TULSA, Okla. --
"We've won several races in different classes before, but this is our first big championship," the Wentzville, MO-based driver said. "So it was especially gratifying to do it as father and son, a lot of fun."
After scoring his lone Mid-West Series race win at Memphis in September, Matlock, 60, took over the points lead from Kenny Hubbard and his Procharger-equipped '74 Nova, then followed up with a runner-up finish to seal the deal a month later at the MWPMS World Finals in Tulsa.
"To be quite honest we weren't really chasing the championship this year," Matlock admitted. "We even missed a couple of races, but the car was just running so well that when we did go we did pretty well."
He recalled 28-year-old Cory calling shortly before the Memphis event to point out they were sitting second in points and then discussing whether the Matlock team should make a run for the season title.
"He said, 'Let's just go see if we can win the championship,' so we kind of laid out what we needed to do for that to happen," Matlock said. "So we were fortunate enough to win in Memphis and when we got to Tulsa there were probably 10 or 12 different scenarios that could have happened, but realistically it basically was really between just us and a couple of cars."
His day continued to the semi-finals, but a win there came at the price of a broken lifter.
"We did get it put back together, but we also realized that we had some pretty serious internal problems," Matlock admitted. "So I just told Dave (Pierce), we weren't even going to stage and that he should just go up there and enjoy his first win in the series.
"But at first I told my son, 'Let's take it up there. I think it'll make the pass.' But Cory told me, 'I don't know, I don't think I'd do it,' and he actually talked me out of it. After we got back and got the motor out of the car it was obvious who made the right call. We would've really hurt some stuff."
Matlock's Mustang was put together by Beilman Fabrication in Wentzville, with owner Mark Beilman attending most races with Matlock to help with chassis tuning. Up front the car carries a Design Performance-built 436 c.i. LS engine boosted by a single 88-mm turbocharger and featuring ComSync EFI by Ryan Micke at Mick's Performance.
Sending the power back to the Mickey Thompson Pro X275 tires is an M&M 2-speed Turbo 400 outfitted with a 10-inch Coan converter mated to a Strange Engineering rear end and axles. Matlock also emphasizes O'Fallon House of Quality, a commercial rental property company, is a major backer and part owner of his car.
"I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen, but my son most of all for getting us out there. I also need to thank my wife, we just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, and I have a daughter and two little grand babies, a nine-month old granddaughter and a four-year-old girl who just loves this," Matlock said. "She calls me Pappy and helps me work on the car in the shop, but every once in a while you gotta' stop and go play Barbies with her for a little while. She makes it fun."
The Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series will open its 2020 season Mar. 27-28, at the Texas Motorplex. Throughout an eight-race schedule it also will visit Bowling Green, KY; Tulsa (twice); St. Louis (twice), Ferris, TX; and for the first time Martin, MI, for a special double points race in September.
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