Nick Igdalsky wears many hats at Pocono Raceway, from Mattioli grandson to ARCA driver to philanthropist and finally to his appointment as the newly named COO and Executive Vice President of the race track. Regardless of the title or the hat, however, for Igdalsky, Pocono is indeed personal.
“Where it gets tough is jumping from appointment to appointment and wearing different hats,” Igdalsky continued. “After the race, I have meetings with both sponsors for my car and sponsors for the track, as well as meeting dignitaries and VIPs.”
“You can never stay in one place too long.”
Igdalsky manages all of his personal and professional Pocono responsibilities through technology, literally setting alarms on his Iphone.
“An alarm went off and told me that I to do go to the driver’s meeting and then an alarm went off that told me I had to come to the media center,” Igdalsky said. “You try to remember as much as you can but if you get caught up in the moment, things pass you by.”
“My little electronic friend helps me out.”
One of Igdalsky’s greatest personal joys is being behind the wheel of a race car, whether an ARCA ride or his Grand Am race car.
“I’ll do five to six ARCA races,” Igdalsky said. “We’ll probably do Toledo at the end of the year.”
“It’s been tough,” Igdalsky continued. “We haven’t really done as good as we thought we would. I’m with a team that’s sort of under-funded.”
“Everybody wants to run well, but we just don’t have the resources to do that yet,” Igdalsky said. “We’re just trying to keep the car clean and keep it up in owner’s points and we may have a shot at it next year if we get a full season.”
Racing is so personal in fact to Igdalsky that he hopes the day never comes when he has to make any kind of a choice between racing and managing his track responsibilities.
“I’m going to live in both worlds until somebody tells me I absolutely cannot,” Igdalsky said with a smile. “I’ll wait until I get the ultimatum from either the wife or the office.”
While not ultimatum has come yet, Nick Igdalsky had a most personal day at the track this weekend as his grandfather, affectionately known as ‘Doc’ Mattioli, retired and formally turned over the responsibilities of operations of the track to Nick, his brother Brandon, who was named President and CEO, and his sister Ashley, who is the new Secretary/Treasurer.
“We’re fortunate we have great grandchildren,” Doc Mattioli said. “Fifty years went by damn fast and now it’s about time to take it a little easy and get the hell out of here.”
“I’m quite sure that Brandon, Nick and Ashley are well trained to do what they have to do,” Mattioli continued. “They’re really good kids and smart kids.”
From Igdalsky’s perspective, he’s had the best teacher ever in his grandparents, Doc and Doc Rose Mattioli. Because of that, Igdalsky has already pronounced that his new slogan will be, “When in doubt, ask what Doc would do.”
Now that he has even more of a personal stake in Pocono, Igdalsky is continuing another very personal connection, connecting with a charity called Michael’s Way. And this personal connection hits very close to home.
“Pocono Raceway has been working with Michael’s Way for the past couple years now,” Igdalsky said. “My nephew was diagnosed two years ago at the age of fifteen months with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a very rare type of cancer.”
“He’s doing good now and he just had some scans done, with all of them coming back clear,” Igdalsky continued. “Through our relationship with Michael’s Way, they support the families of children, like my nephew, with cancer.”
“They don’t pay for the treatments but they do pay for all the other costs,” Igdalsky said. “For instance, there are lots of families that one of the families might have to stop working because of all the treatments they have to get to, which is a problem.”
“So, Michael’s Way helps with bills and travel, especially for those children whose immune systems are compromised,” Igdalsky continued. “It’s pretty unique because 100% of all the proceeds go directly to the cause and the families.”
Michael’s Way is even more personal as Igdalsky’s nephew was selected last year as the ‘poster boy’, making many personal appearances on behalf of the charity. For this weekend’s ARCA race, Michael’s Way will also be featured prominently on Igdalsky’s race car.
“Since we don’t have a sponsor for this race, we’re keeping them on our car,” Igdalsky said. “You can donate on their site which is michaelsway.org and they’re also doing a raffle at the track where you have a chance to win either a 2011 Harley Davidson or $10,000 cash.”
“Nick’s involvement with Michael’s Way has been invaluable,” Trish Fulvio, development consultant with the charity, said. “He and Brandy, his wife, do everything straight from the heart.”
“Nick has allowed us to bring Michael’s Way to the attention of a whole new group of people,” Fulvio continued. “His partnership translates into more funds to give to the families of children with cancer.”
While family has always been most personal to Igdalsky, from his family track to his philanthropic family, Igdalsky now has a whole new perspective on family as a proud papa of a five month old daughter.
“When you have a bad day and you come home and you see her little face smiling at you, it definitely makes the bad days better,” Igdalsky said. “And it gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day.”
“It’s overwhelming,” Igdalsky continued. “I’m living two dreams.”
“I’m helping out in the family business that I was involved in ever since I was a little boy,” Igdalsky said. “And with the racing, it’s been my dream since a young boy to race cars too.”
“I not only get to do both but I get to do it at my home track.”