'On a good lap, you've probably scared yourself' Ken Schrader and the ...
'On a good lap, you've probably scared yourself'
Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge return to the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway, located in Hampton, Ga., for Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500; the 33rd race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season and the seventh in the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."
The busiest driver in major league motorsports, Schrader, a native of Fenton, Mo., has raced and continues to race on virtually every type of speedway in virtually every type of race car. In 2005, Schrader plans to once again race over 100 races and throughout his career has raced at over 310 different racetracks around the nation. Schrader continues a winning career with BAM Racing, which fields the Schwan's Home Service team.
The team is owned by Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau, investors from Coral Gables, Fla. Ms. Morgenthau, whose initials make up the name of the team -- BAM Racing -- is the only female car owner in motorsports to become involved without prior family connections. General manager Eddie Jones is a veteran of the NASCAR Nextel Cup wars, enjoying a championship career as a crew chief, mechanic and team leader. Crew chief David Hyder has over 20 years of racing experience both driving and as a chief mechanic.
The Schwan Food Company is a privately held manufacturer and marketer of fine frozen foods through its nationwide Schwan's Home Service home-delivery service, its Schwan's Consumer Brands North America retail grocery business, and its Schwan's Food Service Group foodservice unit. Headquartered in Marshall, Minn., Schwan's production and distribution activities in the United States and Europe employ 24,000 people. Among its well-known brands are Schwan's®, Tony's®, Red Baron®, Freschetta®, Pagoda®, Mrs. Smith's®, and Edwards®.
The thoughts of Schwan's Home Service Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Atlanta:
"The last part of the schedule really sets up for teams trying to use these last few races as a springboard into 2006. When you think about it, it really does. If you're going to have success in this series, you have to be good at the mile-and-a-half ovals. Nearly a third of our schedule is run on mile-and-a-half race tracks and, while each track is a little different than the other, there are a lot of similarities that can be taken from one and applied to the next.
"Now, what do five of our last seven races have in common? They're run on mile-and-a-half ovals; Kansas, Charlotte, Atlanta, Texas, and Homestead. Granted they're all different in their own ways but, again, very similar -- well, maybe except Charlotte. But, that's a whole different deal now.
"If you look at this race team, the mile-and-half tracks are probably the area where we've improved the most. I'm not lying; there was a time a couple years ago where we dreaded these tracks, but not anymore. We've been competitive all year at the mile-and-a-half tracks and we're using these last several tracks to take that next step for next season.
"Atlanta is a great race track. Obviously, I'm a little bit biased, but it's one of the raciest tracks that we go to. It's multi-grooved with plenty of room to pass, and you just carry a ton of speed through the turns. I don't think there's any place we go, and that includes Texas and now Charlotte, who are both close, but, they still don't give you that sensation of speed through the turns.
"You're really going to get that sensation during qualifying. A driver can tell right away if the qualifying lap he's running is going to be good or not. On a good lap, you've probably scared yourself coming off turn two and again in the middle of three and four. But, that's what it takes. Obviously, the impound procedure has taken some of the importance out of qualifying, but you still want to start as far as you can towards the front.
"We're looking for good things this weekend from the Schwan's Dodge. The last mile-and-a-half track we were at was Charlotte and it looked like we were going to be pretty good until anything bad that could happen to us did. So, hopefully we got all of our bad luck out of our system at Charlotte and that will leave us nothing but good fortune on these types of tracks for the rest of the year."