Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Matt Poole - One Guy Chasing a Racing Dream

Matt Poole isn't your typical development driver.  He's in his forties.  He's a web designer by trade.  And he plans to give his race winnings to charity.

However, for Poole, life in general hasn't been typical.  And it's his singular experiences that have prompted Poole to do what few others would dare - pursue a childhood dream, even when the odds may be against him.

Poole took the time to answer a few of our questions about his racing dream and his immediate goals. To find our more about Poole and sponsorship opportunities, check out his website mattpooleracing.com.

For readers who aren't familiar with your story, tell me what led to your decision to pursue your racing dream?

"Being a race car driver is what I always wanted to be. It was my childhood dream. After my mother passed away from a heart attack in 2003, I decided I was going to honor her memory somehow. Racing for her memory was the obvious choice. Then in 2005, one of my dearest friends was murdered by her husband, and it gave me even more drive and determination to make it happen, against all odds. When I ran my very first race in July 2007, I had their pictures taped to the dash of the race car. They rode with me for that first race."

Tell me about your partnership with Lafferty Motorsports.  How is the sponsorship hunt going and do you have plans to race in the immediate future?

"Chris Lafferty and I became great friends very quickly. He knows as well as anyone my determination to make my racing dream come true. He gave me my very first 'shot at the wheel,' and he has been instrumental in preparing me for racing from the beginning. We continue to hunt for that marketing partner that will help take the dream to the next level, and we are leaving no stone unturned in our search."

Why is it important for you to donate your winnings to charity? Will you continue doing this even in the Trucks series?

"I did not undertake this mission in the pursuit of fame or fortune. It's not about money, money is something I've never had a lot of, or I would have been racing long before now. This is about honoring the memory of two of my best friends ever, Mom and Tonya. All I want to do is race. To quote one of my racing heroes, Tony Stewart, 'I don't want to be a legend, or an icon or anything like that. I just want to be a race car driver, plain and simple.' That's why I am chasing the racing dream the hard way."

What's your typical day like? How do you manage to work a day job and also work on a racing career?

"I work at a racing school, NASCAR Racing Experience. Our work is mostly on weekends, and we travel to numerous different tracks. I also have my own website design business, I designed my websites and have created websites for some small businesses as well. I also run a large Tony Stewart fan forum. I also utilize social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and I am constantly contacting sponsors and doing my own PR in search of that elusive sponsorship. My days are not hectic, but I do stay busy."

Do you think it's realistic to expect that you'll be a legitimate contender in the Trucks, Nationwide or even Sprint Cup series one day?

"Nothing is unrealistic when you possess drive and determination to make it happen. Everyone has dreams, but not everyone goes after their dreams. The only thing standing between me and making it as far as I can go in racing, is an opportunity being presented to me, whether it be from a team owner or a sponsor. A lot of people believe in me, and they want to see my racing dreams come true, whether it's ARCA, the Truck Series, or any other series, all I need is the opportunity. I know that opportunity is out there, I just have to keep knocking on doors until I find it. I cannot and will not give up. Drivers like Mark Martin, Geoff Bodine, Morgan Shepard, James Hylton, and other drivers that are still racing in their later years are a big inspiration to me. That tells me I still have a lot of years of racing ahead of me, all I need is that one opportunity."

Do you have any regrets about leaving leaving your job to pursue a dream? And what are you goals for the immediate future?

"I didn't actually leave my job to pursue my dream. I made numerous trips back and forth from Maryland to North Carolina while working a full time job doing commercial and residential painting. I knew in order to get better opportunities in racing, I needed to be closer to the opportunities. In December of 2007, I was laid off from my job because of lack of work. It was then that I decided to make the move to North Carolina to devote more time to the pursuit of the dream. Unfortunately that was about the time the nation's economy started going south. The economy has made it harder and harder to find sponsorship, but it has only delayed the dream."

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