The Puglia family has been a part of Western Australian drag racing for decades, with brothers Matthew and Nicholas now carrying the torch at Perth Motorplex.
Matthew made his debut in Super Sedan this season, after many years in Junior Dragsters. He’s been to the final round twice – coming runner up to national champion Martin Mirco both times – and is carrying confidence in his driving as he heads to the Western Australian Nitro Championship event this Saturday (March 20).
“My season has been great, especially for my first time racing a car in one of the toughest classes there is,” he said.
“I have raced four events and I have been on the podium twice. There’s no better feeling than coming back from a run and seeing all the family and friends cheering when I have made it to a final.”
Matthew races a budget-friendly Ford Mustang he built with his father Allen. Allen was a prolific racer in Super Comp and Pro Stock, but he now enjoys watching his sons do the steering.
“My dad and I actually bought the car I’m racing now pretty cheap,” Matthew said.
“We took it back to the shed, welded a roll cage in, put a four link suspension system into the back with a nine inch diff and gave it a Cleveland engine.
“The car still has all the original carpet, lights, radio, and even electric windows. Most of the parts that were added to the car were things we had laying around the shed from years of racing.”
The shared experience of making a race car with his father has been the most special part of the whole deal for Matthew.
“I like keeping a smile on my dad’s face and making him proud,” he said. “I can’t wait to follow in his footsteps and be a champion like he was.
“My family has been in the sport for a while and I have really enjoyed it. The best memories were watching my dad be successful with his team after so many hours of preparation.
“It’s great having my brother race next to me too. We’re a family racing team and to have two cars out there is just great for the sport and spectators.”
While brother Nicholas has scored the keys to the family’s Pro Stock Ford Mustang – which he races in the Top Sportsman class – Matthew has his eyes on a Ford Probe which is sitting in the shed.
“My future plans are definitely running in dad’s Ford Probe in Super Comp. I would love to follow his footsteps and put the car back on the track,” Matthew said.
The Western Australian Nitro Championship event sees sportsman qualifying commence 11am, with the BME WA Nitro Championship taking place from 5.30pm.
For more information, visit www.motorplex.com.au