NASCAR Spotter Reacts to Hall of Famer’s Widow Not Being Allowed to Speak at the Ceremony

Published 01/09/2022, 1:35 AM EST

Later this month is the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Among the inductees is the late Mike Stefanik, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 61. His surviving wife, Julie, will attend the ceremony, but for some strange reason, she won’t be able to speak. Admittedly, some were quite puzzled about this, and one of them was Bubba Wallace’s spotter, Freddie Kraft.

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According to him, he was ‘heartbroken’ at the decision to not let her speak. He mentioned that she had a beautiful speech penned down and he even shared it on social media. His argument was that since she doesn’t have an opportunity to share it with the public, they will try their best to do it for her.

Many NASCAR fans and members of the community were upset

Of course, many members of the NASCAR community were outraged because Stefanik is fondly remembered in most quarters; some even called the snub ‘stupid’. However, a few others observed that when an inductee has passed away, there was normally no speech from the next of kin.

Interestingly though, some other fans have presented evidence of the opposite happening; notable names are Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, and Felix Sabates. A few even suggested that such a move is fairly disrespectful to the NASCAR and the modified cars community.

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What Happened to Mike Stefanik?

On September 15th, 2019, Stefanik suffered a fatal plane crash. This was after it experienced mechanical issues. From there, the Aero-Works Aerolite 103 crashed in a woodland area, somewhere in Connecticut. Reports said that he was airlifted to a Rhode Island hospital. Unfortunately, he tragically succumbed to his injuries.

Prior to all this, he was nominated for the Hall of Fame in 2015 and elected in 2020.

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To say that it is cruel to not see his surviving spouse give her acceptance speech is an understatement. We certainly hope NASCAR changes its approach when honoring legends.

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Dhruv George

13078 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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