Team Matt Long Racing is no stranger to the thrill of a heated battle to the end. But they just couldn't seem to get over the hump during the first part of the 2013 season, with four runner-up finishes and several great runs at various venues.
Matt Long is looking forward to a fierce battle at the Fastrak World Championship in the days to come
However, persistence recently paid off at the Beckley Motorsports Park, at Beckley West Virginia. Recalling a fast and furious performance during his previous visit to the venue, Long rolled into town with an eagerness to get the show on the road.
"My confidence was very high," recalled Matt Long. In reference to their first trip to Beckley this season he said, "We were one of the fastest cars, but I spun out passing for the lead.
"I love this track," he continued. "You can pass all over it; run top, middle and bottom grooves. It gets very slick and makes the driver concentrate and be very consistent."
Running in the Crate Late Model class, Matt Long didn't waste any time setting the bar. In fact, Long took the victory in his heat race. Having earned a front-row starting position in the feature, Matt Long was focused on a win when the drop of the green flag deemed the race underway. Immediately taking the lead, he never looked back. Long managed to pull himself from the pack and hold his position throughout the entire race. And when the dust had settled, Matt Long Racing had earned their first victory of the season, and Matt Long's rightful spot atop the podium.
After several near wins, Matt Long and Matt Long Racing walked away from Beckley Motorsports Park with a victory under their belt and aspirations of more checkered flags throughout the remainder of the 2013 season
When asked the key to success at this event, Long explained, "Probably the confidence I had in the set-up and car. As long as there were no screw ups by the driver, I was pretty confident we could take the win. Winning the heat gave us a front row starting spot. It's always better and easier to start from the front row."
Although Long made it through the race without any challenges from his competitors, he was acutely aware that one driver in particular had the potential to make a run for the victory. "Eddie Hambrick, a regular at Beckley, has won double-digit features this year," recalled Long. "So going into the night, he was the guy to beat. When I got to traffic," stated Long, "the car would go anywhere I put it. I assumed the guys behind me couldn't move around that much."
But Matt Long and his team were ready for the challenge. And upon taking the checkered flag, Matt had distanced himself nearly a straightaway from his competitors.
When asked the key to success throughout the remainder of the season, Matt Long said, "Along with keeping focused, making the right calls throughout the night is always important. Fortunately, our next race is at Beckley once again, and it's a big one - the Fastrak World Championship, paying $20,000.00 to win. I feel really confident that we can mix when the laps wind down for the purse."
Matt Long was quick to credit his team for many superb runs this season. "My team and my friends who help me are really important to me. I will always have racing in my life, and some of the best friendships I have are because of or through racing."
Having been driving in the sport for eight years and involved in dirt racing since he was a child watching his father and grandfather compete, Matt Long has learned that enough can't be said about the significance of maintenance.
"It is one of the most important, yet least understood things in racing," explained Matt Long. "Having a great maintenance program is second to none. I'm fortunate that my crew chief, Jim Cook Jr., fully understands that, and goes above and beyond in that department each week."
A strong advocate of keeping the internal components of his engine contaminant free, Long depends upon K&N products for his filtering needs. I've been using their products my entire racing career," he explained. I use K&N's 14"X5" air filter, 1 3/8" breather with shield, 3/8" breather, oil spray, cleaner their outerwear and oil filters.
"K&N products are fantastic!" he ensured. " If taken care of the correct way, they can save you thousands of dollars on engine wear and tear. My engine cylinders are always in great shape at the end of the season, and same for my quick-change rear end and transmission." Acutely aware that the outcome of close races is often determined by decisions executed in the shop, Matt Long concluded, "Such great protection and still allowing the highest horsepower and torque are what sets the K&N products apart from their competition."