Nick Igdalsky, grandson of legendary Pocono Raceway owners Drs. Rose and Joseph Mattioli, is most often seen on the grounds of the racetrack, fulfilling his duties as Senior Vice President and host of two NASCAR Cup races.
But this weekend, Igdalsky will metamorphosis into a race car driver himself, making his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey.
"Racing is more than a hobby for me," said Igdalsky. "It is a side job."
Igdalsky continued, "When I am not in the office at Pocono, you can usually find me out on the race track."
While one of the most innovative track promoters, Igdalsky is also an accomplished race car driver.
"I started racing at age 16 but not competitively," Igdalsky said. "I did the Bertil Roos Racing School programs once or twice a year with my brother Brandon until college ended."
After graduation, Igdalsky entered two SCCA events, winning his first regional race and finishing second in his second race, after breaking a suspension part in qualifying and having to start dead last.
"That lit an even bigger fire under me," Igdalsky said of his love for racing and the competition of the sport.
Igdalsky had caught the racing bug so badly that he started coaching drivers for the Bertil Roos school in exchange for seat time in the car. In 2003, Igdalsky moved to Virginia to run the family track there, the South Boston Speedway.
"I went out and bought a Nissan 240sx to race in the NASCAR Pure Stock Division," Igdalsky said. In his rookie season, he led the division, with seven poles, five wins, and most laps led.
Unfortunately, Igdalsky had to sacrifice his run for the championship as several of the races conflicted with Cup dates at Pocono Raceway. He still ended his South Boston racing career with 10 wins in just over two years.
Igdalsky then moved back to Pennsylvania to give full attention to Pocono Raceway. He returned to the track as well, running the Bertil Roos F2000 Pro Series.
In two years of open wheel racing, Igdalsky compiled nine wins and 14 top-three finishes in 20 starts. This put Igdalsky in the 7th position on the all time series win list.
In 2009, Igdalsky began his rookie year in the Grand-Am Series, racing with cousin and ARCA regular Chase Mattioli. So far the cousins have managed two top-10 finishes in the 2009 season.
Igdalsky will run the No. 83 ModSpace/American Red Cross Ford fielded by Andy Belmont Racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series NJMP 150. He will be competing against his cousin Chase Mattioli, as well as the other regular Andy Belmont Racing driver Kory Rabenold.
In addition to celebrating his 32nd birthday, Igdalsky has also pledged all of his race winnings to the American Red Cross, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter. The Red Cross is a charity that is near and dear to Igdalsky's heart, as well as the entire Mattioli family.
"My family has a long history of working with the American Red Cross SEPA Chapter and I could not have picked a more worthy organization to benefit," Igdalsky stated. "I am confident that we can have a good finish for them."
Tom Foley, CEO of the American Red Cross SEPA chapter, shared that he was extremely pleased to have Igdalsky flying the banner for the American Red Cross for the weekend.
"We have always had a strong relationship with the Mattioli family and we are thrilled to have the exposure Nick will bring us this weekend in New Jersey," Foley said. "We know he has a wealth of racing experience and we are hoping for a great finish for him."
After completing his ARCA debut, Igdalsky will return to his Senior Vice President duties at Pocono Raceway for the final event at the track before the off-season officially begins. The 5th Annual Good Guys Great American National Car Show, held on September 25th to 27th, will close the season at Pocono.
"After that, it is back to planning and getting ready for our 2010 season at the track," Igdalsky advised. He also has big plans for the Pocono Raceway and there will be announcements shortly regarding the track's club seating, among other improvements, many of which have been suggested by the fans.
But before he returns to Pocono, Igdalsky will enjoy his slight detour through New Jersey for his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut. Although Igdalsky's famed family will be in attendance, there is no doubt that the folks from the American Red Cross will be Igdalsky's major cheering section, hoping for that race win donation to their favorite charity.