SBD/January 27, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Pocono Raceway Founder & Chair Mattioli Passes Away At 86

Mattioli oversaw operations at Pocono Raceway until late last year
Pocono Raceway Founder & Chair Dr. JOSEPH "DOC" MATTIOLI died Thursday at Lehigh Valley Hospital at the age of 86, according to Mike Kuhns of the POCONO RECORD. Mattioli "developed and built Pocono Raceway in the early 1960s." Though there were times "when Mattioli considered selling the track," keeping the track "may have been Mattioli's best business decision in the Poconos." Mattioli retired last year, "leaving full responsibility to his grandson, BRANDON IGDALSKY" (POCONO RECORD, 1/27). NASCAR VP/Competition ROBIN PEMBERTON said that Mattioli's death in "no way affects future decisions to keep two Cup events at the track," and he "praised the Mattioli family for all of the improvements it has made at the facility in Long Pond, Pa." (ESPN.com, 1/26). The AP's Steve Reed noted Pocono Raceway is the "only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule" (AP, 1/26). In Pennsylvania, Tom DeSchriver writes it "takes a special, and gutsy, person to look at an overgrown field, which Pocono Raceway's location was in the 1960s, and envision a huge race track that the world's best drivers would come to. ... But Mattioli pulled it off." And as a "shrewd and crafty a businessman as he was, most folks who knew him well will remember the Mattioli with a big smile, a gift for gab and a generous heart" (POCONO RECORD, 1/27). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Hart noted Mattioli modeled his track after Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona Int'l Speedway. That is how the "one-of-a-kind layout known as the 'Tricky Triangle' came to be." He "set the distance of his races at 500 miles, because that’s what they had in Indy and Daytona" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/26).
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