In the Pits- KSR
Fan Favorite Stops by MATS
En route to Bristol, TN for the Food City 500, Ken Schrader took a little detour to Louisville, KY for the Mid-America Trucking Show, where he greeted fans and signed autographs at the Over the Road/Pro Trucker booth, just as he has for the past several years.
People started lining up well before Schrader’s 1 p.m. appearance, and for two solid hours, “the hardest working driver in motorsports” signed autographs for a few hundred of his biggest fans—over the road professionals, their spouses and kids. When Schrader ran out of “hero cards,” he signed copies of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines. He also signed every collectible imaginable, including diecast cars, posters, programs and photographs.
The truck show stop was one of about 50 such special appearances Schrader makes each year as part of his commitment to his fans, his sponsors and his sport. Of course, Schrader’s focus is on winning races, wheth-er it’s a Nextel Cup race on a superspeedway before more than a hundred thousand fans or a dirt-track event in a small Midwestern town before a few hundred locals.
In fact, one of the primary reasons Schrader founded Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) in 1987 was to occupy his free time with what he loves to do most—race. The owner of a Craftsman Truck series team and a dirt track late model, Schrader also owns I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO. Schrader competes in about 80 race events a year, driving for both BAM Racing and his own KSR, and he is one of only a few drivers to win in NASCAR’s top three divisions.
Schrader, who turns 50 in May, is the oldest full-time driver on the Nextel Cup circuit. To what does he attribute his popularity among the fans?
“I think it’s just because I’m old, and I’ve been around a long time,” he jokes.
His fans would disagree. They consider Schrader one of NASCAR’s “good guys,” someone who enjoys meeting and talking with fans. Is Schrader unique in that regard?
“I think most of us feel the same way,” Schrader says. “We all have our moments, especially at the race track. You just got out of the car, you’re trying to get to the truck, and you get swamped by people looking for autographs. But something like this truck show is fun because meeting the fans and signing autographs is what you’re here for.”