As His Dad Fights Cancer, This UVA Student Nears Completion of Their NASCAR Dream

And while he wasn’t behind the wheel anymore, he still found his way to the track through announcing kart races and writing for racing blogs.

It’s just that there was a certain itch that wouldn’t go away. It was obvious to Stephen A. Mallozzi when he stepped in his son’s bedroom in January 2021.

“He was at a point where he just seemed like he was throwing up his hands and didn’t know what to do,” Stephen A. said. “He was really struggling not being in racing.”

What happened next was what Stephen A. Mallozzi described as a “call to action” for his son.

“It wasn’t a pep talk,” he said. “I just told him,‘ Listen, you can continue to be upset and not do anything about it. Or you can lean in and do what you need to do. Give it a shot, because you’re at an age where you can do that. The worst thing you can do is in 10 years, look back and say, I should have tried. ‘”

Stephen J. got the point. He quickly tapped into a wealth of contacts he had developed through the years. By the end of the spring semester, he was taking online classes at UVA while working in the shop at Reaume Brothers Racing in Mooresville, North Carolina. It was here where he learned the ins and outs of a professional stock car racing team. While it was an unpaid gig – to cover his apartment rent, he worked the 6 pm-to-2 am delivery shift at Domino’s local – it offered opportunity.

Stephen J. eventually was announced as one of the inaugural drivers in the team’s driver development program, the key step he needed to someday be credentialed for a NASCAR race.

“It’s been pretty amazing to watch a 20-, 21-year-old figure how to do all this on his own,” Stephen A. Mallozzi said.

On June 23 of this year, after a year of Late Model races and meeting certain NASCAR safety standards, Stephen J. Mallozzi was officially entered into the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150.

“Mallozzi is something else,” said Josh Reaume, the owner of Reaume Brothers Racing. “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.

“I think racing is like a family, and being able to help one of our own get his shot is an awesome thing to be a part of.”

Cherishing the Moment

Like a racetrack, the Mallozzis ’story had been filled with straightaways and sharp turns. But after an extended pit stop, they can finally see the finish line for a longtime goal.

“It’s NASCAR,” said Elder Mallozzi, “and not everybody gets a chance to do that. So that part of it will be super exciting for us. ”

Saturday’s race is the only one scheduled for Stephen J. Mallozzi this summer. This is an expensive sport, and he’ll look to generate more funds before entering his next race on the NASCAR circuit.

He plans to return to Grounds this fall and complete his economics degree.

Stephen A. Mallozzi still receives radiation treatment through a clinical trial that, in his words, “keeps the cancer at bay.” His son realizes they must cherish every moment they have left together.

Especially at the track.

“We’re already 10 times over the life expectancy my dad was supposed to survive,” Stephen J. Mallozzi said. “The odds we go on another 10 years, we’re pushing our luck.

“My dad committed all of this time, all of this money, all of this effort to make the dream happen. Let’s pay him back. Let’s show him we can do it. I’m going to take what he gave me and I’m going to make the frigging most of it. ”

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