Ewanitsko Has Full Life Now Outside of Racing
As Mod Tour Heads to Riverhead, One of the Best Drivers Ever There Now Watches
Mike Ewanitsko last raced in New Smyrna, Fla. in February of 2006, when he broke his left foot in a crash.
But when he walked back into Riverhead Raceway last week to watch some action, it was almost as if he never left.
“We walked in there with the kids Saturday night,” Ewanitsko said, “people were still coming up, saying ‘You were the bomb here.’ It was great. It’s good for the ego.”
Mike Ewanitsko's last ride in a Modified came behind the wheel of the #36 at Florida Speedweeks in 2006.
The truth is very few were better than Ewanitsko at Riverhead, and certainly none have come close to matching the 11 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins he recorded at the ¼-mile track.
For the North Babylon, N.Y. driver, nothing beat winning at home.
“To be at a home race track like that,” Ewanitsko said, “and have the good luck, and end up in Victory Lane the amount of time we did, I couldn’t ask for anything better.
“There’s nothing better than winning in front of your home fans.”
Ewanitsko scored his first Tour win at Riverhead in 1987, when he took two of the three races there that season.
He won at least once a year from 1987-92, except for ’91. In the four races spanning 1997-98, he had three wins and a runner-up finish.
“It’s a great thing to say, they’re all good memories,” Ewanitsko said.
His racing career took a detour several years ago when he began to suffer side-effects from diabetes, which he was diagnosed with when he was 12. He had successful eye surgery in 2005. He is currently awaiting a kidney transplant.
“My girlfriend, Linda, is actually going to give me a kidney,” Ewanitsko said. “We’re going to do that hopefully in the beginning of winter.
In addition to his three kids – Nicole, 9, and twins Michael and Paige, 8 – Ewanitsko’s girlfriend has a daughter, Ashley, 13, and son, Sean, 9. Between all of the kids’ activities from playing sports to dancing, Ewanitsko said he is staying plenty busy.
“I’m contemplating the future,” said Ewanitsko, who lives in Miller Place on Long Island and works for the printing company, Mutual Engraving and Printing Company, owned by his father and uncle. “Is the race chapter of my life over? I don’t know. … My plate is fuller now than when I was racing.”
“I try to stay away because I miss (racing) so much. Then when you do go, you see all your old friends,” said Ewanitsko, who finally went back for the ‘Tribute To Our Legends’ event in memory of Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek and Tommy Baldwin Sr. last week. “I got to see Tommy (Baldwin) Jr., a bunch of old friends and my crazy fans in turn 2.”