Rob Wosyluk: Entire Racing Operation Lost in Accident

Rob Wosyluk: Entire Racing Operation Lost in Accident

Jesse Leiby (right) followed family friend and fellow racer Rob Wosyluk (left) home to West Milford, Pennsylvania. Leiby had raced Wosyluk’s crate 602 sportsman modified during Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. Then, tragedy struck.

Wosyluk, 65, towed the modified in his 24′ enclosed trailer with a single-cab, long-bed Chevrolet 2500. On his way back to Pennsylvania he swerved to miss a deer. Unfortunately, he lost control of his rig. It went off the road and hit a tree.

“We were almost home to West Milford,” Leiby said. “I was two minutes behind Rob. His truck burst into flames, and the fire spread to his trailer. Everything burned to the ground.  Rob got to the side of the road. I could see his hands were burned badly.”

Wosyluk, a longtime racer, competed alongside John Leiby, father to Jesse and his racing brother Jimmy.

“We grew up at Orange County Fair Speedway, watching him and Dad race,” said Leiby. “Rob and his wife, Katie, have been around since I was born. They lived five minutes from my parents’ house.”

This past year, Wosyluk had Leiby race his crate 602 sportsman modified.

“Whenever I wasn’t racing my car, he wanted me to drive his,” Leiby said. “I drove his sportsman car in the 358 small-block modified division a few times when my car was broken, just to preserve my handicap.”

At Eastern States Weekend, Leiby missed qualifying for the sportsman feature by one position. However, Wosyluk experienced a loss Wosyluk far greater than missing the show.

“Rob literally worked out of his trailer,” Leiby said. “He had no shop for his car. He lost his car and all his tools and parts.”

The hospital released Wosyluk on Tuesday night. He will need to return to a burn center to treat his burns as they heal. His burned hands will prevent him from doing his job — operating heavy construction equipment.

To help his longtime family friend, Leiby started a GoFundMe page for Rob Wosyluk (

“He’ll need help with his medical bills first,” said Leiby. “The truck he lost helps him earn a living during the winter — he plows snow — and he will need another truck.”

Leiby said that Orange County Fair Speedway donated $5,000 to the cause. Others have supported the fundraising effort as well. He hopes to raise at least $10,000 on GoFundMe.

“Rob is like a second father to me,” Leiby said. “His son, Ryan, passed away last year, and racing is what helped him deal with that tragedy. It’s been an emotional year for him. We brought him to Grandview Speedway [in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania], and he had a big smile on his face — racing with Jimmy and me — it was great to see him happy. Now, this has happened.”

Rob Wosyluk (5w) races Jimmy Leiby (9L) in the sportsman class at Grandview Speedway.