Kevin Kaserman’s Living His Dream Behind The Wheel Of A Rush Racing Series Sprint Car

Story By: DOUG KENNEDY / RUSH RACING SERIES – PULASKI, PA – You might figure that somebody who stayed away from racing for 16 years would never regain the interest in the sport again; not so for Kevin Kaserman, who was a 41-year-old raw rookie in the RUSH Sprint Car Series in 2021.

Kaserman, who works in medical support at the VA hospital in Ravenna, Ohio, drove the blue #13 to a 13th place in the Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series standings and recorded his best finish of 11th at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway on July 24.

“I lost interest in racing at the age of 14 and didn’t regain it back until I was 30,” revealed Kaserman, who resides in Middlefield, Ohio located about 40 miles east of Cleveland. “My family and I used to go to the races at Wayne County and Midvale Speedways all the time. Then around the age of 14, I started getting into golf and other things and just forgot about racing. I also lost interest because of the time you needed to spend and the finances involved.”

However, it was a race at Wayne County some 10 years ago that rekindled Kaserman’s interest in racing. “When I heard the ‘410’ Sprints hot lapping, I was hooked once again,” said Kaserman. “Now a decade later, I’m finally living out my dream.”

And it’s the RUSH Sprint Cars that Kaserman really likes. “RUSH is a great way to be involved in Sprint Car racing,” said Kaserman. “There’s no way I could get into a ‘410’ financially. I actually began watching the Series when it began back in 2018. I like that the RUSH Series because it’s so cost-effective. I don’t know much about engines so having a sealed engine package seemed to be the best way to go.”

Kaserman was actually planning on racing a Street Stock, but when he thought about that, here he was at the age of 40 and always wanting to race a Sprint Car, so that made his decision pretty easy. “I love the speed and the sound,” Kaserman said. “It also seems like an easier car to work on because everything is right there. You don’t have to pull off the body. It just seems simpler to me.”

“I’ve raced a total of 14 races in my life,” said Kaserman, whose race team is called Gizzmo Kaserman Racing. (Gizzmo is the Kaserman’s pug). With the exception of a few sponsors, Kevin finances his race team entirely on his own. “The thing I like is how everyone gets along so well and there’s no drama.”

This is his first season behind the wheel of any type of racecar. And as Kaserman said, “It’s certainly been an up and down one for me. I try to run with the big dogs, but after a short period of time, I start to fall back and then I get lapped. I ask myself why are they faster? What are their techniques?”

Besides watching races on YouTube, he also gets behind drivers on the track to see what they are doing. “To me, it’s consistency on the racetrack,” Kaserman says. “It seems like I do something different every time I go into a turn. My goal is to be less inconsistent and at least run mid-pack.”

Kaserman’s racing career began this past year when he purchased a RUSH Sprint Car owned by fellow competitor, Brian Hartzell. ”I bought the car for $13,000 and financed it by cashing in my 401K. It wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Brian is my go to guy. I end up asking him a lot of questions.”

He also admits that it hurts him that he doesn’t have better knowledge of the racecar. “But now, I’m starting to do some little things like general maintenance of the car. It’s like slowly climbing a hill. I’m learning my way by utilizing what other drivers are doing. I not only want to get to know the other drivers but gain as much knowledge about the car as I can.”

Other competitors who help Kaserman a lot are Ricky Tucker and 16-year-old Brian Cressley, who won the “Futures Cup” in 2021. “Brian is 16 and I’m 41 and I’m getting advice from him.” But for Kaserman, it’s everybody in the Series that will lend a helping hand and offer advice.

Kevin’s family also includes his older brother Randy, his father Rick, and his mother Sue. Rick is there with Kevin on race day serving as the crew chief and doing whatever else needs to be done. He also bought the trailer to transport the race car and pays for the pit passes and fuel to get to the track. “I don’t know a lot about racing, but I do know about good people,” said Rick. That’s why Rick feels there’s not a better division in existence.

“It’s important for me to be there,” continued Rick. “I always worry a little bit when he (Kevin) gets into the car. I’m always tugging on the straps and belts to make sure they are tight enough. My most relaxing moment is getting the car loaded and then heading home. We will talk on the way home and that’s quality time for us.”

Sue meanwhile has been confined to a wheelchair and walker for a large portion of her life. She is afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis for the last three decades or so. But that certainly doesn’t stop her from being at the racetrack to cheer on her son.

“I like to go and watch him,” said Sue. “When I’m watching him race, especially when they are sliding around the track or getting too close to the wall, that’s what makes me nervous.”

“We have the wheelchair and the chair lift for her,” explained Rick. “We keep her going. The worst thing is not to keep her active. Kevin always wants his mom at the track. That’s why I like the drivers in the RUSH Sprint Cars; they are all considerate of Sue. They all want to make sure she gets up in the stands and ask her how she’s doing.”

“They’re great,’ said Sue of the other drivers and fans. “I’m so glad that Kevin and Rick got into RUSH. Kevin is a rookie and this is his first time doing this, so the other drivers look out for him. After the race, the other drivers will stop by to give Kevin and Rick tips and valuable information on things such as the set-ups on the car.”

Kevin’s immediate family also includes his wife Lora and their son Peyton, who Kevin would like to see racing sometime in the future. Peyton has Matchbox race cars that he races all over the house. A tradition for Kevin is to bring glow sticks to each and every race. He makes sure that his three-year-old son Peyton gets one for every race. Kevin recently began putting a glow stick on his mother’s wheelchair so that he could see where she was during the race.

There have been two other Kasermans who have raced and those were Rick’s older brother Jim, and his father Dick, who raced in the 1950s and 1960s.

Rick also has a dream of his own and that is to get behind the wheel of a Sprint Car for at least a few laps. “I will just stay out of the way of the other drivers,” Rick said. “The drivers said they would all look out from me. I’m on the final laps of my life. Right now, I live my dreams through Kevin and the race car.”

“People ask me why I’m doing this and I say because I’m enjoying myself,” Rick continued. “You write your obituary every day. We have no regrets. At the end of the night, even if he doesn’t finish well, if we had a good time and a good ride then it’s all worth it. The whole concept of doing this is about having fun with the family.”

Kevin’s mother and father were the two-page subject of Paul Brown’s (former head coach for the Browns and Bengals) book “Tiger Legacy”. It speaks about Coach Brown talking to Rick who told him “Don’t let her get away.” (referring to his wife Sue). The book’s subject matter surrounds the Massillon Ohio High School football team.

In closing, Kevin said, “I want to thank Vicki (Emig) for helping develop a racing division for guys like us that is affordable and competitive.”

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