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From Bloomin' Onions to Burnin' Rubber: Stephen Mallozzi Shares Unique Story on Motorsports Today

BY: EDDIE KALEGI



From an aspiring sports journalist, to a server at Outback Steakhouse, to competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Stephen Mallozzi's journey has been anything but ordinary. I had the chance to talk with him on this week's episode of Motorsports Today.


Mallozzi long had an interest in auto racing, dating back to play NASCAR Thunder 2004, but his father's terminal cancer diagnosis temporarily put that plan on the back burner. Mallozzi mulled his options between attending Rutgers University or the University of Virginia, but decided to go to UVA to be closer to Charlotte, NASCAR's base city.


Still having a passion for racing, Mallozzi's father noticed and was blunt with him. "He walked in and said 'if I treated my cancer the way you've treated your racing career, I would've been dead five years ago.'" Those words hit home, and Mallozzi started working toward achieving his dreams, doing anything and everything possible to get on the NASCAR grid.


That opportunity finally came last summer at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, as Mallozzi made his Craftsman Truck Series debut for Reaume Brothers Racing. He made four more starts in 2023 for RBR and AM Racing, including a race at Bristol Motor Speedway where he secured sponsorship from Outback Steakhouse. Mallozzi was a longtime server at the Australian restaurant chain, and a social media campaign led to this relatively unknown driver having one of the most recognizable sponsors on the truck series grid.


Despite this moment, Mallozzi has doubts about NASCAR's current model as it pertains to the little guys. "What I did is such an outlier in the grand scheme of what you see in race car drivers today", Mallozzi said.


You can check out the full conversation here, or enjoy the full episode on Spotify, where I also touch upon the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Josh Williams' deal with Kaulig Racing, the legacy of the late Ken Squier.


Motorsports Today airs every Friday from 12-1 PM live on 88.7 WRSU-FM New Brunswick and Wrsu.org.

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