Racing A Family Affair For Carl Bowser and Kristin Swartzlander
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Its often been said the community of racing is a big family and that is quite evident when you talk to Sprint Car driver Carl Bowser and his wife Kristin Swartzlander.
Bowser remembers his first trip to Lernerville Speedway in Sarver and it was not long after that he caught the racing “bug”.
“I kind of first got the bug probably a lot later in life than most guys,” Bowser told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “I didn’t do the go-kart deal, my first experience with racing was going to Lernerville and watching. I was probably 12 or 13 (years old) when I started going to Lernerville as a kid watching.”
Swartzlander comes from a racing family and spent countless hours surrounded by racing.
“I was raised in it,” Swartzlander told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “My generation is the fourth generation. My Great Grandfather Neil raced. My Grandfather Melvin raced and my Uncle Brian obviously still races in the Big Block Modified division. My parents have a machine shop that they’ve had since I was about six-years-old, so I grew up in that environment.”
The environment sparked a curiosity in Swartzlander.
“I really liked seeing how things were made and seeing how things work and Brian’s shop has always been housed up there so I got to really see how the mechanics of everything worked,” said Swartzlander. “In 2004, I think I was 18, my family both a speed shop so we got a lot more involved. We started selling parts out of the store and I started doing trackside service and really getting involved on that level and that’s how Carl and I met.”
“My first experience was working on race cars,” said Bowser. “I actually worked on Ralph Spithaler’s 410-sprint car at Lernerville so that was kind of what got me hooked was watching them and working on them.”
Bowser then hopped in a micro-sprint and found success pretty quickly.
“I think I won 9-races that first season and it was kind of like ‘alright what’s next?’,” said Bowser. “What’s next was a 410-car and that’s where we started there in 2005 running 410-winged cars. We just kind of started running Lernerville and that’s really all, and until 2009-2010 that’s all we did.”
While Bowser was getting experience behind the wheel, Swartzlander went to school.
“I went to Columbia to get my engineering degree thinking I would work on race cars,” said Swartzlander. “But I got really involved in marketing while I was at Columbia so I went in that direction.”
Swartzlander’s marketing path took her to stints with the Arena Football League and to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and eventually back to Pittsburgh.
“When I moved back to Pittsburgh and Carl and I started dating, we saw the same opportunity that we’re seeing right now in racing, where there’s just a wide-open playing field for people who want to do marketing well.”
“I started dating Kristin in 2010 and being around her family kind of really encouraged me to take the next step and race more,” said Bowser. “I only ran whatever Lernerville raced, that was pretty much it for the first five years of racing, so it was 15-18 races-a-year so it wasn’t until 2010 when I started taking it more seriously. It was purely a one-night-a-week thing when I started. A lot of people don’t know but her Dad was a big supporter of mine long before we were even together, helping me with parts and working on the car and just kind of teaching me.”
Taking the next step involved some a combination of the pairs strengths.
“We got together and it was ‘we can turn this into a business’ and she had a lot of ideas,” said Bowser.
“If he could race more and if we could apply some of the things that I’ve learned in professional sports to his team, that would make a good match so we started applying some of those things,” said Swartzlander.
Bowser said the additional seat time and approach has paid dividends.
“Since Kristin and I have been together and she’s kind of really shown me how to run racing like a business, we’ve won 35-races, which is a lot,” said Bowser. “I think I have 40-career wins.”
2019 was a frustrating season for Bowser on the track, blowing a motor early in the season and losing a car around the mid-point. Bowser felt like they finally hit their stride late in the year.
2020 will see the pair putting their driving and marketing skills on a schedule of local, regional and national events.
To hear the complete Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast featuring Carl and Kristin click here.
Macri Masters BAPS
NEWBERRYTOWN, PA (March 26, 2023): Anthony Macri scored his first victory of the 2023 campaign. During the second caution period on lap twenty-five, race officials decided to shorten the race due to the excessive tire wear observed on several of the few remaining participants. So the field went to a green-white-checker finish. Taking the honors in the companion 358 Sprint Car division was Derek Locke.
