Matt Stangle: When Second Feels like a Win

Matt Stangle: When Second Feels like a Win

Ricky Bobby may have said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” but Matt Stangle (right) might disagree. Stangle finished runner-up to 2019 Super DIRTcar Series champion Mat Williamson (left). The two met in victory lane after the Super DIRTcar Series feature at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, New Jersey.

“Finishing second was a win for me and our team,” said Stangle, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey. “It made us know we can run with the big-block guys. We have something for them.”

Stangle also felt he almost had Williamson for the win.

“I was behind Mat most of the race,” Stangle said. “When I caught up to him, I got underneath his car. I had a big run, but I realized that we were coming up on a rut, so I backed off a bit.”

Williamson appreciated Stangle’s move — a move that prevented disaster for both drivers.

“He thanked me for lifting,” said Stangle “Then, he thanked me for driving him clean.”

Stangle has raced full-sized cars since age 16, started with sportsman modifieds. After two seasons in that class, he moved up to small blocks.

“We race the small blocks every week,” Stangle said. “We like to race as much as we can, and when the Super DIRTcar Series comes this way, we will compete [in it]. Work and our schedule prevent us from traveling to Upstate New York and Canada.”

Matt Stangle said there’s a considerable difference between small blocks and big blocks. However, he can enter his next big-block race with the confidence of knowing he can run with the best of them.

“It’s different,” said Stangle, comparing the big block with a small-block modified. “Not only is it big-block power, but the [Super DIRTcar Series] uses Hoosier tires. That creates a whole different feel on the racetrack. I never won a big-block series event, but I’m hoping to do so. It would be a big accomplishment because the series has the best of the best DIRTcar drivers.”