Steve Matusek will drive a different sort of door car at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. The Aeromotive Pro Mod racer will make his Pro Stock debut in an Elite Motorsports-powered Ford Mustang in Denver and race the entire Western Swing alongside former world champions Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Matusek will return to E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod racing at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis but will stay fresh behind the wheel of his Mustang in Denver, Sonoma and Seattle. The veteran racer saw Elite team owner Richard Freeman break in the Ford at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals and qualify in the top half of the field. That helped bring about this opportunity.
“Seeing the car do as well as it did in Chicago, and knowing Richard built it to attract customers, all the stars just aligned,” said Matusek. We’re racing the Western Swing, it’s our 25th anniversary at Aeromotive and it’s another challenge, and I love challenges. I love doing things I’ve never done before and it’s going to be a really interesting opportunity.”
Freeman, as Matusek noted, built the General Motors-powered machine with the goal of attracting new lease customers. Matusek joins Rodger Brogdon, Alex Laughlin and Matt Hartford on the Elite Motorsports roster of lease drivers. That program has produced wins in the past, and Matusek hopes he can be the next Pro Stock driver to step into the winner’s circle.
“I wouldn’t want to do this just to do it. Like the Pro Mod thing, when I go out there, I’m going there to win,” he said. “I want to see if I can cut a light with Jeg (Coughlin) and Erica (Enders), and I know I’m going to have a good car. I’m going out there to win a freaking race.”
Pro Stock will not compete at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, but the naturally aspirated machines battle it out in all three races on the historic Western Swing. The three-race stretch goes from Denver to Seattle over three weekends and offers a unique challenge to crew chiefs and drivers. It should also provide an opportunity for Matusek and Elite to become even more familiar with one another; Matusek drives a Pro Mod car with Elite horsepower.
“Steve and the Aeromotive group have been really good partners,” Freeman said. “Steve has been a supporter of my Pro Mod program and we started a conversation on the Pro Stock deal. I told him I thought the Western Swing would be fantastic and we’re super excited. This fits Steve’s wheelhouse perfectly. I think he will be competitive, and I look forward to seeing him go some rounds.”
The Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals presented by Pennzoil kicks off on July 19. Tickets are available now.