Joey Mucciacciaro's family has been involved in racing for nearly three decades. He knew that he wanted to become a race car driver when he was older. His favorite driver was Richie Evans. "My dad was on a modified team with my uncle Danny (the previous owner of New DWY Chassis/Chassis Dynamics), and driver Johnny Anderson,” said Mucciacciaro. “I always loved hearing stories about my dad's old race team."
At fifteen years old, the Wolcott, CT driver is a young veteran. He began his career in Quarter Midgets at Silver City at the age of five. "I loved it my first time behind the wheel,” said Mucciacciaro. More travel came with the territory, as they got more serious about racing. In his final season of Quarter Midget racing, Mucciacciaro won 3 track championships and more than 32 wins. Mucciacciaro moved to the faster Legends Cars for a new challenge. "We had several top-5 finishes and took home the (2010) Rookie of the Year.”
In 2011, Mucciacciaro competed twice a week in Legends at Waterford Speedbowl. "I've learned so much racing head to head against a bunch of great drivers and pushing my equipment to the limit week in and week out,” said Mucciacciaro. “It's also given me a big advantage when getting in the Midget and racing at (Waterford) because I've learned my way around there." More seat time has been critical for Mucciacciaro. “Driving these cars has helped me in both divisions,” said Mucciacciaro. “The Legends taught me throttle control and how to drive a car that is nearly out of control each lap. The NEMA (Lite) taught me consistency and smoothness. I benefit from what they teach me when I'm driving a different car."
He also drove NEMA Lite Midgets for veteran car owner and former champion Bobby Seymour. "I look at Bobby as my mentor,” said Mucciacciaro. “He's helped me so much over the years and I couldn't thank him enough."
The #45 that Mucciacciaro drives is a tribute to the late 14-time NEMA champion Gene Angelillo. Mucciacciaro’s father was a friend of the NEAR Hall of Famer and credits Angelillo with getting them into NEMA Midget racing. "I've always liked the number 45. … I decided to change my number to 45 in memory of Gene and we stuck with it ever since."
For 2012, his primary focus is on Legends Cars and the national championship rather than focusing on one track. "When we put a team together with Steven Ross, we wanted to go for the national championship right from the beginning,” said Mucciacciaro. Last weekend, he competed in the final round of the Winter Heat series at Charlotte Motor Speedway's road course. He finished third after engine problems hit with five laps to go. "For now, we’re stripping the cars down, going through all of them and are lettering the bodies,” said Mucciacciaro. “A road course is hard on the cars". … Right now, my schedule is just starting to get busy. Within the next couple weeks, national points begin and we will be racing at many tracks in the south."
Mucciacciaro has two goals for the upcoming season. "My goal for every season is getting as much seat time as possible and learn as much as I can,” said Mucciacciaro. “My goal is to take every opportunity I have in driving many different cars. I'm excited for national points to start because I know we have the team and sponsors behind me to get the job done. … It is very important that we have the trailer stocked with parts and we always have a spare car in the trailer because we can't afford to miss a race!"
Mucciacciaro’s team has signed a contract with FK Rod Ends as a new sponsor. “Picking them up as a sponsor is going to help us out running for national points because of all the great heim joints fittings and everything else there helping me out with,” said Mucciacciaro. “My sponsor, Pools by Murphy, who has been with me from the beginning, for helping us with our funds. Racing with Steven Ross Motorsports is awesome. Working with my teammates Ryan Shattack and Justin Carroll help a lot.”
"This is my first time having teammates,” said Mucciacciaro. “I wouldn't really call it rivalry due to the fact that we race in different divisions – Pro, Young Lions, and Semi-Pro. But when we do race against each other, we race each other like anyone else on the track, hard. We all work together and are a great group of friends who help each other out when ever needed. Ryan Shattack and I race in the same division.95 percent of the time, you will see us nose to tail working our way to the front! Mucciacciaro said his toughest competitors are his teammate Ryan Shattack and Chase Dowling.
"I want to thank my new crew chief Steven Ross for always having the car perfect and right on the money,” said Mucciacciaro. “My parents because I would not be able to be here without them. My sisters for always supporting me. Bobby Seymour for teaching me so much over the years. And Andy Hillenburg for giving me the opportunity to work with him and test in his cars. I also couldn't have made it this far without the support of my grandfather and uncle for all they help me with sponsorships. My grandfather and my grandmother, who recently passed, for always watching over me. My sponsors – Pools by Murphy for helping me with my racing funds and giving me an awesome race shop to keep my cars. And my newest sponsor FK Rod Ends for giving me the best rod ends and bearings on the market! We are working on several more sponsors that will be announced … within the next couple weeks."
March 1st will be the next race at Concord Speedway. Other tracks on the schedule include Ace, Caraway, and Orange County in North Carolina. New Englanders can catch "Mooch" at New Hampshire, Seekonk and Waterford. When not piloting the Legends car, Mucciacciaro has additional races planned. He will also be competing in the NEMA Lites series for several owners: his own team, Paul 'Dangerous' Scally and Bobby Seymour. Seymour introduced Mucciacciaro to his longtime friend Andy Hillenberg (owner of Fast Track Racing and Rockingham Speedway); Mucciacciaro will test Hillenberg's ARCA car as well. Some other opportunities for the end of the season include Late Model and Pro Cup races.
"Yes, it will be an exciting race season,”. I can't wait to see how it turns out!” You can stay updated on Mucciacciaro's season on his web site, Joeymooch.com.
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com