Bob Pisarek: Mechanic of the 12 months and extra

This is a story about Bob Pisarek, the 2020 SCCA Mechanic of the Year.

Except most moments, what appears to be the tale is basically part of a more substantial tale.

So of course, Bob Pisarek is a deserving SCCA Mechanic of the Year. Let’s get that out of the way. A multi-time SCCA Runoffs championship-successful prep store, Progress Autosports is also one of the paddock’s “super teams,” with buyers at seemingly each and every SCCA event, and Pisarek is in demand of the workforce that keeps these autos on track.

“Bob is at the keep track of every single weekend and in all probability sees us far more than his family and just pours almost everything into attempting to make certain these buyers can occur out and race and have a good time,” Ben Merwin, who runs Advance Autosports with Pisarek, claimed.

Motorists echo the identical issue. The nomination form stated his determination to entertaining, to safety, and to overall performance – and though effectiveness is important, it’s under no circumstances at the cost of the other two.

So sure, this is a story about Bob Pisarek, who earned the 2020 SCCA Mechanic of the Calendar year by doing the job just about each individual weekend with a smile. But it is really hard to convey to the tale about Pisarek with out also telling the story of Dave Wheeler and Ann O’Malley.

Dave Wheeler was synonymous with State-of-the-art Autosports. For a lot of, he continues to be so, and for pretty much 30 a long time, he was Highly developed Autosports. Wheeler started the business in Beloit, Wisconsin, simply because he loved racing. Over time, the plan grew, like much more than 150 Spec Miatas, constantly the bread and butter of the business.

From the commencing, Wheeler was just one of the apostles of the course, spreading the gospel of Spec Miata to any individual who would pay attention. He brought his spouse, Ann O’Malley, to the sport and created her an integral part of the enterprise. He served on the rules committee, fully commited to expanding the course. He virtually wrote the book on the course, penning “The Spec Miata Constructor’s Manual” for other individuals to reference.

Just when it seemed Innovative Autosports was at its peak, tragedy struck. 1st, Ann passed absent from a scarce brain tumor in February of 2018. Just 10 months afterwards, a second most cancers recurrence claimed Wheeler.

Because Wheeler taken care of staff members and customers like household, the overall enterprise was grieving. Now what?

Effectively, this is a tale about Bob Pisarek, 2020 SCCA Mechanic of the Year. It is also a story about Dave Wheeler and Progress Autosports. And for the reason that of that, it is a story about legacy.

See, Wheeler treated his workforce and his clients like family. That receives tossed close to a large amount, but in this scenario, it was real. Why? Mainly because in some situations, his personnel actually were spouse and children.

So where ended up we? Bob Pisarek, Dave Wheeler, Progress Autosports – oh sure, legacy. Quite maybe the one particular detail that, as an person, you just can’t handle and is still left up to those who comply with you. So while we’re telling the story of legacy, we have to incorporate the story of Ben Kerwin.

As a great deal as Wheeler cherished Progress Autosports, he loved his daughters even more. Enter Kerwin, who married Michelle – the eldest of Wheeler’s daughters.

When the world dropped Wheeler, it would have been easy to shutter Advance Autosports appropriate then and there. But that did not really match with all the things Wheeler experienced built.

“It would have been a shame to just throw all this away,” Pisarek reported. “I talked to Ben, Ben talked to his wife, and we acquired together and explained we’re just going to make it function. We have gotten bigger, and it’s fantastic!”

Kerwin, for one particular, had no doubt that Advance Autosports would proceed – with a single big caveat. Pisarek experienced to be associated.

“After Dave handed away, I had a conversation with Bob and explained I just cannot make this function without having him,” Kerwin said. “We had a great deal of men and women who have been doubtful about what was heading to happen, so just obtaining that assurance that there was some consistency permitted us to do effectively. And they rallied all-around us and we have been capable to expand.”

Pisarek, Wheeler, Progress Autosports, legacy, Kerwin – it turns out that this is essentially a tale about passion. Enthusiasm for motorsports, for SCCA, for people who race, for a boss, close friend, father and mentor who handed absent to soon. To advancement and progression.

And certainly, Bob Pisarek was presented the 2020 SCCA Mechanic of the Yr award at this weekend’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Sebring International Raceway, on the podium in entrance of his workforce and the full course. And sure, he deserved the award for his mechanic abilities in 2020. But he justifies the award for his operate for other individuals – his shoppers, the sport, the Sports activities Vehicle Club of The us, his company partner, and his late manager.

“It’s an honor and a privilege,” PIsarek explained. “I’ve been with the company 13 years. The late, good Dave Wheeler and Ann O’Malley took a probability using the services of me. I have to thank my spouse, specifically, for putting up with me becoming long gone for 32 months of the 12 months. My young children, my grandkids – the complete team at the store. This does not choose just me, it usually takes all of us.

When Pisarek said that, he was conversing about the Mechanic of the Year award. But like so lots of stories, at its main it was about so much much more than that.