Featured Pocono Raceway Ticket Packages
500 Long Pond Road
Long Pond, PA 18334
No place in racing has more of a family feel than Pocono Raceway - and there's a simple reason for that. The Mattioli family. Joe and Rose Mattioli are the face of Pocono Raceway. They are also its heart and soul. They're both doctors - Joe a dentist and Rose a podiatrist - who met at Temple University and eventually gave up their practices and moved to the Pocono Mountains.
During the 1960s a group of businessmen from the area purchased 1,025 of forests and spinach fields and began working on a race track. A three-quarter mile oval was finished in 1969 and the 2.5 mile track was completed two years later.
There are other 2.5-mile race tracks in America, but there is no other track like Pocono Raceway. First, it's a triangular oval. There are only three turns, each connected by a straightaway of varying lengths. The longest straightaway, the frontstretch, stretches 3,740 feet long and leads into Turn 1, a 14-degree turn that is like a turn you'd find on a superspeedway. From there, a 3,055-foot straightaway connects to the "tunnel turn," an 8-degree turn over the tunnel leading into the track's infield that drivers say is like a turn they find on short tracks. Because of the speeds and the angle that drivers must approach that turn, the "tunnel turn" is widely considered one of the most difficult in NASCAR. After that, it's 1,780 feet to Turn 3, a 6-degree turn that has a road-course feel for the drivers. Put all of those things together and you've got Pocono Raceway, a track that has challenged NASCAR's best since the first Cup race there in 1974.
As dedicated as the Mattioli family has been to making Pocono Raceway a success, times have sometimes been rough. Soon after the first IndyCar race, the Schaefer 500 in 1971, Hurricane Agnes struck the area and left severe damage behind. Economic challenges and the energy crisis threatened Pocono Raceway's very existence. Tracks in other parts of the country didn't survive, and Joe and Rose Mattioli considered selling out.
"We were almost bankrupt two or three times but were too dumb to realize it," Joe Mattioli wrote in a history of the track posted on its website. "We were on the verge of selling the track when we received a telephone call from Bill France Sr., who asked us to meet with him in New York. At the meeting he tried to convince me not to sell the track, to stick it out and stay the course. "¦He gave us moral support and a lot of good advice. He and his wife, Annie B., came to the race the next two years to show their support for Pocono Raceway. Shortly thereafter he and his son, Bill Jr., gave us our second NASCAR race and as they say, the rest is history. Had it not been for Bill France Sr., Annie B. and Bill Jr., Pocono Raceway would not be here today."
Since getting that second Cup date in 1982, Pocono Raceway has continued to grow and flourish. The Mattiolis welcome nearly 100,000 ticket holders to their home in the Poconos twice each year, where drivers like Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Tim Richmond and Darrell Waltrip have been among the all-time standouts.