Veteran Pro Mod racer Steve Matusek will drive a twin-turbo Ford Mustang for Elite Motorsports in 2019, joining Elite’s burgeoning Pro Mod operation that will also feature Erica Enders and Alex Laughlin for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season.
Enders debuted in the class last year and made considerable strides as the year progressed, and she will race the full 12-event schedule in 2019. Laughlin will do the same as he makes his Pro Mod debut next season, which means Matusek will be a veteran of the group.
He made his NHRA Pro Mod debut in 2011, grabbing his first career win in the class in 2017 in Houston. Matusek has four top-10 finishes in the loaded Pro Mod class, bringing a wealth of experience and success to the team, but Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman also connected on a business level, which proved pivotal in a deal coming together.
“Steve and I have crossed paths many times and he’s a superstar in the business world, and we’re excited about this,” Freeman said. “He’s really helping us build another program and it just seemed like a real comfortable fit. We both seem to think a lot alike.”
Matusek and Freeman both share great success in business, which was a major contributing factor in Matusek’s decision. He started Aeromotive in 1994, providing impressive innovation in the industry with his company ever since.
His ideas and expertise adds another impressive layer to the Elite Motorsports team, coming to the group after a five-year run with Danny Rowe Racing. Rowe suspended his Pro Mod racing operations for 2019, which initially led Matusek to believe he wouldn’t – and didn’t want to be – racing next season. But his connection to Freeman on a business level helped make Matusek change his mind.
“That was a magical time for us and you never want to see it end,” Matusek said of his time with DRR. “Up until Monday of this week, I was already trying to get used to not scaring myself on a weekly basis. It was tough to get through that, but the way this came together and starting to meet the people on the new team, and starting to understanding what they’re doing and being innovative, that’s what I love and I hope it’s as fulfilling the last five years have been with Danny and Val (Rowe). The relationship my wife, Lori, and I have with Danny and Val extends far beyond racing and we are happy that relationship will continue regardless of whether either one of us would get into another car.”
Freeman believes the team has a chance to make a significant mark in the class, much like it has done in Pro Stock on the strength of Enders’ two world championships.
“We have a lot of work to do to get ready for Gainesville, but I think it’s going to be a neat deal,” Freeman said. “It’s a lot of tough competition, but give us 2-3 races and we’ll be right there.”