Despite taking several years off from on-track competition, the Bartlett family has been involved in racing at the Oswego Speedway since almost the very beginning. They first spent their Saturday nights in the grandstands, but it wasn’t long before a grand total of six members of the family saw action around the Big O.
Terry Bartlett, Travis’s father and Russ’s brother, drove Supermodifieds both at the Oswego Speedway and on the ISMA Supermodified trail on a regular basis between the years of 1987 and 1994.
When Terry retired, he was succeeded by Russ, who began competing with a Small Block Supermodified back in 1996.
Soon after Russ came Tim, Jeff, and Jamie Bartlett who all saw action in Small Block Supermodifieds division as well.
The most recent family member to join the Bartlett conglomerate was Travis, who raced a Supermodified from 2005 to 2007. He added rookie of the year honors to his reputation in ‘06 driving the Coon-France Motorsports No. 03.
Since then, at least until last year, none of the Bartlett's were to be found in the pit area at Oswego, but they did keep themselves in the loop by frequently attending events in the grandstands.
At the beginning of the 2018 season, the family decided it was time to consider getting back into racing and where they were going to do so, according to Travis, was not a very difficult decision to make.
“We considered a variety of different divisions, but ultimately decided that there’s no place we’d rather race than Oswego Speedway,” Bartlett said. “We have essentially grown up at the speedway and have a tremendous amount of respect for the history of the speedway and Supermodifieds. Some of the most talented, dedicated, and passionate people we’ve met are the people who make weekly racing at Oswego possible. From the owners, drivers, crew members, chassis builders, officials, sponsors, and fans, it’s a special place and a privilege for us to be a part of that community."
A Supermodified driver for three straight seasons, Bartlett says he would love to get back into a big block car at some point in the future, but for now hopes to continue to support the Small Block Super class which his family fell in love with several years earlier.
"Over the years we've taken a lot of pride in Oswego Speedway as the home of the Supermodifieds. We've traditionally been purists, and would love to one day get back into Supermodifieds but with our resources of time and finances it just isn't feasible right now for us to field a competitive Supermodified program," Bartlett explained. "We've been impressed with the caliber of racing in the SBS division, and over the years we've had a lot of fun within the family competing in that division. Looking back, the creation of the division has been very successful for the speedway. A lot of drivers who have had successful careers and become regulars in the Supermodifieds likely wouldn't be there without the SBS division. We're proud to support it and want to see it remain a viable class in the future."
Bartlett says he originally had his sights set on 2019, intending to buy a roller and later get a crate motor for the upcoming season, but instead the right deal came along on a race ready car so the team decided to prepare for the 2018 Bud Light SBS Classic 75.
Just in time for the end of the season, Bartlett purchased the former Bowman Racing No. 12 machine and tabbed his uncle Russ as the driver.
After several years out of the seat, Russ got up to speed with the renumbered orange and black No. 62 machine in rather quick order.
Russ was given the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger award for his drive through the field in the Bud Light Classic 75, and followed that effort up with a sixth place finish in the Lighthouse Lanes SBS Series Fall Brawl 50 at the Evans Mills Speedway.
In addition to purchasing the car for Russ, Travis struck a deal on a second car following Classic Weekend at Oswego, purchasing the No. 91 from longtime division regular Barry Kingsley.
Instead of Kingsley, it was Bartlett who got behind the wheel of the car at Evans Mills, and he settled in quite comfortably bringing home a tenth place finish in the Fall Brawl.
With two crate engines and two race cars at their disposal, Bartlett Racing looks forward to a full-time effort at the Steel Palace in 2019.
“Our plan is to field both cars weekly for this season,” Bartlett said. “I will be in the No. 03 and Russ will drive the No. 02. We are also considering putting a third car together. That may happen during the 2019 season or in the following year.”
As for Russ, the last time he saw competition at the speedway prior to last year was the 2004 season. He is a former SBS feature winner at the Spencer Speedway, and has a pair of top five finishes to his credit at Oswego, but never a win.
“I’m looking forward to driving the Travis Bartlett owned No. 02 at Oswego on a weekly basis this season,” Russ said. “We’re excited to get back racing with all of our sponsors, including our newest partner Housekeeping Solutions. I’ll be in the same car as last year, but we’re just changing up the numbers and colors a little bit. It should be a great season.”
Bartlett says the team has several goals for the 2019 season, but their biggest is to simply have fun and support the race track moving forward.
“We just want to support the division and the speedway and hopefully be an asset to the racing community,” Bartlett stated. “We hope to build our program for the future, be competitive on a regular basis, and most importantly have fun. We’re optimistic about the direction the track is heading in, and we’re looking to support that vision where we can.”
As Russ mentioned, Bartlett Racing already has several sponsors onboard for the upcoming season including Anopolate, Housekeeping Solutions, Miller Machine and Mechanical, and Shorty’s Pub and Grub.
“We’d like to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who helped along the way including Dennis Richmond, Kelly Miller, Barry Kingsley, Doug Reaume, Brian Dunsmore, Dennis Mallett, and Mike Bartlett,” he added.
Oswego Speedway’s 69th season of racing is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 25 with Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50 features for the Novelis Supermodifieds plus full programs for the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers and the 350 Supermodifieds.
An Open Practice session for all 2019 divisions will commence one week earlier on Saturday, May 18.
Those wishing to renew Classic or season ticket packages have until Saturday, May 1 to contact Paul Conzone at [email protected]
For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.