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Racing A Family Affair For Carl Bowser and Kristin Swartzlander

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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.

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“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.

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IndyCar

The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast – Episode 007

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – This week on The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast, we talk with W Series and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires driver Sabré Cook, who is also an engineer.  We also talk with 3-time Lernerville 410-Sprint Car division Champion A.J. Flick.  Sit back, relax and enjoy!

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IndyCar

Racing Notebook – Thursday, March 19: F1 Postpones Monaco; WoO Postpones Races and more

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Formula 1

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Formula One and the World of Outlaws are the latest sanctioning bodies to postpone races because of the coronavirus outbreak.  The RUSH Sprint Car Series gets a new points fund sponsor and “Super Tex” taking care of his employees during a difficult time.

Formula One Postpones Monaco Grand Prix:

  • Formula One has postponed three additional races because of the coronavirus pandemic including the Monaco Grand Prix.  Also postponed were the Dutch and Spanish GP’s.  The first seven races of the F1 season have now been postponed. The next race on the calendar is in Azerbaijan on June 7.  F1 has moved the mid-season break from August to March and April and has extended the break from 14 to 21 consecutive days. The F1 season is scheduled to end with the Abu Dhabi GP on Nov. 29, but could be extended to fit in some of the postponed races.
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World of Outlaws Postpones Races:

  • The World of Outlaws has postponed all NOS Energy Sprint Car and Morton Building Late Model races through March. The sanctioning body hopes to reschedule the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series races originally planned for Friday, March 27th at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN and Saturday, March 28th at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. The World of Outlaws will continue to monitor developments across our nation and make decisions on future events when appropriate.

A.J. Foyt Racing To Pay Employees During COVID-19 Shutdown:

  • A.J. Foyt Racing is continuing to pay their employees despite temporarily shutting down their race shops in Texas and Indianapolis due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Our biggest concern is for the health of our communities and our employees, so we are closing the race shops for the time being,” said Larry Foyt, president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Inc. “I want to thank our partners and sponsors for their support and understanding during these extraordinary times. Many people will face some difficult challenges in the coming days. A.J. and I wish everyone the best, and we look forward to going racing again when the time is right.”

The RUSH Sprint Car Series Gets A New Points Fund Sponsor:

  • The RUSH Racing Series announced that Equipment Rental Options are stepping up to be the sponsor of the RUSH Sprint Car Series weekly championship points fund, replacing original points fund sponsor Bonnell’s Rod Shop.  The RUSH Sprint Car Series opens their 2020 season May 2 at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.  Read our complete story here.
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Equipment Rental Options To Sponsor RUSH Sprint Car Weekly Championship Point Fund

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PULASKI, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The RUSH Racing Series has announced the Equipment Rental Options has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Weekly Championship Points Fund for the RUSH Sprint Car Series.

The 2020 Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series Championship will feature 30 RUSH Sprint Car events concluding with the “Steel City Stampede” at Lernerville Speedway on October 17.

Equipment Rental Options is co-owned by current RUSH Sprint Car racer, Arnie Kent.  Kent, who got his start in Micro Sprints before moving up the Sprint Car ladder, won the division’s first ever race in 2018 at Lernerville.

“We’re very thankful Arnie has stepped up with his Equipment Rental Options so we can maintain the lucrative point fund,” said Vicki Emig, RUSH Racing Series Director.  “Arnie has been a longtime friend of both Mike (Leone, RUSH Director) and myself as well as many of our racers, and we’re really looking forward to being able to promote his growing business!”

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Equipment Rental Options currently has two locations in western Pennsylvania; one in Hermitage and another in New Castle; Equipment Rental Options will be moving into a larger facility at 3587 Clover Lane just off Wilmington Road (Route 18) in New Castle this summer.

Bonnell’s Rod Shop had been the presenting sponsor of the Weekly Series Championship during the first two years of the division’s inception. In fact, their sponsorship allowed the point fund to grow to more than $20,000 after the program was originally announced back in 2017.

“We have to thank Scott Bonnell for his unwavering support of the RUSH Sprint Cars,” said Emig. “Scott was behind the concept from day one, had a car in the Series, and offered financial support to grow the point fund without us even approaching him. We know he will remain a strong proponent of the Series.”

The RUSH Sprint Car Series Season Opener is scheduled for May 2 at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.

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