HOMETOWN HEROES: Mark DiMauro Jr.

Meet Mark DiMauro Jr., a 19-year-old from Lebanon, Connecticut who has had a variety of racing-related jobs in and around Connecticut’s most famous tracks, from being a spotter to a photographer and everything in between! I sat down with Mark to talk to him about his first crewing gig with a modified hero, bouncing from track to track each week, and what it’s like photographing and filming the Connecticut racing scene. 

Q: Hi Mark! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers? 

A: My name is Mark DiMauro Jr.! I do a lot at the tracks including photography and occasionally spotting, as well as being a social media coordinator and occasionally making short films that sometimes include driver interviews. 

Q: So you obviously have a long resume of racing-related jobs, but what was the start of it all? How did you first become involved with racing? 

A: My dad used to race go-karts when he was a child at Pomfret Speedway in Connecticut, so he always had an interest in racing. From a young age, he tried to get me into the sport. Eventually, when I was 14, I got to go into the pits at Stafford Speedway and liked this SK Modified I saw. The driver asked if I wanted to learn how to work on the car. That driver was Ryan Preece. From then on, I helped crew Ryan and he taught me a lot. Because of that, I got a lot of opportunities to continue crewing, until I decided to go towards a communications route. 

Q: Why did you decide to take a venture into the communications side of the sport, rather than the technical side of the sport? 

A: I had been working on some of the cars for a while, and I was having fun, but I started taking basic photos on my phone for my own personal social media, and one of my buddies asked if I wanted to run his race teams Facebook account at the start of 2020. I’ve always wanted to do something like this as a job, so I jumped on the opportunity right away. I also released a short documentary about Ted Christopher, “The King 13”, and that caught a lot of attention as well. So by that point, it was just sort of bubbling over. I mean if we wreck and an extra set of hands are needed, I’ll try to jump in and do what I can do, but now I mostly focus on the communications side. I just feel it’s more important for the sponsors that pay to support your racing as well as to help promote the tracks they let you race at. 

Q: You mentioned that you made a short film, “The King 13”, about Ted Christopher. Who was Ted Christopher and what inspired you to create this short film about him? 

A: Teddy was the winningest driver at both Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, a NASCAR Wheelen Modified Tour champion, and he dabbled in the NASCAR Cup Series as well. He unfortunately passed away in a plane crash four years ago, which is so hard to believe. After he passed I interviewed Ryan Preece, NASCAR Wheelen Modified Tour driver Timmy Solomito, Stafford Speedway SK driver Tom Bolles, among others for a short documentary on Teddy. I sat on footage until 2020 when I finally put it together and released it. Teddy’s widow heard of it and presented me with one of his last winning trophies in a school assembly. Teddy was an old-school driver, who you hated crewing a car that was gonna race against him because you knew he’d do what he had to do to beat you. You don’t see that anymore, and I respected the hell out of him for that, even though I disagreed with many of his on-track moves. When he passed away it was like the whole short-track world stopped turning. Walking into the track to this day still isn’t the same. We recently had our third annual Teddy Christopher night at Stafford and it’s nights like that where you really sit back and just think, “Man, they don’t make hard winning driving machines like that anymore.” 

Q: You’re now the third individual I have interviewed for the Hometown Heroes series, which is from the Connecticut area. From the sounds of my interviews with Nick Fraulino and Joey Ternullo, as well as ours currently, it sounds as though that the racing scene up there is like one big tight knit family. Would you agree with that and would you elaborate on the racing scene in Connecticut for me? 

A: Oh yeah! I really haven’t talked a whole lot to Nick Fraulino before, but one night at Waterford, one of my team’s cars got wrecked and Nick was there and was kind enough to let me vent about it which helped a lot. You know when it comes to photography too, you’d think everyone is competing with one another, but we really aren’t. For example, one of the track photographers, Daniel Eugene, always takes time out of his day to talk to me when he sees me, and we just talk about photography and racing and that’s really cool, whereas in other sports that would be more like a rivalry.  Another one of my drivers finished second this past weekend in a hard battle and I went over and congratulated the winner who beat us, and I was genuinely happy for him, as he’s a good kid and always races us clean. If you’re not a jerk, you get along easily, and people in the community will give you the shirt off their back to help you, and I appreciate that a lot. 

Q: It’s clear you love the world of short-track racing and the Connecticut racing scene, but do you want to go further in your career than just that? Would you be interested in working in the big leagues of racing like NASCAR or Indycar or F1 even, or would you rather stay where you are? 

A: Yeah, ya know, that’s a tricky question. Short-track racing needs our help, They just sold Beech Ridge in Maine, so it could be made into condos, so short-track racing needs all our support. There are future stars and hobby racers putting on a show, that most times, is better than the three national touring series. But I do want to head to North Carolina and do social media or anything communications-related for NASCAR or a NASCAR team (same goes for IndyCar, IMSA, and F1, but primarily NASCAR). I know someone who works for MRN as a commentator, and he lives in Connecticut, he announces at Stafford on Fridays when he can and then flies to a Cup race or Xfinity race when MRN needs him, so even an “at home but traveling” type gig would be awesome, so I can do both at the same time! That was a great question!

Q: Something else I want to ask you about, is why you yourself never actually got involved as a driver in racing, despite much influence from your father I bet, and maybe even Ryan as well.

A: Yeah, I always had an interest in it, I, well actually my dad, rented a kart a few times when I was little, and don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun with that, but my mom always said “School comes first!”, so that ended. However, I would love to restart again one day, and I’ve definitely been talking to my dad about it the past month or two and seeing what we can do, even if it’s part-time. Just something for fun, but I’d love to bring back that chapter of my life!

Q: I want to wrap up this interview by asking you one final question. What is your ultimate career goal in the racing world? 

A: To have fun. That’s what it’s all about, right? Yeah, there are jobs involved, but I’m having fun now hanging out with my friends, supporting my buddies. And yeah once they’re on track I’ve got to pay attention (in case we pit or something, so I know what to write for a social media post), but I also don’t have control of what’s going on in a race. From the time I get there, just hanging around before practice or after the heat races waiting for our feature, you want to make sure you enjoy the night with those who have the same passion as you. And once we’re on track and I’m in the infield, I usually stand on a right rear tire change we have for our pit stops, and I just watch. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with great people like Ryan Preece and currently part-time Xfinity series driver Patrick Emerling when he races the 1 Open Tour-Type Modified, but it’s also the smaller but local names too like Dan Wesson or Tyler Chapman that help make the night great. So in the end, yeah working for a NASCAR team would be great, but I’m having fun, that’s the ultimate goal. 

Q: I think that was a very beautiful way of putting things. On behalf of everyone at Pit Box Press, thank you Mark for your time, and we wish you luck!

A: Thank you so much for reaching out!

Featured image credits to Daniel Eugene Photography

Published by Gianna Lashley - Nicholas

Gianna "Gi" Lashley - Nicholas is a 19-year-old writer from New Jersey. Her favorite drivers include Ryan Blaney, Myatt Snider, and Christian Eckes. You can find her on Twitter @basicallygi as well as @basicallygi23 on Instagram. She is a writer for Pit Box Press.

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