Pocono Raceway/Mattioli Family

Pocono Raceway co-founder Dr. Rose Mattioli dies at 92

Leave a comment

Dr. Rose Mattioli, who along with late husband Dr. Joseph Mattioli co-founded Pocono Raceway in 1968, died Monday at 92, according to a track media release.

Known as “Dr. Rose,” Mrs. Mattioli was the matriarch of the family that still owns and operates the racetrack today. The track held five races, including two NASCAR Cup races, this past weekend.

A statement from both the Mattioli and Igdalsky families read:

“Dr. Rose was the heart and soul of Pocono Raceway for over 50 years. She would often tell us, ‘I love Pocono and auto racing more than Doc,’ and we believed her. While Doc moved the mountains, Rose moved your spirit. Dr. Rose’s contributions to motorsports and her philanthropic efforts will always live in a class of their own.

“She played a vital role in allowing women into auto racing garage areas during an era where they were otherwise unwelcome. Additionally, Dr. Rose and Doc gave back to the community, often anonymously and without hesitation. Her passing has motivated us to remain steadfast, now more than ever, to never waiver from Rose and Doc’s commitment of always doing right by our Pocono Raceway family, our fans, our local community and the auto racing industry.

“While we will miss her, we take comfort in knowing Rose and Doc are reunited and that their legacy will live on forever.”

Dr. Rose was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Joseph “Doc” Mattioli, who died on Jan. 26, 2012 at 86.

Mrs. Mattioli is survived by daughters Looie and Michele, son Joseph III, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. “The Mattioli and Igdalsky families also wish to thank Jessica Rene, Rose’s loving caregiver, for the support and companionship which Dr. Rose dearly cherished,” the track statement noted.

Services for Dr. Rose Mattioli will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, her family asks for donations be sent to any charity of the donors’ choosing. The family also said in a statement, “The entire Pocono Raceway family thanks you for your kind words and outreach.”

Here is more about Mrs. Mattioli from the track release:

“Born and raised in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Rose met Joseph Mattioli while attending Temple University in 1947. The couple secretly eloped one year later and ‘officially married,’ in the presence of family and friends, on August 5, 1950.  While celebrating the first birthday of their first child, Looie, and pregnant with their second child, Joseph III, Rose graduated first in her class from Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine in June of 1952. They welcomed their third child, Michele, in 1955. That same year, Drs. Joseph and Rose opened their dental and podiatric practices in Northeast Philadelphia.

“In the mid-1960s, Rose and Doc took on a new business venture in Long Pond, Pa. They developed a large acreage of land and helped build Pocono Raceway. The track would host its first major motorsports event in 1971 on the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway, now known as ‘The Tricky Triangle.’ Rose and Doc would eventually move from Philadelphia and make the beautiful Pocono Mountains their home. While neither knew anything about auto racing, in addition to facing multiple financial burdens, their perseverance and drive helped Pocono Raceway succeed through it all. Pocono Raceway has become one of the most picturesque and most beloved motorsports and entertainment venues in the world. Guests who annually visit have always been considered more than spectators or fans – they are considered ‘family.’

“In addition to bringing world-class auto racing and entertainment to their ‘family,’ Dr. Rose and Doc gave back to the Pocono Mountains community and the surrounding Northeast Pennsylvania region. When a local need arose, the Mattioli’s would be among the first to respond and, often anonymously and without media attention. Today, the Mattioli name decorates many buildings and the established Mattioli Foundation funds a bevy of scholarships and charitable organization. This includes organizations such as the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, United Way of Monroe County, Lehigh Valley Healthy Network, the Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, Jimmie Johnson Legacy Scholarship at Monroe Career & Technical Institute and The NASCAR Foundation.

“In honor of the trailblazing efforts, tireless dedication, commitment and passion of Dr. Rose, Pocono Raceway launched their first all-women’s initiative with the creation of the Rose Pedals in 2017. Continuing the Mattioli spirit of community, philanthropy, and service, the Rose Pedals have provided volunteer assistance in areas of need to include Meals on Wheels, Women’s Resource Center, Family Promise of Monroe County and Operation Touch of Home among other agencies and organizations. The Rose Pedals’ future vision includes a mentoring program built on the foundation of service to work toward expanding opportunities for girls and women in the community by providing tools to recognize their power, potential and accomplishments.”

NASCAR Chairman & CEO Jim France and NASCAR Executive Vice Chair Lesa Kennedy issued the following statement: “Our family and all of NASCAR is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Rose Mattioli. For three generations, the relationship between our families has been more personal than professional. Rose and Doc created a unique racing experience at Pocono Raceway, bringing a passion for race fans and love of racing to everything they touched. On behalf of the France family and the entire motorsports industry, NASCAR extends our deepest condolences to the Mattioli family during this difficult time.”

Follow Jerry Bonkowski

Xfinity playoff grid after Indianapolis

Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe‘s continued dominance of the Xfinity Series over the weekend on the Indianapolis road course ensured no additional drivers locked themselves into the 12-driver playoff field.

Through 13 races, Briscoe and four other drivers have qualified for the playoffs via race wins. Briscoe, who has five race wins, leads the field with 28 playoff points.

The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Riley Herbst (+19 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+6 points).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-6), Alex Labbe (-32), Jeremy Clements (-49) and Josh Williams (-57).

