Oswego SBS Racer Andrew Schartner Audio Interview – May 14, 2013
MAY 14, 2013 TOM BAKER
RaceChaser Online Managing Editor Tom Baker from The Tom Baker Show sat down with Oswego (NY) Speedway Small Block Supermodified racer Andrew Schartner of Charlotte, N.C. to discuss racing at the nationally known “fast 5/8 mile” oval and his season-to-date.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN! May 14, 2013 Andrew Schartner
Schartner, 23, has won several features in the SBS division at Oswego and has also been victorious on the dirt in the Mod-Lite class in the past, racing with Central New York’s ESDCA Club at tracks such as Fulton and Brewerton Speedways.
A graduate of UNC-Charlotte’s Mechanical Engineering program, Andrew is a Test Engineer for a brake manufacturer during the week and commutes from NASCAR Country to the shores of Lake Ontario to compete at Oswego on Saturday nights.
Andrew’s website is www.AndrewSchartner.com. You can follow him on Facebook (Andrew Schartner) or Twitter (JetRacer18)
Oswego Speedway’s website is www.oswegospeedway.com
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and start to put the gear on it starts to make sense again. By the time I put on gear and flip down the shield I remember exactly why. I can't imagine doing anything else. Nothing fires me up nearly as much as being in that car, hanging with friends, crew and importantly my dad. It’s been by far my worst season to date, but I can guarantee we will turn it around. See you Saturday at Oswego.
By JJ Andrews
---- I wonder if race fans realize how important racing at Oswego Speedway is to some of the drivers and crews. Andrew Schartner is an example of dedication to the division. Andrew lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he graduated from UNC and found a job as an engineer there. He has a girlfriend and a life in Charlotte, 768 miles away from Oswego Speedway. But what is this young man doing on 15 weekends in 2013, when many guys his age would be hanging at the beach in Charlotte, or checking out the NASCAR shops, or whatever 23 year-olds do? He’s flying north. 15 out of 52 weekends. To race at Oswego Speedway, in the Tom Aaserud owned Crow Motorsports #18.
---- I know the traveling and flying and racing sounds glamorous on the surface. But for you that have done much air travel, the novelty wears off after a few flights and delays. Just one coughing unsupervised kid or sloppy adult on an airplane can ruin your whole week. The airline industry is at its most inept, intrusive, and expensive level these days. “It’s usually over $400 for a round trip flight”, said Andrew’s Dad Karl Schartner.
---- To add insult to injury, Andrew has been having a very unlucky season this year, currently mired in 11th in points. For a team that contends for championships. Why? For the love of the sport. And the division. And Oswego Speedway. People jump through a lot of hoops to race at Oswego, and this is a prime example.
---- But Andrew is fortunate. He gets to race – and win - at the famed Oswego Speedway, something that hundreds of people in those grandstands every week can only dream of. When he’s old and gray, he’ll look back on these years and remember them fondly, and his (so far) 8 wins. He’ll forget about the bad nights. And he’s spending some great quality time with his father, Karl, as the two have done since Andrew was a little kid. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity like that?
---- When you see that 18 going around the track this weekend, give Andrew an extra clap or cheer. He probably got sneezed on in an airplane for it.
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Following last weekend’s bone-jarring collision with the outside confines of Oswego’s
fast five-eighths mile paved oval that left both car and driver reeling for days
afterward, Schartner was rewarded with his second consecutive ROC win. It was the
pilot of the No. 18’s eighth career win in the series, tying him with Chris Proud
for ninth on the division’s all-time win list.
"The car was not good on restarts at all, we were having a hard time getting going," said Schartner. "The car was great though in the long run and that is what we aim for. This has been a terrible year, we have had awful luck, and I think I am most happy for my crew. They are the ones that have to slave on this thing after the luck we've had. I definitely wanted to come back and defend my crown, but with the rain-out, I had to change my flights and now I'll be paying the credit card off until I'm collecting social security."
Chasing Schartner the entire distance, unable to beat the No. 18 to the first turn to grab the all-important early lead, was 15-year old rookie racer, Anthony Losurdo. With 12th place being his previous best feature finish, Losurdo’s second-place run was almost a win in itself for the young, Oswego native.
Schartner and Losurdo led the 25-car field to the green flag to begin the 50-lap main event. Schartner nabbed the point, but just as the field was completing its maiden lap, Dalton Doyle’s No. 01 tagged Jack Patrick’s No. 9 heading into the first turn. Patrick spun, but Doyle was able to roll on. However, track officials sent Doyle to the rear of the field on the ensuing restart.
