Mason Maggio was born after the 2004 Daytona 500 ran.
Now after graduating high school, Maggio has his sights set on climbing the NASCAR ladder with backing from HMY Yachts.
In 2022, Maggio made four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with Reaume Brothers Racing. In 2023, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Richmond Raceway with MBM Motorsports.
Frontstretch‘s Jared Haas caught up with Maggio at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May.
Watch or read the interview below.
Jared Haas, Frontstretch: How did you get your start in racing?
Mason Maggio: I kind of fell into it on accident. If I’m being completely honest, I went to a go-kart track called Palm Beach Raceway, which had rental go-karts similar to what you’d see like at Trackhouse Motorplex. I kind of did that for fun with a couple of buddies of mine. Next thing you know, I fell in love and ended up going to the Daytona 500 later that year [in] 2017. I watched how that race unfolded and how entertaining that was.
I told my dad, “Hey, I’d like to go [and] try to do what they did and not look at it so much from a hobby standpoint, but try to look at it toward a career standpoint.”
I haven’t been in the sport as long as a lot of guys have. I was kind of a late bloomer [as] I started at 12 years old.
Haas: One of the teams that you were with was Leicht Motorsports. How did you get connected with them?
Maggio: I got connected with them after I had a very successful legends cars season. I felt like it was the time to move up and go toward the late model rankings. Everybody that we’ve raced with has always told me you got to race in the Carolinas and get your name out there. Hickory [Motor Speedway] is one of the best places to start.
I fished around and saw what teams would have the right opportunity and saw Leicht Motorsports. Kevin Leicht, who is one of the owners of Leicht Motorsports, is actually coming to [the Truck Series race at Charlotte] with his son. I haven’t seen them in a couple of months. It’s pretty humbling to have them back here, and they’ve been great with me and I love that family. It’s a family-owned operation, and they put their heart and soul into it. That’s all they know is racing.
We ended up having a really good year that year with four wins. It’s the most that Leicht Motorsports has with a single driver and then ended up coming up second in the championship [and winning] Rookie of the Year.
That was a really good year for them. It was a standout year for me because that’s ultimately what propelled me with the opportunity that I had last year with Rick Ware Racing and E33 Motorsports, being under that driver development deal.
Haas: One of the sponsors that you have is HMY Yachts. I’m curious, how did that deal come about?
Maggio: They’ve been a great partner of mine for the last three years. They are a company that actually my dad works for. We worked for them for years, and they’ve done a lot for not just my racing career but for my family. At one point, we were searching for sponsorship for Leicht Motorsports for the following year that I was doing legend cars. My dad was like, “Well, why don’t you go talk to my boss and see what he has to say?”
Mr. [Steve] Moynihan, who owns HMY Yacht and has built that empire over the last several years, has been phenomenal as a partner, friend and leader. He helped me a lot with my marketing. The first time I went with him, I had no idea what I was talking about. All I said was here’s my racing opportunity and here’s where your logo can be. But at the time, I didn’t know any better about marketing compared to where I am now.
I’m very thankful to continue our partnership for the last three years.
Haas: How did that deal come together with MBM Motorsports?
Maggio: Originally, that was going to be a one-race deal. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify [at Las] Vegas. We were five hundredths short of making the field for that one, so that was a little disappointing.
Carl Long didn’t have anybody for Richmond literally the week of the race. He called and asked if I wanted to go do it. We knew the circumstances going into it, and lo and behold, Mother Nature came in favor and we were able to go do it.
Carl Long has been good with me and has been a great guy to work with. Just hearing his history, from his time in the sport and how he’s persevered. He’s one of the pioneers in the sport.
It’s been fun working with Carl Long and MBM Motorsports in the little time that I got to work with him. Jason Houghtaling helped me put that together as well, along with putting me in for the Charlotte test back in January.
Haas: You obviously mentioned that you made your debut at Richmond. What was the biggest lesson that you learned from your debut?
Maggio: I’ve been there before in a truck when Josh [Reaume] gave me a last-minute opportunity, but I think the biggest thing is just race craft. That’s big on the short tracks with me not getting any practice or qualifying, just going into there cold turkey. It took me a minute to learn, but I realized the racing is pretty aggressive in that mid-pack category from about 22nd on back.
That was the most fun I had in a racecar. It was racing against those guys that I’ve looked up to for several years and watched on TV.
I think the biggest thing I learned was just patience. It’s a long race, and with short track racing, tempers can flare and guys tend to get a bit impatient. But I gained a lot of respect after that race because with my short track background, being patient and managing my stuff really helped with propelling us forward and ultimately to more opportunities.
MBM has been great, and that experience definitely paid off. I hope to do some more Xfinity racing throughout the year if it makes sense to go do it.
Haas: I saw that you graduated from high school. How was graduation?
Maggio: Well, I’m not getting [to attend] my graduation since it was supposed to be [on the day of the Truck Series race at Charlotte] but I decided to go racing instead. It’s a big accomplishment, and it’s one that I’m definitely proud of.
This year has been interesting to say the least behind the scenes, but glad to finally be done with it. Hopefully, I can continue to put all hands on deck toward trying to run as many races as I can and stay in NASCAR.
About the author
Jared Haas joined the Frontstretch staff in May 2020. A graduate of Cedarville University in December 2019, Jared has been a Nascar fan since 2006. One of Jared's passion is recreating and creating Nascar cars for video games.
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