“I was more worried about running out of fuel than the tire,” Macri confided. He explained that his crew only added five gallons of fuel when they had the opportunity, and that the crew told him the tire was good enough to go the distance.
Her added, “I wanted to win fair and square, and when you knock laps off, it’s not fair.”
Macri made his winning move driving under Danny Dietrich in turns one and two on lap eighteen. “I knew the rubber was there, I just wanted to stay as straight as I could,” he explained. Once he was in the lead, Macri had to scale back his aggressiveness and concentrate on keeping the car straight to conserve the tires.
Danny Dietrich pulled the pole for the race that was originally set for thirty laps. Kyle Moody was on his flank. Macri and Billy Dietrich were right behind them. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Gerard McIntyre were in row three. Chad Trout and Bradley Howard were paired in row four. The fifth row consisted of Austin Bishop and Mark Smith. Tyler Ross and Lucas Wolfe were the unlucky ones in the re-draw for the first three finishers from each of the four heat races.
Double D and Moody traded sliders but their spectacular display went for naught, as Justin Peck stopped on the outside of turn four. On the second try, Danny Dietrich assumed commence and Moody was in no position to mount any counterattack. Following them were Macri, Billy Dietrich, McIntyre, Rahmer, Smith, Howard, Trout, and Bishop.
Danny Dietrich set a quick pace. Macri moved into second, but he was several car lengths in arrears. Moody held down third, with Billy Dietrich keeping Rahmer at bay. Macri moved to the outside and he began to whittle away at Dietrich’s lead as the leader had to navigate through some back markers.
Dietrich moved off the bottom to set up a lapped car for a pass to the outside. That left the inside line open for Macri who maneuvered past both cars in turns one and two.
Soon after Macri took over, a caution came out for Dylan Norris stopping outside turn two.
On the restart, Rahmer faltered and he lost several positions entering turn one. The field was thundering into the corner, and things got congested very quickly. A couple of cars went around, and Troy Wagaman, Jr. tipped over in the process. Other cars involved were Trout, Ross, and Michael Mallard.
During the red flag, Danny Dietrich headed pitside and did not return. That put Moody into second for the restart, with Billy Dietrich, Rahmer, Smith, Kyle Reinhardt, McIntyre, Howard, Bishop, and Devon Borden following.
Cautions on laps twenty-one and twenty-three, and two on lap twenty-five disrupted the flow. Officials declared a fuel stop on one of the lap twenty-five stoppages. During the second, they opted to shorten the race, as only ten cars remained on the track and several of them had visible signs of heavy tire wear.
There was one last caution on the white flag lap.
Macri completed the race, with Moody, Rahmer, Jeff Halligan, and Reinhardt making the top five. Borden, Wolfe, Norris, Tyler Esh, and Peck were scored in positions six through ten.
The four heat wins went to Bishop, Rahmer, Wolfe, and Moody. Wagaman was the B Main winner. Thirty-two 410 Sprints were registered, with ten using the new design Hoosier tires. The others remained on the older style rubber.
In the 358 Sprint nightcap, Derek Locke led wire to wire for his first tally of the season. Steve Owings made a bid for the lead with about five laps remaining, but Locke held him off. A single file restart with two to go ensured that Lock had a comfortable margin at the checkers.
Taking third was Kyle Spence, ahead of Chris Frank and Brett Strickler. Wyatt Hinkle, Kyle Keen, Cody Fletcher, and Doug Hammaker rounded out the top ten.
Heat winners were Frank, Hammaker (from tenth), and Owings. Kody Hartlaub took the B Main.
The next 410 Sprint Car show will be on April 16, with 602 Crate Sportsmen and Wingless Sportsmen providing support. Regular racing with the Winged Super Sportsmen as the headliners will be held on April 1, 8, and 15.
