Stephen Mallozzi is making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but after a crash in the final moments of practice for Saturday’s race, Mallozzi was left less than pleased with the No. 46 G2G Racing team.
Mallozzi, 21, says that as he approached Turn 9, he slipped in a patch of oil, which was dropped by the No. 46 truck, which had mechanical issues all practice long and only completed one lap around the 2.258-mile road course in the session.
“I think, Glory2God is the biggest joke of a racing organization in NASCAR,” Mallozzi seethed. “I will stand by that statement publicly to anyone. They threw an oil line for the second time in the session, finally killed the motor that they should have killed the first time. We got into some oil that was down in Turn 9, freaking lost it. Went back up the track and really hurt our truck.”
While Mallozzi has frustrations with the No. 46 team, he emphasized that his issues are not with the driver of that truck this weekend.
“I feel bad for Mason Filippi,” Mallozzi said. “It’s obviously not his fault.”
Mallozzi, a native of Swedesboro, New Jesey, told TobyChristie.com that initially he thought he made an error and didn’t pump the brake pedal enough heading into turn 9, but after several spotters came by his team’s garage area to explain it looked like he hit an oil patch, and FOX Sports sharing video of the incident with him, he understood there was nothing more he could do in the crash. He was simply along for the ride.
While the incident was not what Mallozzi was hoping for in his first NCWTS race weekend, he says the silver lining is that the truck is fixable despite the hard contact with the wall.
“I think we’re really lucky. I think the cosmetic damage to the truck looks worse than it really is,” Mallozzi explained. “I don’t know that any of the suspension is badly damaged. It just looks like a lot of the outer framework and a lot of the sheet metal is bad. So, we’re welding and stapling it back together the best we can. It’s not going to look pretty, it’s going to look a little Frankenstein, but it’s a road course. I don’t know if it’ll hurt us too bad.”
At the end of the day, Mallozzi, who is a Reaume Brothers Racing employee when not racing the truck, is proud of the team of RBR employees that have been thrashing to get his truck repaired in time for Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.
“I’m so grateful to the guys at Reaume Brothers Racing for working so hard to fix the truck,” Mallozzi said. “There are 15 guys just digging on that bad boy, and they have been for the last hour. Thanks to CompKart and all of those guys for the opportunity to drive for them. I represent the brand, even if it’s not going the way we hoped to start. But we’ll look to turn it around. Nobody scores points in practice.”
Mallozzi completed 14 laps in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, and his quickest lap was 6.613 seconds slower than Zane Smith’s fastest lap, which paced the session. But Mallozzi takes solace in the fact that his lap times were getting quicker each and every lap as he was learning more about the course.
Now, Mallozzi will look to put the Friday morning frustration behind him and he hopes to complete the remainder of the race weekend with no additional damage and he’d love to record a lead-lap finish in Saturday’s race.
“No more damage and we keep it on the lead lap,” Mallozzi said of what he would consider a success in Saturday’s race. “I would like it if 35 other trucks didn’t finish. That would be the ideal finish, but that’s kind of an unrealistic ask.”
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio is set for Saturday, July 9th at 1:30 PM ET. Television coverage of the race will be provided by FS1.