When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs its inaugural race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, July 9th, there will be a current University of Virginia student in the field. Stephen Mallozzi, a rising fourth year at UVA, will race in the No. 43 Toyota Tundra for Reaume Brothers Racing in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, July 9th at 1:30pm.
A native of Swedesboro, New Jersey, Mallozzi got his start in racing as a go-kart driver at the age of nine. In 2017, he was the runner-up in the sport's Senior Rotax National Championship Series and went on to race for Team USA at the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal. In the summer of 2021, Mallozzi moved to Mooresville, North Carolina to join Reaume Brothers Racing and was soon announced as one of the inaugural drivers in the team's driver development program, beginning a key step in his lifelong pursuit of making a NASCAR start.
For Mallozzi, starting a NASCAR race is not simply a dream come true, but the realization of a life goal that has been at the forefront of his mind for nearly six years, when he got the news that his father had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
“For me, I’ve been pushing so hard to make this happen for my dad, Mallozzi said. "He has his own impossible fight after being given just six months to live. And since that initial diagnosis, he’s been going for almost six years. My old man has been my inspiration to keep going and try so hard to make this happen. He gave so much so I could race, and now it’s my turn to make him proud”.
Earning the opportunity to race in a sport that is notoriously hard to break into took an incredible combination of perseverance and resolve from Mallozzi as well as some help from Josh Reaume, the owner of Reaume Brothers Racing.
“Mallozz is something else - his story, the reason why he’s racing, put together with his big personality make him the kind of guy you just want to root for,” Reaume said. “I think racing is like a family and being able to help one of our own get his shot and letting Stephen complete something that is so important to him is an awesome thing to be a part of.”
“Breaking into motorsports in general is impossible, and I am so grateful for people in racing like Josh who continuously give drivers opportunities” said Mallozzi.
After finishing up his third year at UVA, Mallozzi finally got the news he has been waiting to hear for years that he will be making his NASCAR debut at Mid-Ohio.
"I cannot express how excited I am," Mallozzi said. "This has been an opportunity I've been dreaming of for a long time and the fact I get to do it with my dad around to see it - I get emotional thinking about it."
With his father there to see it, Mallozzi will make his racing debut at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, July 9th at 1:30pm. The race will be televised on FS1.