Drs Joe and Rose Mattioli
A successful pair of health-care professionals, Dr. Joseph Mattiolli (April 14, 1925 – January 26, 2012) and his wife Dr. Rose Mattioli (July 19, 1927 – June 29, 2020) of Long Pond, Pennsylvania, combined their love of people and motorsports into a solid package and they became the driving force behind the creation and success of the multi-faceted Pocono Raceway.
The Mattiolis first met each other when they were students at Temple University in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania – Joe studying to be a dentist and Rose studying to be a podiatrist.
Married in 1948, they opened their practices together in Philadelphia 1952 and then they moved in the late 1960s to the Pocono Mountains to see through their dream of building a first-class speedway that would bring major-league automobile racing to the region.
It took several years to turn a former spinach farm into the relatively-flat, tri-ovaled Pocono International Speedway that opened in 1968, but the Mattiolis devoted all of their time and efforts into seeing that such a thing took place. And although Joe – a U.S. Navy Medical Corpsman during World War II who was known as “Doc” to everyone – was the head of the operation, Rose was “the woman behind the man” and her counsel and behind-the-scenes contributions to the overall development and success of Pocono Raceway can’t be denied.
Things, however, were not always unencumbered for Pocono. During the early 1980s cash-flow problems and a boycott of the track by old United States Auto Club-breakaway Championship Auto Racing Teams operation threatened to see the track sold. But the Mattiolis weathered the storm and then worked hard to get the family-owned speedway back on solid footing again. And once that happened “Doc” reorganized his track – which outside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the only major speedway that is owned by a single family – so that it was now a complete family operation and it will stay that way forever.
Pocono has become such a successful attraction that the Mattiolis have turned down several bona fide offers of $500 million or more to buy the track. But all of the improvements that have been made over the years to make things better for the racers and fans have been done with the idea that a Mattioli family member will always be in charge there.
A close personal friend of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., “Doc” turned Pocono Raceway into one of the most popular NASCAR Cup Series stops. And he and Rose knew the importance of being accessible to not only those who raced at Pocono, but to those who filled the grandstands, too.
Over the years the Mattiolis worked hard to see their dream come true and in the process they made many friends in the motorsports community. They also recognized the value that the motorpsorts press played in the growth and development of not only Pocono Raceway but to motorsports in general. And in this regard Drs. Joe & Rose were longtime supporters of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association and they were popular frequent attendees and sponsors of some of the EMPA’s professional and social activities.
All of this hands-on work at Pocono Raceway and elsewhere, however, came to an end on August 5, 2011 , when “Doc” tearfully announced at a press conference that he had resigned as Pocono’s chief executive officer and that he and Rose were retiring.
He then announced that the day-to-day operation of Pocono Raceway was now to be handled by the Mattiolis’ three oldest grandchildren – with grandson Brandon Igdalsky moving up from his president’s post to that of CEO.
Upon their passing, many tributes were given to the Mattiolis – Joe for his efforts at Pocono Raceway, his dedication to motorsports in general and for his long years of service and contributions to his local community, while Rose was remembered as a trailblazer for women and families in motorsports and her community.