Dietz Does It
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (March 25, 2023): Chase Dietz recovered from an inauspicious start to his night at the Lincoln Speedway by leading all thirty laps of the 410 Sprint Car A Main. The $4,000 victory was the first since he returned to his own equipment for the 2023 season. Also scoring was Tanner Jones in the debut for teh Central PA Legends Cars.
“I’m still pissed that I spun in hot laps,” Dietz said. He recovered nicely in his heat race, though, winning in dominant fashion. In the feature event, he weathered six tries to get the race going. Although he was credited with leading the entire distance, Dietz benefited from a caution on lap eight, when he lost the lead briefly to Zane Rudisill in traffic. Rudisill could not get back around to the scoring loop before the caution was displayed, so Dietz was restored to the point for the restart.
Dietz was able to retain his advantage throughout the remainder of the race despite losing his brakes. “It was a long race in general,” he noted. “I lost my brakes, I was trying not to use them in traffic, I was just holding on.” He added that he tried to stay on the bottom, but he admitted to making some mistakes along the way.
Dietz was handicapped to the pole for teh start of the event, with Rudisill next to him. Cole Young and Lucas Wolfe were in row two. The third row belonged to Aaron Bollinger and Tyler Ross. Then came Tim Wagaman and Kyle Moody. The fifth row paired Dylan Norris and Justin Peck. Devon Borden and Cameron Smith were slated for row six. High point men Danny Dietrich and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. were buried deep in the pack after lackluster heat race finishes.
Four cautions, two reds, and a fuel stop delayed the start of the thirty lapper. No racers were injured in the incidents, which included solo flips by Bollinger and Young. Eight cars were eliminated from the action before a single lap was scored, though. Track officials opted for a single file start, which worked like a charm.
Dietz took the early advantage, but Rudisill remained close. Wolfe settled into third, followed by Ross, Moody, Peck, Norris, Smith, Anthony Macri, and Brandon Rahmer. Dietz and Rudisill drew away from Wolfe, who was hounded by Ross and Peck through the first segment of the race.
The caution on lap eight put Dietz back in the lead, which he resumed under green flag conditions. Surprisingly, the green remained out for the rest of the race.
At the halfway mark, Dietz and Rudisill again had a substantial lead over Wolfe. Peck was up to fourth, followed by Ross, Norris, Moody, Smith, Macri, and Brandon Rahmer.
Peck went to work on Wolfe, and he finally took over third with twenty-four laps down. Macri surrendered his top ten spot during that stint.
The final laps were uneventful for those in the top positions. Matt Campbell made some headway, though, racing into the back half of the top ten before the checkers came out.
Following Dietz and Rudisill was a fast closing Peck. Then came Wolfe and Ross to complete the top five. Norris, Moody, Smith, Campbell, and Brandon Rahmer rounded out the top ten.
Heat wins were scored by Rudisill, Dietz, and Wolfe. There was no B Main, as all twenty-five entrants started the race.
Tanner Jones came from seventh to earn the win in the nightcap for the Central PA Legends. Seth Kearchner, Stephen Wurtzer, Lincoln Kearchner, and Travis Perry completed the top five.
The next five finishers were Chris Transeau, Rick Hartwig, Colton Fries, Jeremy Ott, and Justin Wagaman. Fries was the hard charger, passing seventeen cars in the contest.
Jones, Wurtzer, Transeau, and Logan Carbaugh triumphed in the heats, The B Main went to Bill Diehl.
Next weekend, on April 1, Lincoln Speedway will present its first Sprint Car double header of the season. The 358 Sprints will make their first start of the year, while the 410 Sprints will take the sixth green flag of the season. The same program will be presented on April 8 and 15. April 22 will have the Central PA Legends Cars back on the card with the 410 Sprints. The month of April will close out with 410 and 358 Sprints joined by the Penn-Mar Vintage Modifieds.
