Matt Kiesel: The Spirit of “The Intimidator”

Matt Kiesel: The Spirit of “The Intimidator”

While Matt Kiesel doesn’t wear a black hat, he does drive a black car with a No. 3 on it. He does so in honor of the driver who made that number iconic, the late seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Dale Earnhardt.

“I was only six when Dale died in 2001,” Kiesel, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said. “I really did not understand what had happened.”

Nevertheless, the man dubbed “The Intimidator” left a lasting impression on Kiesel.

“Growing up I strived to be an ‘Intimidator,’” said Kiesel. “Being an Intimidator implies … you don’t back down, you don’t give up. You show them who is boss.”

Kiesel started racing enduros. He then moved up to the weekly four-cylinder class.

“The enduro car was too slow for me — I wanted to move up to a faster division,” Kiesel said. “I bought some old lady’s Honda Civic, put a cage in, sprayed it black, and got that famous No. 3 on it.”

Last year, Kiesel earned his first feature win, occurring at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.

Racing cars isn’t the only type of driving that appeals to Matt Kiesel. He also aspires to attain his CDL so he can drive a tractor-trailer. For now, he steers a box truck that he owns, delivering packages for Amazon. He also does landscaping to help fund the race car.

“Being a trucker is an attractive profession because it is unpredictable,” said Kiesel. “You never know where the job will take you. One day you’re hauling freight, the next day it’s asphalt.”

In the spirit of Dale Earnhardt, Kiesel won’t give up on his dreams. And, he’s not afraid to work for them.

“I want to move up to hobby stocks next,” Kiesel said. “I might need a third job if I want to keep on moving up.”