On Feb. 23, drag racing took a back seat to tragedy for Kyle Michalek.
After his wife, Stephanie, gave birth to their son, Andrews Edward Michalek, on that day, she passed away. Stephanie was 34.
Kyle and his brother Corey, of MBR, will compete for their only time this season when they match race at the Night Under Fire Aug. 10 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk.
The MBR A/Fuel dragster will be sporting a Stephanie Andrews Michalek commemorative decal for the first time, and friends and family will be wearing identical pins to come together as one to celebrate Steph’s life.
“This has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” Kyle said. “But, at this point, all we can do is just remember all the great times and celebrate all the great things that she did. I’m sure it will be emotional. We will be thinking about her doing some special stuff and she always came to the track with us and will be thinking about all the good times we had. This should be a great way to honor and celebrate her life.”
There will be a special announcement in Stephanie’s honor during the 5:30 p.m. (ET) pre-race ceremony.
“Back in February, we were planning on running a normal season, where we were going to run four to six races,” Kyle said. “The Night Under Fire was always part of the plan, but once that happened, we had to take a step back. My brother and everyone on the team wholeheartedly understood that family needs to come first. Racing is very important to us, but family trumps everything. We took a step back to get things figured out and when the time was right, we would be back at the track.
Bill Bader, at Summit Motorsports Park, is a big partner of ours and we talked to him and he was wholeheartedly onboard and told us to do whatever we needed to do. We knew it was going to be tough to get out to more than one race and we thought what is the one race we can go to do and make this manageable? The Night Under Fire just made sense.”
Kyle believes his MBR team competing at Norwalk will help the healing process.
“Racing is one of the things that really pulls our family together,” Kyle said. “We have a really big support system. This is one race for one day and we thought if we got back out there it would make us all feel good because we would be back at the track spending time together. That’s how this all came together, and we couldn’t be more exited to get back out there and what’s even more cool is the stuff we have planned for this weekend.”
Kyle’s serving as the car chief at the Night Under Fire and Corey will be driving the dragster.
“I think we have a good tune-up and the car should run well this weekend,” Kyle said.
The MBR dragster will compete against Gutierrez Brothers Racing in a match race at the Night Under Fire. The teams will make two runs against each other, the second one under the lights. J.P. Gutierrez will be driving the GBR dragster.
“We are good buddies with them, and we have a lot in common and we have a lot of fun racing them,” Kyle said.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019