Mike Mittler, whose MB Motorsports team has given opportunities to many future NASCAR stars in over two decades of operation, has died. He had been battling cancer, particularly multiple myeloma.
Along with Jim Rosenblum‘s FDNY Racing, MB Motorsports is one of the remaining teams that competed in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series‘ inaugural season in 1995. Throughout much of its history, MB fielded the #26 Ford and #63 Chevrolet, with the latter currently being used by Copp Motorsports.
Although not a decorated organisation, future Monster Energy Cup Series stars ran their early NASCAR national series starts for the team, including 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray in 1998, two-time Cup runner up Carl Edwards in 2002, and 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski in 2006. NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran Justin Allgaier and 2011 Southern 500 winner Regan Smith made their national series débuts for MB in 2005 and 2002, respectively.
In 2015, the team gained attention when dirt track racer Bobby Pierce won the pole and scored a second-place finish in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, the team’s best finish.
Before MB Motorsports, Mittler worked in the industry for various teams and drivers, including future NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace and his brother Kenny. His Mittler Brothers company manufactures metal fabrication tools and other products used by NASCAR teams.
“My heart is incredibly heavy as our friend Mike Mittler has passed away,” Kenny Wallace said in a Twitter video. “I believe in celebrating Mike’s life. I knew him since I was a little kid, and when we were starting racing, we couldn’t get something fixed, everybody in the Midwest would say, ‘Call Mike Mittler, he can fix it.’ If we broke a bolt off or something was broken, it was always, ‘Call Mike Mittler.’
“And then Mike went on to help my brother Rusty Wallace and everybody around in St. Louis. Every race team in the St. Louis or around the United States, their lives have been touched by the great Mike Mittler.”
Keselowski and McMurray offered their condolences:
Well said Kenny. He helped me get to where I’m at today like he selflessly did for so many others in Motorsports today.
I was planning to go see him tomorrow morning in his house in St. Louis. So sad to not get to say goodbye. https://t.co/8TtnYY72Fc
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 11, 2019
Lost a dear friend today. Mike Mittler gave me my first big break in NASCAR. He loved racing as much or more than anyone I have ever been around. I will always cherish the time I spent racing for Mike and his wife Bev. pic.twitter.com/0wpmJ74wKI
— Jamie McMurray (@jamiemcmurray) May 11, 2019