Most times when I start off these articles, I talk about the driver’s past racing accomplishments. However, I want to start off this one differently and special.
Rich Swartzenburg is a mini stock competitor in Ontario, though also a very inspiring person. Last year, the Philippines was struck by a major typhoon that left many families in rough shape. Last fall, Rich Swartzenburg sought out donations from people across Ontario – from big donations to even the smallest. With everyone donations put together, Swartzenburg traveled to the Philippines in December and January and delivered food and toys to the families to therefore help them in rebuilding their lives, while enjoying the Christmas holiday.
I’ve known Rich for awhile, simply through the racing community, and watching the donations be collected and then seeing the photos of when they were delivered, tears easily came to my eyes. I can say without a doubt that Swartzenburg has a lot of heart and is an inspiration for lots of people in what he did.
Now focusing on track, Swartzenburg put in a lot of work through the off-season rebuilding a mustang racecar that he will race this season on a part-time basis, running tracks all across Canada. He made his first official start of the season this past weekend at Sauble Speedway.
Before kicking his season off, Swartzenburg tackled the 15 questions that have become the known questions by all drivers now.
1. How’d you get started in racing?
I followed in my brother’s foot steps; he was 13 at the time and I was 31. Been around racing all my life and my Dad had a car back in 90’s at Flamboro.
2. First racing memory:
Going three-wide in the first corner of my first race after I told the crew chief I was going to take it easy
3. If you could be sponsored by any beverage, which would you want to be sponsored by?
Chocolate Milk – love that stuff, or NOS but taking a energy drink detox as of late
4. Story behind your car number:
72 is the number of the greatest short track driver Canada ever produced – Jr. Hanley. I loved watching the 72 put a whopping on everyone when I was kid. To me, he was bigger than Earnhardt or Waltrip
5. If you have a nickname, what is it and why? If not, what do you think should be a good nickname?
Got a couple. My one from the cruise ships was Rooster cause I used to call my friends the chickens! Kind fits the car this year
6. If you could race against any NASCAR driver, who and why?
Danica Patrick cause even if I lost it is still a win!
7. What’s your life like outside of racing? Hobbies?
Traveling – working on country 65 later this year! Goal is to visit 100 countries; love seeing different cultures and learning about different ways of life.
8. If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
According to the guys in the shop they refer to me as a monkey from time to time!
9. Favourite pizza topping:
10. Dream vacation spot?
Of the places I have been Hawaii is my favorite and the Philippines is like a second home to me but Fiji, Vietnam and Egypt are high on my bucket list!
11. If you were stuck on an island, what would you have to have?
12. Favourite book:
My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
13. Favourite movie:
Pay it Forward, Fight Club or The Beach
14. Favourite piece of technology:
15. Sponsors/people you’d like to thank.
Spira Racing, Dave Mast, Mark Dennis, Ken & Carol Spira, Randy & Sam Shaw, Wayne Nero, Paint by Rob Mackay, the Watson’s, Aberfoyle Snowmobile, Linda Olson from Royal Lepage, JAS Custom Stone, Hope and the City Guelph, Guelph Wish Fund for Children, Engines From Hal, Mom, Dad, Scott Simmons, my little brother Billy Schwartzenburg and my number 1 fan Audrey Mast!
Previous Tracking the Short Tracks Pieces…
April 30th: Sunset Speedway Mini Stock Competitor Brian Love
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