With just one lap in the books, Schartner led Losurdo, Mike Bruce, Rob Pullen and Brian Sobus. Cameron Rowe, Tim Gareau, Russ Brown, JJ Andrews and Mike Bond completed the top 10. Jeremy Pitcher, Jason Simmons, Jon Tesoriero, Justin Connell and AJ Bernys filled out the top 15.
Schartner was solid on the restart, bringing Losurdo and Bruce with him on a gradual three-car breakaway. However, the caution lights would flash again on the 10th lap for Dan Abt’s spun No. 57.
Again, Schartner would not be challenged on the restart. A few positions back, Brown and Andrews bounced Gareau back to ninth. Two laps later, last week’s feature winner, Andrews, shot underneath Brown’s out of shape No. 13 to claim seventh. Though, Brown would retake the spot a few rounds later.
At the lap No. 20 mark. Schartner held a commanding 10-car advantage over Losurdo. Bruce and Sobus trailed runner-up Losurdo by an equal margin. Those margins were soon erased on the 22nd lap after Simmons lost an radiator hose coming out of the fourth turn.
Caught up in the mess behind Simmons, Gareau walloped the outside wall. Tesoriero and Heroth both piled into Gareau’s scene, leaving three badly damaged machines. Ironically, only Simmons was able to pit and return to action. Two former track champs (Gareau and Heroth) and last season’s Rookie of the Year (Tesoriero) exited the racing surface via the hook, unable to return.
While under caution, Bruce suddenly pulled his No. 22 pit-side with engine woes. The third-place runner would call it a night. After the top-10 shake-up, Schartner, Losurdo, Sobus, Pullen and Rowe controlled the top five spots. Brown, Andrews, Pitcher, Bond and Bernys ran sixth through 10th.
Returning from his early race spin, Patrick would make his way back into the top 10, passing Bernys. With track conditions less than optimal, this pass would end up being the final change of position among the top 10 finishers of the race.
At the lap No. 30 mark, Schartner and Losurdo continued to run one-two all alone out in front of the field. Further back, Pullen was working hard on Sobus for third, with Rowe, Brown and Andrews watching closely.
A glimmer of hope for the young rookie would come to light as the duo began to catch the rear of the field. Pesky lapped traffic would put a skip in Schartner’s rhythm, but only enough to all Losurdo a closer view. Once clearing the initial traffic, the caution flag would fly for Greg O’Connor’s No. 90.
The field would be bunched again, eliminating any of Schartner’s lapped traffic concerns. Another quick yellow two laps later would only delay the inevitable. Schartner would cruise the final few laps to collect the win.
Losurdo felt as though he had something for Schartner at race's end.
"He was getting a lot better restarts than us, but we were chasing him down a little bit," said Losrudo. "I just have to thank all my sponsors - Chris and Carlee Heagerty, my dad and mom, Stu (Fenske) for all the hard work he puts in and everyone that comes out to support us. I'm not that good on the restarts yet , that's something I really have to work on, but the car was good and I felt like we were just as fast or faster than Andrew but he was holding a good line and getting much better restarts than us.
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A season riddled with accidents and mechanical woes, Schartner and his No. 18 Crow Motorsports team persevered. He continued to make the weekly trek up from Charlotte, NC and his crew continued to log the countless hours that it takes to field a competitive racecar.
Andrew Schartner poses in victory lane at Oswego A prestigious victory during Race of Champions weekend in mid-July helped stop the bleeding, but Saturday night’s SBS Classic win helped make an otherwise sour season a seem a whole lot sweeter. Schartner took the lead on the opening lap and other than an early race hiccup in lapped traffic, led the entire 75-lap distance en route to his second Classic win.
The “hiccup” in traffic may have actually been to his benefit. After getting pinned behind two slower cars, Schartner lost the lead to JJ Andrews on a dandy inside move that put Andrews’ No. 93 out in front – but for only half a lap. Losing second to Mike Bond as well, Schartner would find himself back atop the field soon enough. The very same lapped traffic that had cost him the lead ended up spinning out in front of Andrews and Bond, taking the top two time-trialers out of contention.
Schartner would reassume the lead on the ensuing restart and successfully hold off multi-time race winner Russ Brown to earn the win.
“This is a big one,” Schartner said of his second SBS Classic victory. “Because it shows that we weren’t just a flash in the pan a few years ago. It shows that we were able to come back and do it again. This is big because people don’t realize how much time that my crew, especially my dad, puts into this. They put way more hours … especially this year, we’ve had four DNF’s … than they need to. And this is exciting because I get to see them excited and reap the benefits of it. It shows that we’re going to be back and that we’re going to be somebody to deal with (next year) after a little bit of a down year this year. And it shows that I’ve got the best crew in the world, right here.”
