|Date: 9/15/2009 10:45:28 PM|
Nick Igdalsky has Respectable ARCA Debut in New Jersey
By Dino Oberto …. “Keeping Track”
Over the past two years Nick Igdalsky of Long Pond, who is Senior Vice President of Pocono Raceway, has been working not only on the day to day operations of the family run speed plant, but also alongside younger cousin Chase Mattioli as a spotter for him in the ARCA Series and NASCAR Camping World East Series.
This year has also seen the grandson of Pocono Raceway owners Dr.’s Joe and Rose Mattioli, compete in the Grand Am Koni Challenge Series. There he co-drives a Ford Mustang with his cousin in a car owned by JBS Motorsports.
This past weekend at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, Igdalsky got to make his first start in an ARCA car thanks to long time friend and popular car owner Andy Belmont and sponsor ModSpace.
“This was a one race deal for now. The company is based in Pennsylvania. Andy (Belmont) used to be my neighbor. His house was right next to my father’s business. We use to be over his place checking out his dirt modifieds in his driveway quite a bit,” said Igdalsky.
“ModSpace, a modular space company based out of Philadelphia came on and we told them we’d donate all the money to charity. We just wanted to get out here and have some fun.”
All of his race winnings were passed over to the American Red Cross Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter.
Although he has experience with stock cars, having won races at South Boston Speedway in Virginia, Igdalsky’s has a greater amount of track time in road racing. He had a very successful tenor with the Bertil Roos F2000 Series and that road track familiarity has carried over nicely with the Koni Mustang.
Still his chance to race with ARCA has special merit. For years the series has been hosted by his family at Pocono and Igdalsky looked forward to the challenge.
“It’s probably a little more special to me since I’ve watched them run at Pocono since I was a little kid. I watched guys like Tim Steele dominate year after year and then Frank Kimmel and Bobby Gerhart and those guys. It’s a little dearer to my heart, the ARCA Series, than it is to most guys. It’s such a good series too. The drivers are great the competition is very strong and I’m very happy to be in ARCA,” said Igdalsky.
In the race he qualified and finished a respectable 14th in the South Jersey Union Trades 150, one position behind cousin Chase. Not a bad showing when you consider he never drove the car before and was in a field with some very serious players which included race winner Patrick Long who has won the 24 hours of LeMans and Daytona as well as runner-up and highly sought after prospect Parker Kligerman who both have ties to Penske Racing among others.
“I didn’t have the best piece out there but I think for what we had we did as good as could be expected. I made one mistake that cost me a lap. I flat-spotted the right front tire and I had to come in and change it but other than that I felt I drove pretty well and I didn’t put a scratch on it,” said Igdalsky.
“I was a bit anxious to see what kind of animal we were dealing with. I wasn’t too concerned about any one thing in particular. The weight is pretty much the same as the Mustang I’ve been driving. The power was a little bit more and the brakes a little bit less but I felt everything translated very well.
“I didn’t know where the car would be field wise. I figured maybe a mid-pack car,” he continued.
“The guys were telling me that they didn’t expect the car to perform nearly as well as we did with it so they went beyond their expectations. Andy (Belmont) and his crew were really impressed were the car ended up and how it drove.
“For a while there I was running with Bob Schacht and then with Gabi DiCarlo. I didn’t want to do anything to effect anyone’s season. I knew most of those guys have been working hard all year long so I just wanted to run clean and then near the end make a little move if we had the chance. There was nothing really at stake and I just wanted to get a solid finish. We had fun.”
New Jersey Motorsports Park, located in Millville, NJ, is a work in progress. The facility is only two years young and is fast becoming a world class facility for road racers.
“I would have much rather been doing this at Pocono but I’ll take this. I do have experience on this track,” noted Igdalsky.
“I ran here earlier in the year with the Grand Am. That was one of the reasons we did it here because we knew we had the track time and the experience to run well.
“I really like the track. Their still, obviously, in the middle of building it up and they have a lot of plans for it. The layout of the track is both fast and technical. It fits my style very well. When we came here the first time with the Grand Am car we were practicing in the top ten.”
The question now is where Igdalsky goes from here. He will run the remainder of the Koni Series while the ARCA event will hopefully be the groundwork for next season.
“We’ll leave it up to the sponsors. It’s really going to be their call. I’ll race anything that anybody wants me to race. It’s going to be between the ARCA Series and the Grand Am for 2010. It just going to leave it up to the sponsors on where they want to market and who they want to market to.”
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