“Well, my heart is in NASCAR,” Mason Maggio echoed those words to me at the conclusion of our interview last summer for my Hometown Heroes series when I asked him what his ultimate goal was in his racing career. Just shy of a year later, he would be making his NASCAR debut racing for Reaume Brothers Racing at World Wide Technology Raceway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, finishing the race in 27th. So it is safe to say that Mason turned his dream into a reality, but that was only the beginning for the 17-year-old out of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I sat down to catch up with Mason about his big NASCAR debut and all of the craziness that has ensued in his life since we last spoke.
Just two months after my first interview with Mason had come out, it was announced that he would be running full-time in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series and select other late model races for Rick Ware Racing in 2022. The deal came together between Maggio and Rick Ware Racing after multiple conversations throughout 2021. The team gave him the opportunity to run the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park at the end of 2021, with Mason describing it to me “As a trial run per se, and I ended up showing a lot of potential that the program hadn’t seen in a long time.” From there an agreement was reached and Mason was officially signed on as the team’s full-time late model driver. The team’s season thus far has been one chock full of success as Mason and his crew have managed to score three wins at Franklin County Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway, and Goodyear All American Speedway, with the potential for many more wins to come. Mason attests his success all to his team and the relationship they have formed as a group, “The team has built me a great race car, that has obviously proved it can win races. My team and I have grown a fantastic relationship on and off-track.”
In February, before Maggio even started his successful late model run for Rick Ware Racing, an opportunity of a different kind presented itself to the young racer, when Andy Jankowiak needed a driver to test his ARCA car at Daytona International Speedway. Although it wasn’t an opportunity to race at the historied track, it was still the chance of a lifetime for Mason who finished eighth out of 36 cars on the speed charts in the final test session, “It was an opportunity for me to not only gain superspeedway experience but also for me to be able to achieve a dream of mine, to run Daytona in a race car of any sort.” The results of the test benefited both Mason and Andy in several ways, but if there are any plans for Mason to race in the ARCA Menards Series, they have yet to come to fruition, “It’s unknown if I’ll be able to put together anything to be able to race in that series. At the moment, it’s not on the radar unless an opportunity is presented.”
Mason’s streak of luck didn’t stop there, however, as perhaps one of Mason’s greatest dreams started to seem more like a reality. For as long as he could remember, Mason had big dreams of someday making it into the bright, bustling world of NASCAR, but he figured it would be a long time coming before that dream would ever come true, “It was definitely something that I had hoped to do, but knew it would be a bit of a process and was a long shot if anything like a truck ride would come together.” However, Mason was caught by surprise, after a mutual friend connected him with Josh Reaume where, after some deliberating, a deal was struck for Mason to drive the #33 Reaume Brothers Racing truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series at World Wide Technology Raceway. “It was just surreal”, Mason stressed to me, “It felt like the whole time leading up to the race I was dreaming and someone was gonna wake me up at any moment. The moment I sat in the truck and started rolling for the pace laps was when it set in, that I was gonna be competing in a racing series I’ve grown up watching!”
The race was a learning experience for Mason who didn’t make any waves per se, but still gained valuable knowledge and a 27th place finish. Maggio spent a large portion of the first stage really just trying to figure out the truck he found himself behind the wheel of, understanding the vehicle and just how to tackle the track ahead of him. Although it wasn’t exactly easy, it was a start he seems to be proud of, “We kept at our own pace, brought the truck home in one piece, and gained valuable seat time.” So what is next for Mason Maggio, you might be wondering? Well, that script is still yet to be written, but he is up for anything and seems fully confident in his chances, “I would love to run more NASCAR races next year, but I’m gonna work towards running as many races as I can in whatever I can get a hold of!”
Mason and I met almost two years ago and quickly became friends. So when I began to search for potential candidates to interview for my Hometown Heroes series, Mason was at the top of my list. He stressed to me his dream of someday making it to NASCAR, a dream we both would someday hope to see come true, and that it did. When I asked Mason what he had to say to any kid like him, who shared that same dream, he put it quite simply to me, “Just keep working hard and give it your all, to make your dreams become a reality!”
Featured image credits to Daniel Griffith Photography