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All-Time Top 10 Modified Drivers

NASCAR PR
February 1, 2010 - 11:00am

NASCAR announced its list of the top 10 drivers in the history of the Modified division in 2003. The list is as follows:

No. 1 RICHIE EVANS — Named one of "The Greatest 50 NASCAR Drivers of All Time" in 1998, Evans remains the undisputed king of NASCAR Modified racing. More than 20 years since his death in 1985, Evans' presence is still felt among the Modified faithful. Nicknamed "The Rapid Roman," his career accomplishments included multiple track championships across the Northeast and hundreds of victories including a 37-win season during a stretch of 60 Modified races in 1979. Evans won nine NASCAR titles between 1973-1985, a championship total that is matched only by Mike Stefanik in all of NASCAR.

No. 2 MIKE STEFANIK — By the time the dust had settled from the Richie Evans-Jerry Cook rivalry that fueled NASCAR Modified racing in the 1970s, Massachusetts native Mike Stefanik was beginning a career that would redefine success in NASCAR racing. Stefanik's career accomplishments include four track championships, three Most Popular Driver awards, 70 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories and nine NASCAR championships. Stefanik's seven Whelen Modified Tour titles (1989, '91, '97, '98 '01 '02 and '06) are accompanied by two K&N Pro Series East championships, which he earned in 1997-98. Incredibly, Stefanik won the dual championships in two consecutive seasons, making him the first driver since Lee Petty to win two NASCAR division titles in a single season, and the only driver to do it twice.

No. 3 JERRY COOK — In a career that spanned three decades, Jerry Cook won 342 races and earned six NASCAR Modified championships (1971, '72, '74, '75, '76, '77). When his driving career came to a close in 1982, Cook stayed with the sport and helped shape the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour of today. Cook served as the series' director when it began in 1985 and remains with NASCAR as competition administrator. Cook was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington Raceway in 1989, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009 and  was named one of "The Greatest 50 NASCAR Drivers of All Time" in 1998.

No. 4 RAY HENDRICK — Over a 34-year racing career, Virginia's Ray Hendrick had a reputation of racing anything, anywhere. The countless stream of races in the 1950's, 60's and 70's included several stints with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Some records indicate Hendrick won as many as 712 races in his career. In 1993, Hendrick was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame and he was honored as one of "The Greatest 50 NASCAR Drivers of All Time" in 1998.

No. 5 GEOFF BODINE — Bodine began racing midgets at his family's Chemung Speedrome in New York’s Southern Tier at the age of five. Bodine became one of the earliest NASCAR Modified racing stars, winning nearly 600 races, by some accounts, in his career. In 1978, Bodine won 55 Modified races in a single season, a figure that landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. Bodine advanced to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1979 and was selected as one of "The Greatest 50 NASCAR Drivers of All Time" in 1998. Bodine has 18 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, including the 1986 Daytona 500.

No. 6 TONY HIRSCHMAN — Hirschman broke onto the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour scene with a six-win season in 1989. Since then, the Allentown, Pa. native compiled more 35 career victories and five Whelen Modified Tour championships (1995, '96 '99 '04 and '05). Hirschman’s win total ranks third all-time and his 41 poles are just one behind career leader Mike Stefanik.

No. 7 BUGS STEVENS — When Carl Bergman wanted to pursue a NASCAR racing career while serving in the military in the 1960s, he knew his superiors might object to the idea. And, so the story goes, "Bugs Stevens" was born. Stevens became Bergman's assumed name at the race track, where he drove to perfection. Stevens won several track championships and Modified races across the East Coast, culminating with three-consecutive NASCAR Modified championships in 1967-69.

No. 8 FRED DESARRO — In the shadows of Modified greats Evans and Cook, DeSarro managed to make himself known in the 1970s NASCAR Modified ranks by driving to win. DeSarro won several track championships at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut, and was the NASCAR Modified champion in 1970. In 1972, DeSarro was the inaugural winner of Stafford's Spring Sizzler race, one of NASCAR Modified racing's premier events.

No. 9 JIMMY SPENCER — One of the most well-known drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in recent years, Spencer first made a name for himself in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Spencer won 15 Whelen Modified Tour races over four seasons, from 1985-88, and was a two-time champion in '86-87.

No. 10 REGGIE RUGGIERO — Regarded as one of the best NASCAR Modified drivers never to win a championship, Reggie Ruggiero's 44 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories are second only to Mike Stefanik on the all-time win list. "The Reg" has won multiple track championships and finished in the top 10 in Whelen Modified Tour championship points 13 times, in 16 seasons between 1986-2001.