Small Tire Drag Racing Champion and Pioneer Mustang Mike Modeste Has Passed

Small Tire Drag Racing Champion and Pioneer Mustang Mike Modeste Has Passed

Sad news to report from the world of drag racing as pioneering small tire racer, multi-time NSCA champion, very recent World Cup winner, and highly respected racer “Mustang Mike” Modeste has died. Reports we have fielded say that Modeste passed away unexpectedly and suddenly at his home. He was seen hanging out, talking, and in fine spirits at the PRI show last week in Indy. His 2016 season was a strong one and his career ended with a big win at the Maryland International Raceway World Cup Finals signaling the umpteenth time that he had prevailed over a tough field of competitors. Modeste also proved that he still had the touch by winning the hotly contested Radialfest event at Huntsville Dragway in 2016 as well.

“Mustang Mike” rose to prominence in the early 2000s by competing in and dominating the National Street Car Association series. He won championships in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007 and along the way was the fourth person to break into the 6s in the quarter mile on radial tires. The guy was at the bleeding edge of the scene from its inception and he was there with a trademark smile and laid back attitude that was likely intimidating to others who did not handle the pressure so smoothly.

Modeste first got a taste for speed street racing in Brooklyn and later graduated to the race track, all the while reading car magazines and becoming more and more obsessed with the worlds of high performance and drag racing. He worked in machine shops as a kid learning the engine building and tuning trade along with working as a highly regard Ford technician at the Manhattan Automobile Company where he specialized in “factory hot rodding” Ford cars with superchargers and other equipment.

His love for the sport was very clear and it was love that ran very deep into his bones. No one races for as long and as hard as Modeste did unless you love it. He had a massive crash at Englishtown in the early 2000s that stopped his NSCA championship streak but eventually it allowed him to return with great equipment and effectively pick right back up where he left off.

Modeste leaves a legacy of kindness, intense competitive spirit, and respect behind him. His hard work helped pave the way for the racing we have today and it was a scene that he not only helped build but was also still at the forefront of.

He will be missed.


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10 thoughts on “Small Tire Drag Racing Champion and Pioneer Mustang Mike Modeste Has Passed

  1. Race Car Alex

    Heard about it early yesterday afternoon as the news just started to roll out. Didn’t want to believe it at first. What a good dude. Met him at the 2015 World street nats in Orlando. Ive followed him for a long time. RIP Mike. Prayers for him and the family.

  2. Falcon Mike st john.

    Spent time with Mike dyno tuning my car.learned a lot from him.and had much respect and love for him.He was the very best at what he did.the pro charger I have now was one he had on his car before he went to twin f1x.Rest in peace mike.Love Mike and Mona.

  3. Mike Tritle

    Had the honor of working with Mike in the JAMA tent in 02 or 03 analyzing data on a Saturday evening at Quaker City. He was well on a roll to his several NSCA Championships at the time. He was a genius and while he thanked me up and down for helping I have to say it was I who learned more from that session than he. RIP Mustang Mike. Looking forward to seeing you again some day!

  4. Mona white

    I received a call yesterday could not be leave what I heard my heart is so heavy right now mustang (modeste) mike is gone but will never be forgotten he was the best at what ever he did mustang mike my self Mona and mike St. John spent a lot of times together specially at the dyno at the shake downs or just hanging out he was like a brother we are gonna miss him SIP Stay race ready up there RIP Mona and mike

  5. Mona white

    I’m really missing him right now raceway park atco raceway has a lot of his memory’s his smile his kindnesse his layed back personality I remember him and his book bag every we’re he went he carried that bag one of the smoothest brothers you wanted to meet I called him a smooth operator RIPkeep the going SIP mustang(modeste)mike love you❤️️❤️️Bro

  6. Falcon Mike st john.

    Racing HALL of Fame. He was just that good


    Rest in Peace, Mike Modesto.
    Glad to this announcement, that Mike’s KINDNESS was listed first in praise of his attributes.

  8. johnnie jackson

    we have raced with him at Knoxville drag way he was a cool dude and a good racer u will be missed

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