By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
He’s past his prime. He doesn’t have a chance. Those are usually some of the things people say about 46-year old aspiring race car drivers, but Matt Poole of North Carolina is proudly fighting against the odds, and he’s winning.
“I may have gotten a late start, but my goal is to make it as far as my right foot will take me.” Poole explained confidently. “All I need is an opportunity. Yes, the sport is ‘youth dominated’ these days, but I am determined to be the exception to the rule, no matter how long it takes. I know that opportunity is out there, and I plan to keep beating on doors until I find it. Owners and sponsors want to win don’t they?”
Poole, a long-time website designer, suffered the unexpected loss of his mother and a close friend a few years ago. These life changing events were the catalyst for him to decide to live life on the edge and chase his lifelong dream of driving race cars. Poole explained that racing is the most exciting thing on the planet.
“There’s not many things that I can draw similarities to driving a race car. There is nothing like it. It’s addicting… the speed, the rush of adrenaline, the sound of that engine, nothing compares.” Poole said. “I’m an adrenaline junkie, a roller coaster fanatic, I’ve been skydiving and done many other adrenaline pumping things, but NOTHING compares to driving a race car. When I was a kid, I just knew it would be just like it was the first time I ever turned a lap.”
This was a daring career move, that he is now using as a moving tribute to his fallen loved ones.
Now we all know you can’t just walk off the streets and get a ride in auto racing, so in order to make his best run at a career in racing Poole decided to hone his skills at Speed Tech Auto Racing School. The racing school located in North Carolina is the very racing school that drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart learned how to drive stock cars, and it is now where this amazing story began. Poole says being under the tutelage of Randy Baker was an honor.
“I knew that Randy had trained big name drivers long before me, and it was a great feeling to be in the presence of the son of one of Nascar’s greats, Buck Baker, and he was instructing me on what to do in the car.” Poole said. “I also did a ride-along at Rockingham with Randy driving, and it was ALMOST as fun as doing it myself, only he went a little bit faster than I did my first time in a race car.”
It was at Baker’s school that Poole excelled driving 650-horsepower stock cars.
“I was tops in the class out of 19 people, I had the fastest speed that day out of all the students in the class.” Poole Boasts.
This proved not only to himself, but to others that he had the talent to actually pursue his dream. In fact it wasn’t long before his current car owner Chris Lafferty stumbled upon him.
“Chris Lafferty found my website and sent me an email, I called him and we talked for about an hour.” Poole explained. “He invited me to come to Hickory NC to test his Craftsman Truck at Hickory Motor Speedway for his driver development program. When I got off the phone with him my heart was literally pounding, that was the phone call I had worked for several years to get. As time got closer to make the trip to Hickory, sleep was harder and harder to come by.”
Needless to say Poole aced the test and now is working on a deal to run cars full-time for Lafferty Motorsports. However this is where the dream needs a little bit of help. The team needs to land some sponsors to be able to field a car for Poole.
With proven ability and ambition, and the solid support of a dedicated team owner, Poole and Lafferty are eager to locate new marketing sponsors to take the dream to the next level, offering a variety of attractive packages at a fraction of the cost of a full NASCAR sponsorship. “Having your logo on a race car is a great way to reach new customers with your brand message. My sponsors will also be helping me donate to two very worthy causes. It’s a win-win situation for anyone who believes in the importance of following a dream.”
Currently working as a driving instructor at the NASCAR Racing Experience in Concord, North Carolina, Poole assures potential sponsors that age is not an obstacle to achieving his goals. “Many top NASCAR drivers are racing and winning well into their 40s and 50s. If your target demographic is age 35-plus, sponsoring a race car is a proven marketing strategy that is also extremely cost effective.”
Now not only does Poole have the talent, but the most unique and refreshing thing about him is that he doesn’t race for the money. In fact he has donated all of his earnings to two charities, and will continue to do so in the future. In an ongoing tribute to his mother and fallen friend he donates his winnings to the Victory Junction Gang and the American Heart Association.
Car owner Chris Lafferty agrees. “Matt has shown his ability to drive the car. We are very confident in his potential, and the packages we have put together for sponsors and marketing partners are second to none. This is an excellent opportunity to be a part of one of racing’s great stories – Matt Poole chasing his dream and honoring the memory of his loved ones, donating his winnings to two deserving causes, and doing so at an age that gives hope and inspiration to members of the largest age group in the world.”
Potential marketing partners and interested media members may contact the team at Matt@MattPooleRacing.com or email@example.com. Individual donations are also being accepted at http://www.MattPooleRacing.com.