Hundreds of mourners filled Pocono Community Church near Mount Pocono to pay their respects to the man affectionately known as ‘Doc.’
Dr. Joseph Mattioli passed away Thursday at age 86 after a lengthy illness.
“Dr. Mattioli is a very special man. He’s been an inspiration to our entire community and we love him a lot,” said Maryanne Heeter of Stroudsburg.
Mattioli founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1970s and later brought NASCAR to the area.
Many who came to say goodbye said he had a huge impact on the racing sport and the community.
“He made racing in this area. He brought Indy cars, he has Grand Nationals and his legacy is for all the race fans in the area, hundreds of thousands of people,” said Frank Maroski of Bath.
“He did so many things that people aren’t even aware about. If he read in the paper about someone having a terrible hardship, he went and took care of it, and people don’t even know many of those things. So a truly generous man who gave back to his community,” said Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne McCool, who also recalled counting car laps during the early stages of racing at the track.
Paulette Samson of Tannersville said Doc treated all his employees like family. She was his first secretary.
“He worked around the clock to have his impossible dream, to have that track finished in one year for the first Shaefer 500. July 3, 1971. We worked around the clock and when it was thought the track wouldn`t be ready, they started putting lights out at night and they worked all night paving and everything,” said Samson.
Rodger Meckes also came to pay his respects to Doc and the Mattioli family. Meckes worked as a carpenter at the track for more than 30 years.
“He was a man who knew what he wanted. He used to tell me to build things and write it on little napkins. He would give it to me and say, ‘Here, build it,'” said Rodger Meckes of Long Pond.
Track officials said under Mattioli’s leadership, Pocono Raceway has hosted nearly 70 NASCAR Sprint Cup series events.
The Tricky Triangle is also the only remaining family-owned-and-operated track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule.
Clay Campell, president of Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, said Doc and his contributions to racing will never be forgotten.
“There was never a gray area with Doc Mattioli. You knew how he stood and I wish there were more people like that today. Just a wonderful individual and a true friend,” said Clay Campbell. “We`ll miss him because obviously he`s done a lot for everything, the sport, Pocono. It`s a great loss.”
Mourners will have another chance to pay their respects to Doc Mattioli on Monday from 10 a.m. to noon at Pocono Community Church.
The funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church in Lake Harmony.
The family told Newswatch 16 before Doc is laid to rest, he will take one more lap around the Tricky Triangle he loved.