Meet Mason Maggio, a 17-year-old late model racer from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida! Mason has been racing for four and half years at his home track of Palm Beach Raceway, as well as many others. I sat down with the rising star to talk about the world of late model racing, and what is yet to come for him and his racing career.
Q: Before we began, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
A: I’m Mason Maggio! I’m 17 years old and I am from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida!
Q: You are a late model stock car driver, correct? Or do you race limited late models?
A: Well limiteds currently.
Q: Would you mind explaining what the difference is exactly between a late model stock car and a limited late model ?
A: A limited late model is basically the same type of car as a late model stock. They just have different carburetors. Limiteds create up to 450 horsepower, meanwhile late model stocks create around 600 horsepower.
Q: So do you have any experience in late model stocks or not yet? If not, do you plan on moving to them?
A: As of right now I’m not sure on late model stocks, but I definitely will be driving pro late models next year.
Q: That’s awesome! So how does a normal late model limited race work?
A: It’s very similar to a late model stock race. Hickory (Hickory Motor Speedway), creates tight good racing from start to finish no matter what kind of car you are driving. It’s good for a driver trying to learn in order to help them move up the racing ladder.
Q: You mentioned Hickory, and I’m aware that you race at other tracks as well. How many tracks do you race at throughout the year?
A: Well this year we haven’t had the opportunity to race at different tracks, unfortunately. My team considers Hickory to be their backyard so we don’t go to other tracks very often. But next season we will be going to a bunch of different race tracks, which I’m really excited about.
Q: On the note of travel, I can imagine it comes with a cost on top of the entire racing operation. How much money would you say goes into a racing season? Break it down for me.
A: For me personally, I don’t come from a lot of money, so partnerships with companies are big in order for me to continue racing at this level and hopefully beyond.
Q: About partnerships, tell me who is your primary sponsor and how did you become involved with them?
A: My primary partnerships have been with HMY Yacht Sales, Bahama Beach Club, Ingalls Marine, and Rich Mar Florist. They have allowed me to not only represent their businesses both on and off track but have helped me continue to learn and grow about the business side of the sport as well. For example, they have shown me what I need to do in order to represent their companies off the track. I was connected with HMY, Ingalls, and Bahama Beach Club through people I knew, and I became connected with Rich Mar Florist through contacting them on social media.
Q: Taking a step back, what came before late models?
A: I was racing a legend car last year in 2020. It was a good year! I learned how to drive a manual car, continued to progress my skills, and ultimately won eight races and three championships, along with finishing eighth in National points!
Q: Wow, that’s quite remarkable! Were you racing a different kind of vehicle before legend cars?
A: I was racing mainly in Georgia at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Crisp Motorsports Park, along with one road course race at Atlanta Motorsports Park. Unfortunately, the legend car program down in Florida wasn’t as good as it is now, at the time so we didn’t really race around Florida. Before that, I did Bandolero cars from 2018-2019 with 11 wins, three championships, and finished third in National points.
Q: So what started this all? How did you first become interested in racing?
A: Well my family would always watch the Cup races on Sunday for as long as I can remember. I didn’t truly take interest in it till I was about 11 or 12 years old. We went to a rental go-kart track for fun with friends and I generally enjoyed it a lot, so I kept asking my dad if we could go back. After several trips to that track and showing time improvement, I asked my dad if we could give racing a try, and the rest is history.
Q: Now you are from Florida, home to many famous tracks, in particular, the home of Daytona International Speedway. What would it mean for you, to race at a track like Daytona, and reach that level of success in your racing career?
A: It would mean a ton, the 2017 Daytona 500 was the first NASCAR race that I attended, and that convinced me that what those drivers were doing on the track, was something I hoped to one day do as well. If I could race at Daytona at some point, whether it’s in a stock car, sports car, trans am car, etc. Whatever I can get behind the wheel of at that race track would mean so much to me!
Q: Continuing on that, I would like to end this interview by asking you, what is your ultimate goal with your racing career?
A: Well my heart is in NASCAR, but the ULTIMATE dream would be to do a little bit of everything in racing, from sports cars to open-wheel racing at their highest levels along with stock car racing. Kind of like what James Davison, Tony Stewart, Cody Ware, Scott Speed, or Travis Pastrana have done in their careers to name a few.
Q: Well we all at Pit Box Press hope you get to accomplish all of that, and we are rooting for you! Thank you so much for your time!
A: Absolutely, I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you!!!
Featured image credits to Mason Maggio.