Cup Series playoff grid after Brickyard 400

Leave a comment

With Kevin Harvick‘s victory Sunday in the Brickyard 400, no additional drivers locked themselves into the Cup Series playoff field.

But there was some movement at the bottom of the playoff grid as drivers jockey to make the 16-car field.

After he missed the race due to his COVID-19 diagnosis, Jimmie Johnson fell from 12th to 15th on the grid. He’s now 36 points above the cutline.

Matt DiBenedetto earned stage points in each stage before finishing 19th. He moved from 14th to 12th in the standings.

After earning stage points in both stages Sunday, Austin Dillon has cracked the top 16, moving up one spot. He has a six-point advantage over Erik Jones, who crashed out of Sunday’s race and had a 14-point advantage over Dillon entering the weekend.

With his ninth-place finish Sunday, Bubba Wallace is now within reach of the top 16. He sits at 19th, 42 points back from 16th.

Here’s the full playoff grid.

Oval or road course? Cup drivers address future of Brickyard 400

NASCAR
Getty Images
3 Comments

For 27 years, the Cup Series has competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its annual Brickyard 400. All 27 of those races have been run exclusively on the track’s traditional 2.5-mile oval.

But following Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the track’s 2.4-mile, 14-turn road course, an obvious question has been raised:

Should the Brickyard 400 remain on the oval, where passing is made difficult due to a combination of the rules package and the design of the track, or should moving it to the road course be considered?

“I would never vote for that,” Kevin Harvick declared last week before he won his third Brickyard 400 on Sunday. “I love everything about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For me it is all about the oval … racing on the traditional track because for me I am kind of old school and I think that the Cup cars belong and really started the Brickyard 400.

“That was kind of what it was always meant to be, that iconic one-off, just the Cup cars event. I think with the Xfinity cars and the trucks and (ARCA Menards) cars and all the things that used to race at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), it was a great event. Hopefully the road course can kind of take that role that IRP used to have and be able to bring the Indy cars and NASCAR together to add to that event at the Speedway. For me personally, I would never vote for the Cup cars to not run on the oval.”

Harvick is joined in that camp by his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Aric Almirola, who finished third in Sunday’s race for his first top five and top-10 finish at Indy.

“I hope that we never stop running the oval,” Almirola said. “I just think it’s one of these places that regardless if it puts on the greatest race or not, it’s historic. It’s just a special place. It’s hard to explain when you don’t grow up a racer and you don’t aspire to come to race at Indy.

“But for me, I grew up watching stock car racing and dirt sprint car racing. I grew up watching Thursday Night Thunder, seeing so many guys go from USAC racing and sprint car racing to racing at Indy. It’s something I’ve always kept up with, always dreamed about getting the opportunity to race here. I get that opportunity now.”

Matt Kenseth, who finished second Sunday in his 20th Brickyard 400, said the Cup Series “should be” on the oval. But the Chip Ganassi Racing driver is open to the idea of Cup using the road course in some manner.

 “I think it’s one of those racetracks that we need to race at as long as we can,” Kenseth said of the oval. “It’s arguably the most famous speedway in the world, or one of them.

“To be able to race on the ovals with the Cup cars, which is the highest form of stock car racing here, we should be on the big track as well. I don’t think it would be bad to maybe test the road course and look into it, maybe do a second race on a road course, kind of like the IndyCars did this week.

“I really do think the Brickyard 400 has a lot of prestige. It’s not a southern race, but similar to the Southern 500, races like that. I think there’s a few of those races you sure would hate to see disappear.”

Crew chief describes ‘frightening’ scene on pit road at Indy

Leave a comment

Crew chief Todd Gordon said it was “frightening” to see rear tire changer Zach Price hit on pit road and then try to scoot away from cars during Sunday’s Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Price, who changes tires for Ryan Blaney’s team, was injured when he was struck by Brennan Poole’s car during a melee near the entrance of pit road early in the race.

Gordon, speaking Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said indications are that Price’s injury was a “fracture someplace in the knee area.”

Price was treated and released from an Indianapolis hospital on Sunday night and traveled home with the team. Gordon said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Price was scheduled to see a doctor Monday.

“Just hope to get him back and get him back going again and healthy,” Gordon said.

Gordon described what he saw as cars made contact.

“A really frightening moment for me,” he said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I was really terrorized when I saw (Price) drag himself back across the pit box arms only for a while there. As the situation kind of progressed and the medical staff was working with him, I could see in his face he was better off than I thought he was to start with.

“Fortunate that the guys got up and got at least in the air. The jackman (Graham Stoddard) got on top of the car. Just one of those terrible situations. I felt like those accidents happened mid-pit road. That’s why I picked way back there to be behind it.”

Said Justin Allgaier, who was involved in the accident on pit road that led to six cars eventually being eliminated:  “The No. 15 (Poole) actually got in the back of me. I didn’t know if I got the gentleman on (Blaney’s pit crew) or not. Once the wreck started happening in front of us and we all got bottled-up there, one car after another were getting run into.”

Indianapolis’ pit road is the most narrow of all the tracks the Cup Series races. The two travel lanes are 24 feet wide. The pit stall for each team is 15 feet wide.