In the Pits- KSR
'Off week' for Schrader
What do you do if you’re a full-time driver on the Nextel Cup circuit, and the schedule gives you a rare weekend off? If you’re Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 21 car for the Wood Brothers Cup team, you go racing…in your own car…in Texas…in the dirt.
Schrader, who has a well-earned reputation for racing anything, any-where, anytime, took advantage of the “off week” to compete in the 3rd Annual Pro Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship on the 4/10-mile dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The event drew a record number of drivers—205 entrants for the Modified and Late Model competition—along with record crowds, many of whom were no doubt there to see how the veteran Nextel Cup driver Schra-der would fare on the Texas dirt.
The fans got what they wanted as Schrader and the No. 99 Red Baron Pizza car prepared by Ken Schrader Racing put on quite a show after nearly missing out on the main event. Schrader was the last driver to make the field for the 40-lap SUPR Late Model feature. It took a second-place finish in the second of two last-chance qualifiers just to get in. As a result, Schrader started 20th in the 22-car field.
Once the green flag dropped, however, Schrader roared through the field, picking off drivers by the handful. Just five laps into the race, he had worked his way up to the top five. By lap 14, Schrader trailed only Rob Litton of Louisiana.
The hard-charging Schrader put pressure on Litton throughout the remainder of the race. Schrader got up to Litton’s bumper with five laps to go before getting caught up in lapped traffic. Schrader end-ed up second behind Litton, who started on the outside of Row 2, took the lead on Lap 7 and never gave it up.
“Our car was really good,” Schrader said. “We fought it all week, but the guys worked hard. I hope everyone enjoyed the feature.”
The Texas stop was the first in a series of appearances planned for his “off week.” On Tuesday (after deadline), Schrader was scheduled to attend a press conference in Toledo, OH in support of an upcoming ARCA race. On Wednesday, he was set to be in Cleveland for an auto show on behalf of Ford. On Thursday, he planned to be in Paducah, KY for another press conference with Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two NASCAR legends bought the Paducah Interna-tional Raceway last winter.
“It’s a nice little place,” Schrader said.