Race Car Driver... as a kid, that's all I ever wanted to be. It was my childhood dream. Growing up watching Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and other great drivers, they inspired me. There was nothing I wanted more than to climb into a stock car and hear that engine roar. That fire inside me never subsided, and today it burns even hotter.
This quest to "live my dream" of being a race car driver rekindled the fire inside me after the death of my mother, Peggy Poole, on January 6th, 2003. Mom died suddenly from a heart attack, which devastated our family and left my father alone and suffering from Parkinson's Disease. My mother was the rock solid foundation of our family, and as I walked away from her funeral, my only desire was to honor her memory in some way. I had a new goal. I was going to become a race car driver and I was going to win. As a kid, I always told Mom "I want to be a race car driver".
Then on May 5th, 2005, my world was again shattered when one of my dearest friends, Tonya Schultz, was brutally murdered by her husband, in front of their two young children. Yet another tragedy only fueled the desire to make this racing dream come true.
But without a golden resume and a long list of racing accomplishments to my credit, the word "NO" has been a very popular word during my pursuit of the dream. But it hasn't stopped the desire and the drive. All I needed was "my shot" at the dream, one chance to show what I can do behind the wheel. Carl Edwards handed out business cards that said "If you're looking for a driver, you're looking for me", and look where he is today. He got a shot, and he made the most of it. I have attended racing school at several tracks, and did well, but turning laps at racing school just did not feed the burning desire to race, and win. Bottom line, you will NOT find anyone else with the same desire to win that I have. My hero, 2-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, said it best... "I'm just a simple boy from Indiana, I don't want to be a legend or an icon or anything. I just want to be a race car driver, pure and simple" I feel the same way... I'm just a simple boy from Maryland, I don't want to be a legend or an icon or anything. I just want to be a race car driver, pure and simple. Every race car driver out there started somewhere, and that's all I need is a start. A "shot at the wheel".
On Saturday, February 3rd, 2007, I had my first test in a Craftsman Truck at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, NC. The "Birthplace of The NASCAR Stars" could not have been a more appropriate setting for my first test, Hickory is rich in racing history. Drivers such as Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, and many more "cut their racing teeth" at Hickory Motor Speedway. As I stood there looking at the start-finish line, I could envision all those great drivers crossing that line in years past. It was a moving experience just walking into that speedway. Plain and simple, I rocked the house. Chris Lafferty, the owner of the truck who accepted me into his driver development program, was very impressed with my first laps in a Craftsman Truck. I was consistent, my lines were perfect, and my speeds improved steadily as the day progressed. He told me that I not only proved I could run, but I also proved to him that I can think inside the truck. He told me several times throughout the day how happy he was with my first test, how well I did, and that he feels I have the potential to be able to compete in racing. He was also impressed with my drive and determination, as well as my willingness to listen and learn as a rookie driver.
It was a childhood dream come true just being in that truck for a test session. After several more tests in both the Late Model and the Street Stock car, Chris Lafferty decided that it was time for my first race. On July 21, 2007, I ran my very first race at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway driving the Lafferty Motorsports Monte Carlo in the Street Stock Division. I qualified 10th for my first race, and at the end of the day I was 12th in the results. My dream had come true, and somewhere up there I know Mom and Tonya are smiling down on me. The goals for that first race were to get seat time, don't wreck myself, don't wreck anyone else, and don't finish last. I accomplished all of those goals. And needless to say, after that first race, I was hooked. I cannot even begin to thank Chris Lafferty and his crew for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do behind the wheel. He gave me my first test, and I "aced" it. He gave me my first race, and I walked in off the street and ran with guys who have been doing it for years. And to honor the memory of Mom and Tonya, my winnings were donated to The Victory Junction Gang Camp. I continued the dream, in numerous test sessions in Craftsman Trucks, Late Models, and Street Stocks. Then on May 24th, 2008, I ran my second race at Hickory Motor Speedway, and finally got the opportunity to apply everything I had learned in testing and that first race. I qualified 9th and finished 7th. The race was sponsored by "Race Track Ladies.com" I proved once again that behind the wheel of a race car is where I belong.
Now, I am laying down a challenge to sponsors and car owners. I am challenging you to go to Victory Lane with me. Since I have had my first taste of racing, obviously, I am hooked. I know there are more opportunities out there. I have made it this far and I will not give up. Everybody wants to win. Race car drivers want to win. Owners want to win. Team members want to win. I want to win. If you want to win, put me in your car. Give me the opportunity to do what I know I can do. This is not about just driving a race car, I have done that. This is about winning. I will not stop until I do. This is my racing dream, this is what I have spent the last 9 years chasing after. Put me in it, and I will do the rest to get the car to Victory Lane. It doesn't matter what kind of car, just give me a shot. Test me and let me show you what I can do. I may not have years of experience and the long golden resume, I may not be a household name yet, but you will NOT find anyone at any age with the drive and determination that I have, and you will not find anyone who wants to win like I do. This is my childhood dream, it's all I ever wanted to be when I was growing up watching Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and other great race car drivers. At some point in time, every race car driver out there got what I need, an opportunity from someone who believed in them and gave them a chance to do it. It might not be the conventional way of "chasing the dream", that's why I am chasing the dream "the hard way" Sponsors and Marketing Partners, if you want to be a part of my racing dream, contact me. Car owners, if you want to win, contact me. Let's go to Victory Lane together. You do want to win, don't you? If you would like to donate to my racing dream, donations are graciously accepted and your name will be added to the list of sponsors. Any race winnings are going to be donated to The Victory Junction Gang Camp and the American Heart Association in Mom and Tonya's memory. This is not about money. Money is something I have never had in my life, I just want to race, plain and simple.
This is dedicated to Mom, and Tonya, two of my dearest friends in the world, and I will not be happy until I am in Victory Lane, holding that trophy to the sky, and I say..."Mom and Tonya, this is for you"
All content © Matt Poole Racing 2013