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Autumn Schwalbe Returns To NMRA Racing at Ford Homecoming

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Autumn Schwalbe Returns To NMRA Racing at Ford Homecoming
Two months ago, Autumn Schwalbe experienced every racer’s worst nightmare when she was involved in a high-speed crash during qualifying for the NMRA/NMCA Allstar Nationals in Rockingham, N.C.
Schwalbe wasn’t seriously hurt in the accident, but her ’89 Mustang was completely destroyed, putting a sudden halt what had been a promising start to the 2023 season. Eager to get back in the saddle, Schwalbe reached out to Super Stang racer Kevin McKenna, who offered the use of his championship-winning, VMP-supercharged 2014 Mustang GT. And while McKenna’s Mustang is significantly slower than what she’s used to, Schwalbe was happy to simply put on her helmet and firesuit again, and to put the accident behind her once and for all.
“It meant the world to me to drive a car down the track again, to do a burnout, to go from start to finish and get back to the pits. It was just a huge hump to get over,” said Schwalbe. “I didn’t think I’d get back into a car this quicky and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Now, all the anxiety and the feelings of being scared are gone. When you go through [a crash], a lot of times the damage is way more mental than physical. I’m lucky, it could have been physical. It should have been, so for me to be in Norwalk racing today helped me to get back to normal.”
As luck would have it, McKenna’s car happened to be a perfect fit for the TREMEC All Female True Street class contested this weekend in Norwalk, and Schwalbe took aim at the 11.00 title. Shutting off well before the finish line, Schwalbe made runs of 11.07, 10.86, and a coasting 11.51 to finish with a respectable 11.07 average. She wasn’t quick enough to win the trophy, but it would be hard to argue she didn’t win the day—which begs the question, what’s next?
“Well, I have a possibility to drive a car in Martin, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen,” said Schwalbe. “Other than that, I’m looking to maybe buy a car. I’m not sure what car or what class I’d be racing in, but I’m fairly sure it would be a Mustang because that’s where my heart is at.”

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