Tim Swartz always told himself he was going to have a Late Model one day.
In 2021, he made it happen. Then, a year later, his dream went a step further after winning December’s Battle in Barberville at Volusia Speedway Park.
His path to that moment started when he was six weeks old, watching his uncle race Big Block Modifieds in Pennsylvania. Years later, he and his parents move to Florida in 2004, where his racing career started to take shape.
“I went to the track a lot growing up,” Swartz said. “We moved down (to Florida) in 2004. When I was 12 years old, a friend of mine had two go-karts and I wanted to buy one. Well, my mom said ‘You’re gonna have to buy it yourself.’ So, on a bicycle, with a lawnmower towed behind, I mowed lawns until I made enough to buy that go-kart. I raced it for about six months and then stopped racing.”
When Tim was 15 years old, he met Mikey Kopka, a classmate that also happened to race go-karts. Now, the two drivers race against each other regularly at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile”.
“I raced for (Mikey and his grandfather, Floyd Miner) for maybe four or five years. I won a lot of races with them, and a couple of track championships too. I was winning so much, there was a bounty put on me to see if anyone could defeat me. Nobody got the bounty.”
After that, Swartz pumped the brakes for a while on racing. He felt the itch but waited until the time was right. That time did come.
“Racing has always been in my blood,” Swartz said. “As I got older, I bought another go-kart, raced for eight months, then stopped again (until the Late Model came along). I started a business (TB Outdoors LLC), had children, and told my wife ‘I want to get back into racing.’ I always told myself I was gonna have a Late Model one day, and that’s what we did.”
In 2021, Swartz bought a Capital Racecars chassis and began his Volusia Speedway Park career at that September’s Labor Day Classic. It took time for Swartz to get the car figured out to what he liked, but he knew that he could be a force to be reckoned with once he had it down.
“Slow down and go faster,” Swartz said. “Not being so aggressive, and being able to step back a little bit and work your way through. My growing pains were really trying to figure out the whole dynamic of the car and how they move around because I kept feeling like spinning out. When I got the feel for the car, I wasn’t spinning out. The car was doing what it is supposed to. Overcoming the dynamic of the race car was really what I had to master.”
Winning was something any racer wants to do. When Tim won the Battle In Barberville, it reassured his path to success at Volusia, and currently co-leads the points standings in the 602 Late Models.
“Winning the (Battle In Barberville) definitely built up my confidence,” Swartz said. “I always told myself I can (go on the track and win), but it was more a matter of how long it was going to take. Did I expect it to be in my first full season? Absolutely not. Though it’s not a lot to brag about leading the points right now, the top-three finishes in both (602 Late Model) Features in 2023 says a lot. I used to be the guy in the back, called a squirrel, but I’m not that guy anymore. Being upfront and competitive week in and week out, at any track I go to, has made my confidence go through the roof. Hopefully, I can get back to victory lane a couple more times this year.”
At the end of the day, Tim is a family man with five kids and a wife he has been able to share his passion to. As his kids begin to grow and take part in racing by helping him work on the car, or even racing JuiceBox division go-karts at the Volusia Kart Track.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Swartz said. “Just having my kids here with me means the most. They come out to the shop and work on the cars with me, Chase (Tim’s son) is getting into the racing with the JuiceBox, and he’ll be in a go-kart next year. Who knows, maybe he’ll be racing the Late Model and I’ll have to get out of it. I want it to be a family sport, and it keeps us all very very close.”
Tim also credits his sponsors and family in his racing endeavors, with A+ Medical Billing, Toucan Fern and Pest Control, Outdoors Exscape, Morgan Speed Solutions, Joe Miller’s Mulch, DJS Auto Sales, and Action Graphix riding along his #31 Dirt Late Model.
See Tim and all the stars of Volusia Speedway Park throughout 2023, with the July 29 running of the Summer Sizzler marking the end of the summer break for “The World’s Fastest Half Mile”.
Can’t make it to the track? Watch all the action live on DIRTVision – through your mobile phone or computer.
About Volusia Speedway Park
Volusia Speedway Park, The World’s Fastest Half Mile, is a 0.5-mile dirt track located in DeLeon Springs, Florida. VSP is home to the most prestigious dirt racing events, such as the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout, Sunshine Nationals, and the Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial. The track hosts weekly races year-round with divisions of Dirt Late Models, Modifieds & Stock Cars. The track also hosts dirt-karting races at the facility. For more information, visit VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com.