In the Pits- KSR
Schrader roars past career Cup milestone
Ken Schrader reached a significant career milestone this past season when he started his 700th NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Subway 500 at Martinsville in late October. Starting in the 10th position, Schrader had the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion in the top-10 for 331 laps around the tight half-mile Virginia track, but he never completed lap 332. David Ragan, who was two laps down at the time, ran into the rear end of the No. 21 car, spinning it into the wall and out of the race.
While Schrader was obviously disappointed with the way his day ended at Martinsville, he can take some solace in the fact that he joined an elite group of a dozen drivers in NASCAR history with 700 or more career Cup starts. Richard Petty holds the all-time record with 1,185 Cup starts.
Despite running a limited Cup schedule in 2007, look for Schrader to move past a few more drivers on the all-time start list. He’s already passed Buddy Baker (701) and is closing in on Rusty Wallace (706), among others.
Schrader made his Cup debut back in 1984, with a 19th-place finish at the old Nashville Speedway for team owner Elmo Langley.
Reflecting on the 700-start milestone, Schrader said, “It just means you’ve been here for a while. I wish it was 704, and they were consecutive, but we missed four the first year I drove for the BAM team. I would’ve liked to have won more of them, but I guess it’s some kind of accomplishment.”
More excerpts from the interview follow:
What do you remember about your first race at Nashville?
What were we, 17th? Eighteenth? Nineteenth? We were nine laps down and Elmo was very happy. We finished on the same lap as Rusty [Wallace, who finished 18th]. I didn’t think that race would ever get over.
Back then, could you even imagine making 700 starts in the
You don’t even think about something like that, that’s so far removed. You were just worried about start number two. I didn’t think about it until a couple of years ago. I was just racing.”
What about some of the other drivers who have eclipsed 700 starts?
Those guys are old, too. We’ll catch a couple more of them, won’t we?
What are some of the attributes needed to make that many starts?
You’ve got to BS your way through the garage area. When you’re here working with limited ability, it’s hard to stick around. I’m just glad I’ve been here this long and haven’t been shuffled yet. You’ve got to have a lot of “want-to” because it’ll wear on you after a while.