Matt Kurzejewski Switching Gears, Priorities in 2016by Kyle Pokrefky February 1, 2016 0 comments
At 24 years of age, Matt Kurzejewski has found himself as being quite the busy man.
The Vice President of family-owned Costy’s Energy Services, a specialty services provider for oil and gas-related drilling activities, has focused on managing the operations of the business while keeping a racing career on the side.
While his primary focus in life has been devoted to the family business, a recent phone call has changed his priorities for 2016.
Receiving the call from Ken Schrader to pilot his No. 52 entry full-time this year in the ARCA Racing Series with backing from Ansell and Menards, Kurzejewski’s main focus will shift over to being behind the wheel of a race car this year.
As the Mansfield, Pa. native explained to The Fourth Turn on Wednesday, he was pinching himself over the initial phone call to set up his racing deal for this season.
“When I got the phone call asking if I wanted to drive for Ansell and Menards, I was shocked and I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t think it was true,” Kurzjewski said. “I still look back at aspects of it and think ‘Why me? Why some kid from Pennsylvania?’ and I don’t know, I don’t have that answer.
“I’m very lucky to have the opportunity that I’ve been presented with. There are hundreds of thousands of people across the United States that have devoted their time and financial efforts towards becoming or have the opportunity to be a professional race car driver. I could now consider myself one of those few people that have had the opportunity.”
The 2015 winner of ARCA’s General Tire Superspeedway Challenge had a stellar season last season driving for his family-owned K-Automotive team.
Running strictly on the larger ovals that the series visits, Kurzejewski never recorded a finish worse than 15th and finished in the top-10 in all but one of his nine races last season.
Though he experienced plenty of success with his family team, only K-Automotive’s driver will move over to the Ken Schrader Racing stable.
“I would have loved to have brought them with me if I could have, but to go to an organization like Ken Schrader Racing and the group of people that he has assembled with his team, I don’t think it would have been in our best interest to start switching people up and changing positions,” Kurzejewski stated. “We’d break apart that family – and with that team, I noticed that they really are a family. They click and the communication between them, you couldn’t ask for anything better. The knowledge they have between them is unbeatable within the ARCA Series garage.”
While he moves to a new family in terms of his racing career, he’ll leave Costy’s Energy Services in the hands of the family he’s helped create and nurture in the years he’s spent managing the company.
“It’s comforting to know that while I can focus on my racing career everything will be taken care of at home,” Kurzejewski said. “Before this year, before the Menards/Ansell/Kenny Schrader opportunity presented itself to me, I didn’t have a full-time racing position, I wouldn’t have even considered myself a professional race car driver – maybe a hobbyist.”
As the 24-year-old puts it, the management team of the company is more than capable of handling Kurzejewski’s tasks at the office.
“For the past two years I’ve surrounded myself with a great management team,” Kurzejewski said of his Costy’s crew. “I may be blowing it out of proportion a little bit, but a good analogy I’ve used in the past is that if they had to run NASA, they could.
“They’re a great group of people. They’re very intelligent and very dedicated to their jobs in the company, which is the environment in which we’ve surrounded them with.
“I don’t want to trade them for anything. We’ve become our own family over time.”
The 2016 ARCA Racing Series season is just under two weeks away as the series will kickstart its 64th season with the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 13th.
Photo Credit: ARCAracing.com