Igdalsky will be joined by his brother and sister in running the track's daily operations. Nicholas Igdalsky, 33, will serve as chief operating officer and executive vice president, and Ashley Igdalsky, 30, was promoted to secretary/treasurer.
The stunning announcement was made without fanfare by Mattioli, who has battled health problems in recent years and shifted uncomfortably in his wheelchair several times as he paused to collect his thoughts.
"As of today, I'm resigning all my positions here at Pocono Raceway," said Mattioli, who was flanked by his wife of 63 years, Rose, and other family members.
"I felt that going on 87, nobody lives forever, and I figured I better get the hell out of here while the getting's good."
The Mattiolis have been inseparable since they met as students at Temple University. Later, they lived and worked out of their home in Northeast Philadelphia - he as a dentist and she as a podiatrist - before venturing to this mountain resort in 1960 to speculate on land, a move that spawned several real estate developments.
Along with his spouse, Mattioli has been devoted to maintaining and improving the speedway since it opened in 1971.
"Fifty years went by damn fast," he said. "I've had a hell of a good time doing all the things I wanted to do. All we started with here was $48, and the last time we did a mint value it was around $600 million, so I think that it's been quite a jump.
"When I realized that my grandchildren are capable [of running the track], then I started thinking heavily about" retirement, Mattioli continued. "They're all well-trained to do what they have to do."
Jeff Gordon, who has raced at Pocono since 1993, was meeting with reporters behind his team hauler when he heard the news.
"He certainly put in his years of commitment and dedication, and maybe he can go enjoy himself a little," Gordon said. "A great sign of what kind of leader you are is [the people] that take the reins after you. I think Doc's done a pretty awesome job putting [the track] in good hands."
In a statement, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said: "For over four decades, Dr. Joe and Rose Mattioli have been a big part of NASCAR's success, and their track has created many memories for our teams, drivers, and fans.
"As the Mattiolis step away from the day-to-day operations at Pocono, we wish them all the best in retirement and extend our heartfelt gratitude for their many significant contributions to our sport."
If You Go
The track: Pocono Raceway is on Route 115 in Long Pond, Pa. Take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-476) to Exit 95. Take I-80 east toward Hazleton/Mount Pocono to Exit 284. Head south on Route 115 for 3 miles.
Saturday's on-track events: Camping World Truck Series qualifying, 9:35 a.m.; Sprint Cup Series qualifying, 10:40 a.m.; Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 Camping World Truck Series race, 1 p.m.; Pennsylvania 125 ARCA Series race, 3 p.m.
TV: Camping World Truck Series qualifying (SPEED, 9:30 a.m.); Sprint Cup Series qualifyng (ESPN2, 10:30 a.m.); Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 Camping World Truck Series race (SPEED, 1 p.m.); Pennsylvania 125 ARCA Series race (SPEED, 3 p.m.).
Tickets: Call 800-722-3929 or check www.poconoraceway.com.
- Pete Schnatz