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WNY Auto Racing / By Larry Ott: Miszczak steers his passion toward charity

Rob Miszczak is not afraid to profess that along with his passion for using his feet to operate the pedals of his potent NASCAR Charger race car at Holland Motorsports Complex he also finds enjoyment using them on the dance floor.

“Yeah, I just love to dance at social events like ... when I ripped up the dance floor at the Holland Tulip Festival,” Miszczak said. “I’m not on stage or anything like that but I just love to dance at parties and things like that. I’m not afraid to admit that I love to dance even though I’m involved in the really macho sport of racing. I always say that if you want to dance just go out there and do it and pretend that nobody’s watching.”

It’s also noteworthy that in the very expensive environment of short-track stock car racing, Miszczak did not keep any of his 2014 purse money. The winner of three Holland NASCAR Charger features and the track’s 2014 NASCAR Charger season points championship donated 100 percent of his earnings to the children’s unit at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

While Miszczak’s racing nickname is “The Wild One,” he easily could be known as “The Charitable One.”

“It’s just a good feeling to do something to help people out who have very special needs,” Miszczak said. “I mean, I am having a great time out there every Saturday racing my stock car and there are people out there who have serious problems and need help. It’s about what I can do to give something to them.”

Miszczak plans to once again donate his season winnings to Roswell Park.

“You know my mom is a very good Catholic and she raised me to be a serious Catholic, which I am. But sometimes due to different reasons, like late race nights on Saturday at Holland, I sometimes miss Mass, So by giving to charity I hope this kind of makes up for it with the church and especially mom,” laughed Miszczak. “Seriously, I’m kind of being funny here but I have deep respect for the church and my religion.”

Miszczak’s parents, Krysztof and Elizabeth Miszczak, emigrated to America from their native Poland in 1979 and took residence in Buffalo near Central Terminal. When Rob was about 12, his dad started taking him to Holland Speedway. The younger Miszczak fell in love with the sport and his racing heroes of the time, Anton Anderson Jr., and Bill Adamczyk.

Last season was a highly competitive one in the NASCAR Charger ranks as Miszczak, with his trio of victories, and fellow competitor Eric Brown, with a pair of checkered flags, were the only multiple feature- race winners in the division.

“It was a good one,” said Miszczak of his 2014 campaign. “It’s challenging driving through the pack each week and trying to muscle my way to the front to get a win. But as my part-time crew member Chuck Anderson tells me, it means more when it is tougher.”

Helping Miszczak with his racing efforts for his 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo-bodied car are sponsors Mr. Big Stuff Classic Parts, Rob’s Collision, Paint & Body and Holland Southtowns Tire. For the most part, Miszczak is pretty much a one-man pit crew with occasional help from others.

Miszczak plans to open the season in his Monte Carlo and by mid-season may race a former Adamczyk entry he has obtained.

“I hope to have a good season this year at Holland, and I got to thank my good racing buddy Zach Myers for his help, and also to,” Holland promoters, “Tim and Ron Bennett for keeping the track going all these years,” Miszczak said.

Holland will have open practice sessions from 6-8 Thursday night and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in advance of the 56th season opener on May 23.

Pit stops

• Sportsman driver Matt Druar will be watching from the sidelines when Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway opens its stock car season Saturday night. He underwent shoulder surgery in March. He expects to miss the entire 2015 season but plans a return in 2016.

• Merrittville Speedway will honor former Modified driver Brian Stevens, who died this past winter from cancer. In honor of Stevens and his No. 444 car, Merrittville will showcase the 358 Modified Friends of Brian Stevens 44-lap Memorial at 7 p.m. Monday. The winner will earn $4,444.44 in the 358 Modified Super Dirt Series event.