Phil Cardinale Interview

Phil Cardinale Interview

Dec 19th 2022

The following is a recap of how Mr. Phil Cardinale got started in the bowling industry:


Mr. Phil Cardinale was drilling bowling balls part-time, and while having lunch at a local coffee shop, one of his customers asked him to drill a new bowling ball.  The customer made a bet with Mr. Cardinale, the bet was that the customer would purchase two balls and the first person to shoot an honor score would make the other person pay for both bowling balls.  Mr. Cardinale laid out and drilled the customer’s ball following the drill sheet included in the box.  After a week or so, Mr. Cardinale decided to drill his bowling ball. After studying the drill sheet he realized it was wrong.  The information was not correct for the core that was in that model bowling ball.  Mr. Cardinale figured out the proper way to layout that ball, and drilled his bowling ball.  His first game out of the box was 299, winning theft he had with the customer. One of Mr. Cardinale’s friends asked him why his bowling ball rolled so much better.  Mr. Cardinale told his friend of the error, and his friend suggested that he call Star Trak and let them know the issue.  Mr. Cardinale called and spoke with the owner of Star Trak.  The owner offered to fly Mr. Cardinale into Ohio for a tour of the plant, and after the tour, the owner offered him a job.  Mr. Cardinale took the job, that was Labor Day of 1988. Mr. Cardinale was put in charge of overseeing the manufacturing of the Star Trak bowling balls.  In 1989, Mr. Cardinale changed the name to Track while still keeping production in Revenna, Ohio.  Columbia 300 approached Mr. Cardinale in 1990 to start producing the bowling balls for Track.  Shortly thereafter, production of Track bowling balls moved to San Antonio.  In 1991, Columbia 300 purchased the Track brand and Mr. Cardinale stayed on to run the company.  During his 10 years with the Track brand, Mr. Cardinale was responsible for several advancements in the industry.  The Nuke bowling ball was the first to use a flip block on top of the core to produce more hook, and offset the weight of the drilling of the holes in the ball.  Another one of the discoveries Mr. Cardinale found was with a material that is used inside a bowling ball called ceramicore.  This will be detailed later and covered in another post.  Mr. Cardinale left Track to start Dyno-Thane.  Dyno-Thane was an overseas brand which Mr. Cardinale brought to the United States.  Mr. Cardinale also imported the ABS Shoes, which later became Dynorooz, and today are called 3G Shoes.  After a short time, Dyno-thane was purchased by Columbia 300.  Mr. Cardinale ran Dyno-Thane till Ebonite International purchased Columbia 300.  After the Columbia 300 purchase, Mr. Cardinale helped start the 900 Global brand.  After four years with 900 Global, Mr. Cardinale left to start Radical Bowling where he works today.  The Radical Brand is under the Brunswick Bowling umbrella of brands.  Mr. Phil Cardinale continues to work to innovate and change the bowling ball industry.  It is always a pleasure to be able to talk with such an innovator of the bowling industry.


The following is a recap of how Mr. Phil Cardinale started the ceramicore: 


At that time in the bowling industry, the material being used to make bowling ball cores was very limited on the density of the material.  During that time, it was impossible to raise the RG of a bowling ball above .020 differential.  Mr. Cardinale realized that track flare increased hook potential, and he was looking for a way to easily increase the RG, which in turn would increase flare potential.  While talking with Keith Whiting, also named in the ceramicore patent, he explained that during his time at a beer manufacturer, they would put ceramic balls inside the vat to clean the tank.  These ceramic balls were extremely dense but small. Mr. Cardinale was able to get his hands on some of these ceramic balls.  The next step was to figure out how to mount this ceramic ball inside the core mold.  During a lunch meeting over pizza, the pizza saver inside the pizza box gave them the idea to mount the ceramic core in the core.  After mounting the ceramic ball inside the core, they began testing the RG value and knew they had something amazing.  They immediately patented the idea, calling it ceramicore, and began testing them in a variety of cores.  The first bowling ball to feature the ceramicore was the Track Critical Mass bowling ball.  Mr. Cardinale told me about his strategy for his staff players during that time.  He signed several bowlers with different axis tilts to make sure they would never be shut out.  At one point Track bowling balls won thirteen out of fourteen PBA Tour events, and finishing 6th in the other event. They made several changes over the course of the production of ceramicore bowling balls.  One of the changes was to put an indent in the ceramic core to allow for easier mounting.  Ceramicore had several different shapes, and late in its usage, different materials.  Ceramicore was used in both the Track and Columbia 300 brand, producing some of the most successful bowling balls ever produced in the companies history.  When Ebonite International purchased Columbia 300, they also purchased the patent for ceramicore. When the patent lapsed, 900 Global was able to use ceramicore technology again in several of their bowling balls.

Mr. Cardinale has been responsible for a variety of innovations throughout his time in the bowling industry.  Things like producing the first bowling ball with a flip block (Track Nuke), ceramicore, and an additive in the coverstock to disperse oil throughout the coverstock, Soaker coverstock, which was first used in Dyno-Thane bowling balls.  Only time will tell what new innovations Mr. Cardinale will bring to the bowling business.