Surprise Entrant Maresca Wires the Field at Selinsgrove Icebreaker – DTD Exclusive


If you would’ve asked anyone last week for their Icebreaker predictions. It would be a good bet that Michael Maresca’s name wouldn’t have been among the answers. The driver formerly out of Potsdam, N.Y., hadn’t given any indication that he would be amongst the entrants for the first Short Track Super Series of the season until late in the week. 

Maresca not only showed up but went out and led all 40 laps to take the win and the $5,000 first place prize. Starting on the pole, Maresca was able to hold off Billy Pauch Jr., from the inside on the initial start to forge ahead. After that, Maresca switched to the outside for all the remaining restarts and was never really challenged for the lead. It was not a bad way to start the season for a quiet, yet personable driver.

“Wow, that was a good opening night for us,” said Maresca. “Pretty good way to start the season for sure. I knew I had to stay in front of Billy (Pauch Jr) at the start of the race. I didn’t think the inside was where you wanted to be on the restarts so that was important. The outside had a little bit more grip there that I could lean on and I was able to use that to my advantage to keep Billy behind me.”

Starting on the pole is not always a good thing when it comes to these STSS races, just ask Stewart Friesen who has always said he would rather start upfront but not necessarily on the pole. But on this day, Maresca made the number one starting spot payoff in a big way.

“It definitely helps starting out front, there is no doubt about it,” Maresca mentioned. “But it is sort of a take as you get them deal. I think we had a really good car and don’t think it was a complete gift. It was just a good night, especially for our first race back this year. Honestly, I came into this race just hoping to not embarrass myself out there so to get a win was extremely over my expectations today. Obviously, you always go out there hoping to win, but when you win your first race of the year that is pretty darn cool.”

Saturday’s win at Selinsgrove was Maresca’s first STSS points win in both the North and South Series. Maresca did have a win during the Sunshine Swing in 2022 but that was a non-points race. Maresca has always shown a penchant for running strong in the central PA region.

“I am pretty sure this was the first Deyo race I have won up north,” commented Maresca. “I have always enjoyed coming down this way to race. It is a nice part of the country, and the racetracks are all really nice. Here at Selinsgrove, Port Royal and BAPs are all really nice racetracks. There is one other track out this way that I would really like to race at and that is Clinton County. I raced there once in a Late Model and it is in my top three list of racetracks I have ever raced at. It is nothing fancy, but man it is a cool racetrack. Overall, this is a good area for me to race at. We always seem to be fast and do well and we also seem to have a lot of fans here which is awesome. It’s nice to travel down here especially since there is no snow on the ground.”

Winning the first STSS South Series race of the season obviously gives Maresca a leg up for the series by putting him in the points lead going into race number two next Saturday at Bridgeport.  Unfortunately, Maresca will not be an attendance next week.

“I cannot make Bridgeport next week,” explained Maresca. “We have some family stuff we had planned to do together. I hadn’t really planned on being here today, but it was Russ’s (Russ King) birthday, he wasn’t doing anything, and it worked out for all of us to ride down here. Man, it was fun today and a really good way to start the season.”

Maresca has shown to this writer that he can run with anyone in the Northeast when it comes to dirt Modified racing. Maresca has won some big races to go along with a couple of track championships. But for Maresca, it is not all about racing. He holds down a full-time job, as do most drivers, but he prioritizes family first and chooses to race when and where he would like that fits into his schedule instead of vice versa.

As mentioned above, Maresca is originally from Potsdam, N.Y., but has recently moved to the Syracuse area for job purposes. Talking to him about the upcoming season, Maresca mentioned that since he moved that he could possibly race his 358 modified at Fulton Speedway on a weekly basis or not. It’s just the way it has been for Maresca the past couple of years. If he wants to race, he will or if he wants to go fishing and spend time with family that is okay with him. Racing is truly a hobby for Maresca.