FINDLAY, Ohio — Mike Streicher, the 1991 USAC National Midget Series champion and a well-known fabricator, died suddenly Wednesday morning after an apparent heart attack.
Streicher was 62.
Born in Findlay, Ohio, Streicher’s claim to fame behind the wheel came 28 years ago, when he charged from behind in the final four races of the USAC midget season to defeat Stevie Reeves for the national championship by a scant 17 points.
During a grueling 33-race season, Streicher did the job in his own No. 8 Gaerte-powered Hawk Chassis, with only one feature victory — at Kentucky’s Richmond Raceway — but remarkable consistency.
Streicher collected 21 top-10 finishes and started all but one race during his underdog championship campaign.
A sixth-place finish on the final night of the season at El Centro, Calif., was enough for Streicher to overhaul Reeves, who crashed in practice, blew an engine in his heat race and then flipped on the third lap of the finale feature.
All told, Streicher won USAC National Midget Series championships as a driver, car owner, mechanic and car builder. In addition to his 1991 driving title, Streicher was the mechanic and car owner during Rich Vogler’s 1983 USAC National Midget Series championship run.
He was a six-time USAC National Midget Series feature winner, with his first win coming at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in 1988.
Streicher was the head man behind the Hawk Chassis brand of midget and quarter midget cars, built with support from Bobby Seymour and Seymour Enterprises out of Massachusetts.
His chassis earned numerous feature wins with sanctions including USAC, NAMARS, ARCA, NEMA and ARDC.
Streicher also built several of the famed Munchkin midgets, best known for racing indoors at the Rumble in Fort Wayne, with assistance from Munchkin creator Mike Fedorcak.
Streicher’s recent years were spent as a professor at the University of Northwestern Ohio, teaching classes and serving as an assistant coach for the UNOH motorsports team, helping to educate the next generation of racers and mechanics.
However, he did assist with the build on a Seymour Motorsports Hawk/AutoCraft midget for the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., back in January, which was piloted by Davey Ray.
Funeral arrangements for Streicher are pending.