last winter, when Mike Stefanik thought about how he would build his new asphalt Modified, he wanted to construct "a better mousetrap."
As his fellow NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour competitors now know, it appears he has succeeded.
Stefanik, based on the strength of six wins -- including five in a row -- leads the NASCAR Featherlite tour points standing as the series visits Holland Speedway Saturday for the Sunoco 150. His five straight victories ties a record held by the late Richie Evans.
Stefanik drives the Burnham Boilers Chevrolet, owned by Peter Beal and Charlie Bacon.
"We build our own cars," says Stefanik, a Coventry, R.I. resident who won NASCAR Modified championships in 1989 and 1991. "When we went to build our new car we had to try to find a built-in advantage. I can think of 10 solid advantages our car has. The car is about as different as it can be and still be within the framework of the rule book. The car is very user friendly on tires."
Stefanik has named his chassis a Steffy chassis, and reasons that home-built cars are the way to go, as opposed to cars that teams buy from factory Modified car builders.
"If you and I both buy our cars from a store, then we both have the same car," he said. "Neither one of us has an advantage. Building your own car allows you to seek out advantages. If you're the only one that has that advantage, that's a real advantage. My team's an intelligent group of guys. Nobody else on the tour can take a program like we have and go with it like they can."
Stefanik also competes on the NASCAR Busch Grand National North Series and a few weeks ago, became the first man in NASCAR history to lead both series in points at the same time. He now rests in second in BGNN points.
NASCAR has a program sponsored by Gatorade that awards drivers for leading their respective series at the halfway mark of the season. Stefanik won $5,000 for leading the BGNN and $2,500 for leading the Modified tour.
Stefanik placed second in Holland's BGNN race on Memorial Day weekend. He also placed second when the NASCAR Featherlite tour ran there last summer.
"There's no real comparison between driving a BGNN car and a Modified at Holland," Stefanik said. "We'll go off of our notes from last year's Modified race when it comes to setting up our car this Saturday.
"Holland is a demanding track for Modifieds because they're quicker than the BGNN cars. When you're in a Modified it wears you out because of the extra speed and G-forces. If you attack the place, it will reward you with speed. You have to manhandle a Modified car and drive 100 percent at Holland. I can't think of another track you have to drive harder. If other cars begin to get loose at Holland you can really move up and pass them," he added.
Stefanik has a 1,833-1,785 points lead over Rick Fuller. Tim Connolly (1,650), Tom Cravenho Jr. (1,628) and Jan Leaty (1,627) complete the top five in Featherlite points.
NASCAR Featherlite Modified time trials Saturday begin at 4:30 p.m. with heat racing for Holland's weekly Winston Racing Series classes to start at 5. All WRS classes will then run their features with the Sunoco 150 beginning around 9.