In the Pits - KSR
Born to Race
For Ken Schrader, racing is not just a job and an adventure, it’s an
everyday passion. Schrader, 51, just completed his 19th full-time season of
Winston Cup racing, but NASCAR’s elite series doesn’t begin to fill
Schrader’s enormous appetite for competition. In addition to the grueling
Cup schedule that began in February and ran through November, Schrader competed
in more than 20 races in four different series (Craftsman Truck, Southwest,
Winston West and ARCA). If all of that wasn’t enough, Schrader ran another
20 or so dirt-track races he squeezed in during off weeks and on mid-week nights.
Since he was a little boy growing up in Fenton, MO, Schrader has found some
of his greatest happiness driving in circles. You might say he was born to race,
and little has changed. After all these years, Schrader still can’t wait
to put on his helmet, climb in his driver’s seat and chase the checkered
flag every Sunday afternoon…or any other day of the week.
It is that desire and dedication to drive that has earned Schrader the reputation
around the garage as a true racer’s racer. It’s nothing for Schrader
to run a couple of dirt races during the week, compete in the Winston Cup Series
on the weekend and then show up at another dirt track show on Monday night.
In fact, many have said that Kenny Schrader will race just about anything
that has wheels. Asphalt or dirt, superspeedway or half-mile track—it
doesn’t matter as long as it has three pedals and a steering wheel.
The story of how Schrader’s racing career began has been told so many
times that it is almost legend in the NASCAR ranks.
At the age of three, Schrader’s dad Bill tied a cable from his go-kart
to a post in the backyard of their Midwestern home. Schra-der would go round
and round in circles. When the go-kart ran out of gas, Schrader would ask his
dad to fill it back up. Then he would start going in circles all over again.
“I guess you could say that I have been dizzy ever since,” Schrader
says. “I really don’t think it is an exaggeration when I say that
racing is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been racing since I could walk,
and it is really all I have ever wanted to do. To be honest, I would race every
day if I had the opportunity.”
Schrader, who used to run in excess of 100 races each year, has cut that number
back to about 80 races a season, but he’s still one of the most active
drivers in the business. “I love the time that I get to spend behind the
wheel,” he said.