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Sorry to have to announce that Southern Tier modified star Mike Colsten passed away this morning.  

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To say that Mike was one of the good guys would be a massive understatement.  Thanks to the friendship that he and my father had forged over the past 40+ years, I got to witness what a great person he was, and what a great family the Colstens are, not just at the track, but away from it as well.  Mike's courageous fight over the last several years is an inspiration and he will be deeply missed.  Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts at this tough time.

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To those of us who knew Mike's battle, this is the inevitable day we knew would unfortunately come... I last saw Mike on November 22nd at my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. He was frail and weak but made it a point to get out of the house and spend time with my dad, whom he was best friends with in high school many moons ago.  The table he sat at consisted of Mike, my uncle Chuck, my uncle Larry Groover (another former Modified standout), and their spouses.  At first sight you would think there were some classic bench racing stories being spewed at that table, but far from it.  The conversations I heard were more about their friendships, the passing of time, and the frailty of life.  When Mike had left for the evening, Chuck commented to me that all the racing they did together back in the day didn't mean a damn thing at this point....

Anyone that knew Mike only from the grandstands knew he was one tough, aggressive, go-for-it racer.  He got under the skin of most everyone at one point or another, lol.... but when you approached him after the race, you couldn't stay mad at him for more than a few seconds.  Mike just had that way of brightening the moment even when you wanted to be mad.  And he would be the first one to lend you a hand if you needed something in a pinch (although not many people ran Ford stuff so he was pretty safe in that regard, lol).

Away from the track, Mike was maybe the nicest man I ever met.  I heard countless stories from  my dad about the hell they raised in high school, at cross country meets, and tearing up the back roads of Broome County as teenagers.  In my early teens I actually raced Microds with Mike's sons Jerry and Mike Jr.... and in the summer when my dad traveled for work to the west coast, Mike would load three carts in the back of his white pickup and fly up Rte 81 so we could race on Wednesday nights at the old Cortland County Microd Club by the airport.  We were all convinced that at some point, one of us was going to lose our cart on the highway when the bungee cords broke, but somehow Mike made it work, lol.  He always had a way of getting the best from a situation...

My sincere condolences to Lea, Jerry, Jenny, Joey, Mike Jr, Julie, and Jason for their loss.  Also to the many who are children in-law, grandchildren, and racing family members like Tim Smith.... Mike was a great family man - God fearing, and willing to help anyone he crossed paths with.  He will be sorely missed.... God Speed #51

 

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One of the toughest competitors to ever strap in a racecar. Thoughts and prayers to his family, Godspeed Mike.

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Rest in peace.

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I believe what needed to be said already has RIP Mike...

 

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RIP Mr. Colsten. I use to see him race up at Weedsport and Rolling Wheels through the 70s 80s and 90s. If I remember right he use to race a late model in the 70s. I actually remember him at Weedsport in the early 90's at the season opener. The reason I remember this race was he was usually like middle of the pack kind or guy there. But he put on a show at this race. It was really friggen cold, very windy. But the pits were packed. They had a bunch of guys that had to pit in the infield. The track sucked, it was completely locked down to the bottom. If you started on the outside in your heat you were pretty much screwed if you weren't able to immediately get to the bottom by turn 1. Colsten was one of the lucky ones to qualify. The feature we figured was going to be pretty boring. But it really surprised us. At the start everyone dropped to the bottom just like in the heats. Everyone but Colsten. he actually stayed up top and was just running by that train. Because everyone was stuck to the bottom the speeds were very slow. Colsten took full advantage of that. I don't remember where he finished but I'm almost sure he had a top five out of it. A few other guys went up top after he passed them and we got a little bit of a show out of it. I don't even remember who won the race because all of us were watching Colsten.  He was the only reason that the day wasn't a miserable failure of a trip.

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