Obituary: Pocono Raceway co-founder Dr. Rose Mattioli – 1927-2020 – NASCAR

Dr. Rose Mattioli, co-founder of Pocono Raceway and matriarch of the Mattioli family that still owns and operates the track, died on Monday at the age of 92.

Together with her late husband Dr. Joseph ‘Doc’ Mattioli, who died aged 86 in 2012, Rose co-founded the 2.5-mile oval known as ‘the Tricky Triangle’ in 1968.

The couple had met while attending Temple University in 1947 and married in 1950.

While celebrating the first birthday of their first child, Looie, and pregnant with their second child, Joseph III, Rose graduated first in her class from Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine in June of 1952. They welcomed their third child, Michele, in 1955.

That same year, Drs. Joseph and Rose opened their dental and podiatric practices in Northeast Philadelphia.

In the mid-1960s, Rose and Doc took on a new business venture in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, developing a large acreage of land and helped build Pocono Raceway. The track would host its first major motorsports event in 1971.

Dr. Rose and Doc worked side-by-side and, through their tireless passion and commitment, became one of the most admired and loved families on the US motorsport scene.

Today, the circuit is run by Rose’s grandson Nick Igdalski.

Dr. Rose’s death came one day after Pocono completed the first double-header weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series, albeit without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two races were won by Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

A statement issued by the Mattioli and Igdalski families said: “Dr. Rose was the heart and soul of Pocono Raceway for over 50 years. She would often tell us, ‘I love Pocono and auto racing more than Doc,’ and we believed her.

“While Doc moved the mountains, Rose moved your spirit. Dr. Rose’s contributions to motorsports and her philanthropic efforts will always live in a class of their own. She played a vital role in allowing women into auto racing garage areas during an era where they were otherwise unwelcome.

“Additionally, Dr. Rose and Doc gave back to the community, often anonymously and without hesitation. Her passing has motivated us to remain steadfast, now more than ever, to never waiver from Rose and Doc’s commitment of always doing right by our Pocono Raceway family, our fans, our local community and the auto racing industry.

“While we will miss her, we take comfort in knowing Rose and Doc are reunited and that their legacy will live on forever.”

NASCAR Chairman Jim France and Lesa Kennedy, executive vice chair of NASCAR, said: “Our family and all of NASCAR is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Rose Mattioli. For three generations, the relationship between our families has been more personal than professional.

“Rose and Doc created a unique racing experience at Pocono Raceway, bringing a passion for race fans and love of racing to everything they touched. On behalf of the France family and the entire motorsports industry, NASCAR extends our deepest condolences to the Mattioli family during this difficult time.”

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