Rico Races to Outlaws Win
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (March 18, 2023): Rico Abreu made his 2023 Sprint Car debut a triumphant one, scoring his second career win at the Fabulous Lincoln Speedway. This one was especially memorable for the diminutive California hotshoe, as it came against the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
“I have never been in Pennsylvania in March, he noted. He added that he was worried about the weather, as he observed snow along the side of the road coming across the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But his crew chief, Ricky Warner, cut his teeth in the midstate area before going on to great success for many years with the touring series.
Abreu was thankful for the efforts of Warner and the rest of his crew. “I’ really thankful, thankful for my guys. They worked so hard on this thing.” Abreu went on to explain that Warner was able to adapt to the new Hoosier tires which were rolled out for this event. “New tires. I didn’t know that until we rolled through the gate tonight.” Abreu added that he was patient, knowing that Warner would have his car set up for the end of the race, after the fuel load burned off.
Still, Abreu had a close call during the race. Freddy Rahmer, Jr. was challenging Brad Sweet for the lead with eight laps down. The two made contact and Rahmer spun between turns one and two. Abreu, who was running in fourth at the time, clipped Rahmer as he went by. “I thought that my tire was going down, or that I knocked the (Jacobs) ladder out of it,” he commented. But whatever damage there was to Abreu’s car was minor, for his car got better as the race went on.
By winning the dash, four time and defending Outlaws champion Brad Sweet had the pole and two-time Lincoln winner Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was beside him. Abreu and Devon Borden lined up in row two. Logan Schuchart and David Gravel lined up in the third row. Danny Dietrich and Spencer Bayston were the final dash participants, starting in row four. Then came Carson Macedo and Buddy Kofoid, followed by Matt Campbell and Justin Peck.
Sweet powered off turn four with a slight advantage over Rahmer heading to the green flag. Abreu fell into third ahead of Borden, Gravel, Bayston, Schuchart, Dietrich, Macedo, and Kofoid. Things stayed the same through the early laps, with the exception of Peck slipping ahead of Kofoid for the tenth position.
Sweet caught the rear of the field by lap seven. While he dealt with the slower cars, Rahmer closed in. Rahmer was ready to make a move to the front when misfortune struck. Not only did the spin take him out of contention, but his crew was unable to make repairs to get him back into the fray.
Rahmer’s miscue benefited Borden, who had moved ahead of Abreu just before the caution. Borden took up the chase of Sweet, but he was unable to make any headway. Gravel was now up to third, while Abreu raced along ahead of Schuchart and Dietrich.
Another brief caution, on lap twelve, for a spin by Dylan Norris gave Borden another shot at the leader. This time, he stayed closer to Sweet. Abreu moved back into third, and Macedo picked his way into the top five.
The green flag remained out for the next twenty-three laps. About halfway through that long run, Borden made his move. He did briefly nose ahead of Sweet in between turns one and two, but he could not hold the position. Sweet scooted back into the lead, and Abreu moved into second.
Sweet moved up the track, leaving the inside line open for Abreu. On lap twenty-three, Abreu went low into turn one, pulling up beside Sweet. They raced wheel to wheel through turn two. Abreu got a slight advantage coming off that corner and he pulled ahead as they raced toward turn three. Abreu pulled away coming off turn four.
Sweet held onto second the rest of the way. Borden maintained third. Macedo crossed in fourth, good enough to take the bonus money offered for a handful of early season races scheduled for Florida and Pennsylvania. Fifth went to Peck. Dietrich, Schuchart, Giovanni Scelzi, Brent Marks, and Gravel rounded out the top ten.
Heat wins went to Gravel, Dietrich, Rahmer, and Sweet. Troy Wagaman, Jr, captured the C Main, and Scelzi won the B. Provisional starting spots were granted to James McFadden, Sheldo.n Haudenschild, Kyle Moody, Donny Schatz, Casey Kahne, and Brock Zearfoss. Ryan Timms was unhurt in the only flip of the night
Lincoln Speedway will be back in action next Saturday, March with 410 Sprints and Central PA Legends, with a 6 p.m. start. Sprint Car doubleheaders, 410 and 358 style, will be held on April 1, 8, and 15, also with 6 p.m. starts.