Mattioli gains valuable track experience in Nationwide Series debut plans more races across the board Long Pond, PA (June 30, 2009): There are defining moments in every professional racecar driver's career. For some these moments can be small,...
Mattioli gains valuable track experience in Nationwide Series debut plans more races across the board
Long Pond, PA (June 30, 2009): There are defining moments in every professional racecar driver's career. For some these moments can be small, as simple as acquiring a sponsor or qualifying for a race. For others, it may be winning an event at a historic racetrack such as Daytona or Indianapolis. A lucky few reach the pinnacle by winning a Sprint Cup Series championship.
Although these defining moments differ for every driver, they are ultimately significant because they determine not only how they sees themselves and their careers, but also how they are viewed by fans, sponsors, officials and their fellow competitors. For Chase Mattioli, Saturday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway marked his debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and embedded a memorable moment in what plans to be a long and successful career.
On Saturday, the NASCAR world tuned in to see 19-year-old Chase Mattioli drive a safe and smart race behind the wheel of the No. 07 Qik Joe Chevrolet. Due to inclement weather and problems with his seat, Mattioli was only able to get eight laps under his belt, prior to the Camping World RV Sales 200. Overall, the plan was for Mattioli to use the race as a way to gain experience, stay out of the way of the leaders, get some national exposure for his sponsors, and ensure that the team would remain locked into a starting position via their position in the owner's point standings.
Mattioli seemed to have no trouble keeping his focus on the overall goal of the day. With the help of Mike Calinoff, spotter for former Sprint Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth, directing him around the 1.058-mile track, and with the help of his No. 07 pit crew doing their job producing fast pit stops, all he had to do was make laps.
Mattioli started 42nd and finished an admirable 32nd, but more importantly, avoided trouble while gaining all important experience. En route to an overall successful debut, he earned the respect of veteran drivers, displayed when Sprint Cup driver, and eventual winner of Saturday's race, Kyle Busch, gave him a thumb's up as he passed him.
"This weekend at New Hampshire was different for me because I wasn't a driver; rather, I was a student," Mattioli said.
"Our plan going in was to gain seat time and get use to driving the Nationwide car, and I think we accomplished that goal and much more. You have to walk before you can run. The knowledge and experience I gained on Saturday will go a long way in helping me prepare for future Nationwide races.
"I just want to thank Quick Joe, Advance Payment Services, Mike Calinoff, the team, and all my other sponsors for making Saturday's run possible."
Calinoff, who is the spotter for NASCAR Champion and 2009 Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth said, "Chase really did an outstanding job in his Nationwide debut. What I was most impressed with was his ability to adjust to such a technical track so quickly. I've worked with many young drivers over the years and I truly believe that Chase has the skill sets necessary to be successful in a NASCAR touring series. I'll be following his progress closely."
If NASCAR approves Mattioli to run at tracks over a mile in length, his schedule may see some changes to incorporate other Nationwide Series events. Currently, Mattioli is set to compete in three races throughout the month of July, beginning with the ARCA RE/MAX Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway (July 11th), the Barber Motorsports Park KONI Grand-Am Challenge in Birmingham, Alabama (July 19th), and the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway (August 1st).