There are significant moments in our lives that are often described as being "mile markers"- a fact that is particularly fitting for someone like Mike Affarano, who has made automobiles and driving a passion in his life.
Anyone who takes the time to talk with the 56-year-old owner of Affarano Motorsports quickly learns that Mike has seen his fair share and passed many of those mile markers, not just in his racing career, but in his personal life as well.
Those memorable mile markers accumulated quickly as the young Mike Affarano grew up, covered in grease and oil, working under the hood of his father's cars. Mike would eventually compete, himself, on figure eights and race late models at LaSalle Speedway and the famed Santa Fe Speedway in his home state of Illinois. And although racing is a tough sport, his most difficult mile marker would be the tragic death of his teenage son, Mike Affarano Jr., in 2005.
For the next six years the lights in the garage would remain off as Mike, along with his wife Sandy, struggled together to mend the broken pieces of their lives and hearts; speaking at local area high schools and helping to educate students and parents in an effort to help prevent a similar occurrence from ever befalling another family.
The desire to race, however, could not be ignored; the lights in the garage began to glow again, into the wee hours of the morning, as Mike returned to racing in the ARCA Series.
The following year, Mike would face a mile marker that all race car drivers fear- the big wreck. With just 19 laps remaining in the May 2012 ARCA race at Talladega, Mike was hit from behind and sent careening nose first into the outside wall at nearly 200 mph. The resulting impact caused Mike to flip and tumble six and a half times down the front stretch. The wreck was featured on nearly every news broadcast in the nation and the video of the tumultuous crash has been viewed more than half a million times on YouTube.
After competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2014, Mike decided to expand Affarano Motorsports for the 2015 season this time as the Team Owner of a NASCAR Xfinity Series team for Johanna Long and has opened his program to help support and develop other drivers and provide rentals for others.