Mason Maggio waves to the crowd during driver introductions, prior to a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event
NASCAR is a sport where man meets machine and travels to every part of the United States from February to November every year. The sport allows drivers to reach speeds of up to 215 MPH in the corners at tracks like Michigan International Speedway, heavy braking, turning right and downshifting at road courses like Portland International Raceway, and even keep their foot on the floorboard while being sandwiched in a pack of cars at Atlanta Motor Speedway. However, while this is easier said than done, it cannot be made possible without money. Drivers must know how to market themselves, pitching to companies to inquire about sponsorship, which covers the travel bill, pays for the tires and fuel, and allows the drivers to make a reasonable living from all of this.
I recently got to sit down and talk to NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Mason Maggio, who is looking to secure more sponsorship for the 2024 race season and gain as much on-track experience as possible. We got to talk a month prior to cars hitting the track for the first race of the season, taking place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, in mid-February.
“The hardest part about being a NASCAR driver overall at this point in time is managing the business side of it, which is about 80% of it and the other 20% is driving,” Maggio told me during our phone conversation. “There's kind of a fine balance between managing the business side, regarding finding like-minded partners and working with good teams and making sure that they’re taken care of and that the sponsors are as well. You have to make sure everyone involved is happy and be able to strive for more both on and off the racetrack and the opportunities for the sponsors allow for them to get the best out of their investment. I would definitely say the business side is definitely the hardest part in today’s era of NASCAR.”
I asked Maggio if he currently goes to college or studies marketing for his racing career, as current NASCAR Truck Series driver Rajah Caruth goes to Winston-Salem State University, majoring in Motorsports Management, and other drivers major in Business Administration.
“I do not go to school, I graduated from High School last May and I’ve had to grind and hustle. I’ve learned a lot about marketing in the last three or four years and have learned a lot since first stepping into a late model car” says Maggio.
He adds, “My Dad has said to me ‘I can’t do this out of my own pocket forever so you’ll have to learn marketing and go after some marketing partners in order to make it a reality’.To say I’ve learned a ton over the last few years is an understatement about the way this sport works and trying to make potential partners and investments worth it when they do sign up and trying to find a balance on what to sell to a particular partner, giving the best benefits of their investments. Sometimes I’m still learning what to say to a particular sponsor to garner their interest.”
Maggio is very active on his Instagram and X/Twitter pages, promoting his sponsors with Instagram stories and promotional tweets, offering his last name as discount codes for products, and reposting these advertisements several times a week. Maggio has 20.6K followers on Instagram and 1.5K followers on Twitter/X.com, both of which the majority of NASCAR fans use. It can be insinuated that sponsors are happy with their product promotion on social media, as well as the Television time in which Maggio’s car is seen every race he competes in. Sponsors are allowed to buy space on the hood, quarter panels, deck lid, and tail of the car, and in the NASCAR Cup Series, sponsors can now purchase the entire side of a car, with the number placement being moved closer to the front tires of each vehicle.
Most NASCAR, F1 and IndyCar drivers begin racing as young as 4-years-old. This was not the case for Maggio, as he started racing as a preteen. “I started racing when I was 12-years-old, a late bloomer compared to other kids. I didn’t really have a peak interest in racing until I was 11, having a short attention span as a kid. I didn’t really watch the races, but I knew who Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were. I got heavily involved in racing back in 2022, driving late models for E22 Motorsports with their Rick Ware Racing connection and I didn’t really have my sights set on NASCAR at the time, but after being reached out to by several in the garage, including Josh Reaume inquiring to me about being approved to run his NASCAR Truck, I got approved, put the deal together with Josh and a lot of my partners from my late model team came on board for my first race and that was super exciting and my life has been changed forever since. That was really cool and I still have a great relationship with my former team owners and Josh has helped me navigate through the sport, even when I wasn’t driving for him and the connections I built within this sport have absolutely been unreal and I’ve gained a lot more knowledge, learning a lot about myself as a person as a driver and as a person.”
When asked about the upcoming race season, Maggio declared 2023 as the hardest year of his life, having plans in place to race in eight events before the season, and went from having a ride with a Truck Series team to falling apart shortly after Daytona. “I had to put the pieces back into the puzzle and I’m grateful for the opportunities I did have, with MBM Motorsports owner Carl Long giving me a chance to qualify his car at Las Vegas, which was an opportunity that kept my name fresh. I got to reunite with Josh (Reaume) when he was having some trouble. I did more stuff with Carl Long, SS Green Light Racing, AM Racing, and RSS Racing with Ryan Sieg”.
Maggio has a lot of talent behind the wheel and shows signs of speed every time he gets in a race vehicle. “It’s definitely been a long year but when we did have things going our way, we showed potential that we could do some big things when we ran 25th at Charlotte, almost 20th and that was a big moment for me. We ran good at both Kansas races, despite not getting the finishes we wanted and Nashville was a good one for me, getting a top 20 in the #34 Truck. When things did go my way, it definitely showed we have potential to do more. As far as 2024 goes, I’m still working to solidify my plans and I’m still working closely with a team to solidify a handful of races and see what I can get. This sport is a business and I’m still trying to find like-minded partners and still working on that. I don’t truly know what the upcoming season looks like, but I definitely will be back, whether that’s in one series over the other, doing a handful of Truck races or handful of Xfinity races, I don’t know yet, I think I’ll have something here soon and hopefully I’ll have something to announce shortly.”
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