After time-trialing fifth, an inverted starting lineup put Schartner on the pole. A stutter step by outside front-row starter, Jason Simmons, paved the way for Schartner to take command early. Andrews, Simmons, Bond and Brian Sobus filled out the top five as the field completed its first lap.
Bond would slip underneath Simmons to take over third on lap No. 3. Simmons would keep pace with the front trio of Schartner, Andrews and Bond at first, but would soon fade. Two laps after Brown bested Sobus for fifth, the caution flag would fly for Zach Amo’s spun No. 44.
With 10 laps in the books, Schartner led Andrews, Bond, Simmons and Brown. Sobus, Jeremy Pitcher, Rob Pullen, Kreig Heroth and Jack Patrick completed the top 10. Schartner was solid on the restart, but just three laps into the run, Andy Noto spun alone in turn No. 2. Schartner held strong on the ensuing restart, but Andrews held close. By the 20th lap, the strong lead trio were closing in on the tail-end of the field. Just behind, Brown was working high and low on Simmons for fourth. Just as Schartner prepped to lap the slower cars of Greg O’Connor and Noto, Noto took advantage of the passing flag to pull to the outside of O’Connor. Caught up high behind the lapped traffic, Schartner could only watch as Andrews shot passed his left side and into the lead.
JJ Andrews (93), Mike Bond (74) and Andrew Schartner (18) all jam up behind Andy Noto’s spun No. 19
Andrews would press Noto into the first turn and as the leaders entered the second turn, Noto’s No. 19 came around, collecting the race leaders. Schartner slid to a stop, but Andrews and Bond were not as fortunate. Andrews limped his damaged No. 93 into the pits. He would return to finish 11th. He admitted making contact with Noto on the front straightaway, but had backed off before the No. 19 spun-out.
Bond caught some air time in his No. 74, suffering the heaviest damage. The race was over for the second fastest car in Friday’s time trials.
After catching a wheel from the No. 93, Bond rides atop Noto’s No. 19. Schartner was able to restart back in the lead. 23 laps into the race, Schartner would lead Simmons, Brown, Sobus and Pitcher back to green flag racing. Simmons had nothing for Schartner on the restart, as the front three eased away from Sobus and Pitcher. By the 30th lap, Schartner had put 10 lengths on Simmons and Brown. The Sobus-led pack trailed Brown by 20 lengths. Schartner pulling away only fed Brown’s assault on Simmons. The duo came together coming off turn No. 4 on the 34th lap, but both held on. Five laps later, Brown would use a sling-shot move off the same corner to finally take the runner-up spot away from Simmons. Brown’s pass came at just the right time, as the Sobus-led pack had just caught up to the duo. Brown would begin to pull away and chase down Schartner while Simmons would fall into the clutches of his chasers. Leading Brown by a full straightaway, Schartner began to catch the tail end of the field. However, before an opportunity for another turn of events could take shape, Amo spun his No. 44 alone off of turn No. 4. There would be no lapped traffic for Schartner, but his comfortable lead over Brown was erased. With 25 laps remaining, Schartner led Brown, Simmons, Sobus and Pitcher. Pullen, Heroth, Patrick, Anthony Losurdo and Dan Abt completed the top 10. Jon Tesoriero, Cameron Rowe, David LaTulip, Rob Humphries and Chris Proud filled out the top 15. Once again, Schartner was solid on the restart. Five laps into the run, he and Brown had put 10 lengths on the field. Among their chasers, Heroth’s No. 04 was just starting to find is beat. Passing Pullen, the defending track champion moved into sixth on the 56th lap. Two trips later, he dove under Pitcher’s No. 14 to bust into the top five. Sobus was next on his list, but a stalled AJ Bernys No. 24 machine brought out the caution flag. Schartner’s No. 18 continued to dominate on restarts. Again, the two would ease away from Simmons and Sobus. With the lap board ticking its way into the 60s, Heroth continued his late-race charge. Diving under Sobus, he took over fourth on the 61st lap. He would then chase Simmons for six trips before inching his way underneath to take over third. Heroth was finally ready for his an assault on the lead duo. However, while Heroth had been working over Sobus and Simmons, the two leaders had put a full straightaway on his No. 04. Heroth would need a caution flag quickly as only 8 laps remained. That caution would not come, nor would an opportunity for Brown to catch Schartner in lapped traffic. Brown’s No. 13 was too tight to mount a move on the race leader. Schartner would take the white flag with a half dozen lengths on Brown. Five-eighths of a mile later, he would take the checkered flag in the SBS Classic for the second time in his career. Brown would earn his 13th top-10 SBS Classic finish. It was the first time finishing in the runner-up spot for the farmer from Mannsville, NY.
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