Slickville racer finds success at Jennerstown
Auto Racing Videos
Twenty years ago, Joe Maruca bought his first go-kart outside of the Jennerstown Speedway when he was 10 years old.
Now, Maruca celebrates his two decades as a racecar driver by competing professionally on the same track that helped initiate his career in the sport.
Competing in his fourth year as a driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Maruca began the season at Jennerstown on May 24 with two top-10 finishes. He followed that performance the next weekend with a sixth-place finish in the Late Model-A Main contest and an eighth-place finish in the Late Model-Twin race.
So far, these results have landed Maruca in fifth place for his division, which crowns the preeminent late model car driver in the region before sending the victor to nationals, a prize Maruca certainly has his sights set on.
“Our main goal is always to go there and compete for wins, and then go on and compete for championships,” Maruca said. “My plan is to win races.”
Maruca's plan has been in the works since the day he bought his first go-kart outside of Jennerstown Speedway. From there, he raced his go-kart to three local championships before jumping up to the state and national level to sharpen his skills.
After graduating high school, Maruca began working full-time as a factory driver for a team in North Carolina. Then, he decided to put a team of his own together.
“It was the cause of a lot of headaches at first,” Maruca said. “To go from racing go-karts to full-size late model car racing is a big jump. We skipped a lot of steps in between.
“I wouldn't have been able to do it without the people that I surround myself with. I was fortunate enough to have three great local drivers join my crew.”
The support Maruca has received and the hard work he has put in over the past two decades is starting to pay dividends.
His team, Maruca Motorsports, just secured another valuable sponsorship for their No. 90 car. Worldwide Safety Consulting, located in Florida, has joined Ambulance Billing Experts and Salem Enterprises as primary backers for the Slickville-based Maruca Motorsports.
Despite the increased attention, Maruca and his team remain grounded in their approach to competition, as evidenced by the number painted on the side of their racecar.
“The number (90) is significant because I am also a volunteer fireman, and that's our station number,“ Maruca said. “I put the department's name on the car too, because they fully support me with what I do.”
The last time Maruca raced with a different number was when he drove a No. 2 car for Tony Stewart at Kevin Harvick's house for a charity event. The experience is one of many remarkable memories Maruca has gathered while chasing the dream that began with him buying his first go-kart 20 years ago.
Maruca Motorsports plans to compete at Jennerstown Speedway every Saturday night until the NASCAR Whelen Series ends in the fall.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ McCutchen laughs off pay stub leak
- Cole outduels Mets rookie, carries Pirates to victory
- Lowly job likely awaits former Pittsburgh police chief after prison
- Hempfield pair caught in vehicle scam
- Pirates notebook: Stewart, Cole develop rapport
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen
- Trooper fatally shoots burglary suspect inside Somerset Twp. grocery store
- New Kensington Megan’s Law offender jailed on new child porn charges
- ‘Dope sick’ man in custody in Mt. Pleasant stick-up
- PennDOT puts final touches on Route 28 construction