Eight of the top grassroots competitors will compete November 15 & 16 at NOLA Motorsports Park for the Mazda Road to 24 scholarship valued at $100,000. Today, we feature Matt Cresci, an elite Spec Miata competitor.
Matt Cresci bought his first car at the age of 15, just as his passion for racing was developing on the Sony PlayStation. In 2012, he got his first break, tying for first out of 400,000 competitors in a Gran Turismo driving simulator competition. As a result, he was flown to Silverstone Circuit in the UK to race real cars, where it soon became apparent that he could compete with the best. After this experience, there was no turning back.
Shortly after, Cresci and his father decided to invest in a street legal 1990 Spec Miata. Even on a tight budget, Matt Cresci could afford to race by simply driving the car to the track, with his tools in the trunk and slick tires hitched to the back of the car. Late in 2014, he drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma Raceway, where he finished 4th at the NASA National Championships in his rookie year.
The 2015 season saw Cresci step up to podium competitiveness. During the 2015 NASA Championships held at Mazda Raceway, he began the final Spec Miata race in 20th place after difficulties earlier in the weekend. He made up nine positions by the end of the first lap, and continued on to a second place finish, setting the fastest lap of the race and receiving the hard charger award. Video here.
Simultaneously, Cresci had also been working hard on his education at Santa Clara University. Matt focused on a degree in business, knowing that to race professionally, he needed to become a finely tuned marketing machine. He proceeded to graduate at the top of his class, and acquired valuable work experience in the process. Fun fact: After receiving his diploma, he left his graduation ceremony early to compete in a race that same afternoon.
After graduation, Cresci took his racing dreams into his own hands. He used his free time to study how to create value for partners; he created professional videos; taught himself how to effectively use social media; designed his own website and logos; analyzed data; provided coaching services, and more.
In 2016, Cresci continued his championship efforts in Spec Miata, and won his debut races in both the USTCC Super Touring class and the NASA Super Unlimited class.
Cresci’s preparation has earned him a spot in this year’s Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. And he is ready. “I am prepared for the scholarship opportunity that Mazda has provided,” commented Cresci. “Winning takes the total package and I have worked hard to become just that. I can’t wait to put my knowledge and experience to the test alongside some of the most talented club racers in the country!”