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Raceway provides jobs, fuels Pa. economy

The Standard-Journal A group of firefighters move a pit-crossover staircase prior to the start of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Pocono. On race weekends, the track boasts one of the largest fire department’s in Pennsylvania.

LONG POND — As Chase Elliott was being declared the winner of a controversial race Sunday at Pocono Raceway, more than 1,000 people were at work at a facility which has a multi-million-dollar impact on the Pennsylvania economy.

Speaking prior to the start of the weekend, raceway President Ben May said between 80,000 and 100,000 people were expected to visit the facility between Friday and Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Cup Series race.

Friday’s schedule featured an ARCA race, while a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader was held Saturday.

May said the raceway has a full-time staff of 20 to 30 people.

“It’s a small company, a small staff,” he said. “We balloon up to over 1,000 people when it comes to race weekend. That includes ushers, ticket scanners, safety, security, everyone who helps park cars.”

May noted that some of those employees work for the raceway, while others work for companies contracted by the track to work the NASCAR race weekend.

He also explained that the track has a large staff of firefighters.

“We have the third- or fourth-largest fire department in the state of Pennsylvania… once a year,” May said.“We have such a huge staff of firefighters.”

Some of those responders work at the track beyond the NASCAR race weekends.

“The firemen are on our seasonal staff here,” May said. “They are Pocono Raceway employees.

“Outside of our NASCAR weekend, we have over 180 days of activity, car clubs, racing schools,” he continued. “That’s where our fire department comes in.”

Some firefighters are typically at the facility daily, April through October, as on-track activities are taking place.

Those who work at the track live within a large radius of the raceway.

“We have our firemen and women, they come from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey; same with our contractors,” May said.

Those who work at the facility also have longevity in their employment.

May noted that he’s worked at Pocono Raceway for 20 years.

“We have two or three staff members that have been with us less than five years,” he said. “Everybody else, five to 50 (years).”

May noted that members of the Mattioli/Igdalsky families which own the track have worked there since they were children.

He said the raceway takes “a great bit of pride” in hiring employees who live in North Central Pennsylvania. Local companies are also contracted to handle HVAC repairs and other work at the facility.

“That’s something that’s very important to us, our loyalty,” May said. “It doesn’t make much sense to have contractors from Texas… We are a community-based company.”

A study conducted in 2014 found Pocono Raceway at that time had a $257 million economic impact on Pennsylvania, according to May. However, he noted that no study has been conducted since and he expects those numbers may be slightly different today.

Most notably, May said at that time the track hosted two NASCAR race weekends each year, as well as an IndyCar race. Today, just one NASCAR race weekend is held. However, the track has added a bi-annual airshow, slated to return in 2023.

He indicated the Blue Angels will be featured at the 2023 show, slated for Memorial Day weekend.

“As far as our local businesses go, we hope when people come to the race, we’ve given them an opportunity to stay in our region,” May said.

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