Schrader finishes races at MIS, but is searching for victory; last race he failed to finish was August 1990. BROOKLYN, Mich. - Ken Schrader has figured out how to finish races at Michigan International Speedway. Now, he's working on winning ...
Schrader finishes races at MIS, but is searching for victory; last race he failed to finish was August 1990.
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Ken Schrader has figured out how to finish races at Michigan International Speedway. Now, he's working on winning one.
August 1990 was the last time Schrader was not running here at the end of a race, meaning that for more than a decade, he's won the battle of attrition that's defeated many a NASCAR Winston Cup Series stock car driver at MIS. He will compete in this weekend's Sirius Satellite Radio 400 this weekend.
"It's great that we've been able to finish so many races at Michigan, but just finishing isn't what we want to do," he said. "What it all boils down to is where we finish. And we want to finish at the front."
Michigan is a track where strategy is important, and Schrader credits his survival in past races to finding the right approach.
"At Michigan, it seems to always come down to fuel mileage," he said. "And we're usually pretty pleased with our fuel mileage numbers."
Of course, staying out of trouble during three- and four-wide racing also helps, and Schrader's been pretty lucky at that, too.
Schrader will stick with these proven tactics in this weekend's Sirius Satellite Radio 400, where he hopes for "a solid run and a top-10 or better finish," and to keep his endurance streak alive.
"Michigan is a great track with a wide racing groove," said Schrader, driver of the No. 36 M&M's Pontiac. "You race from the wall to the apron, which is a lot of fun for us drivers."
Schrader made his MIS debut in the August 1984 Winston Cup race during one of just five events he ran during his first in the series. He started a discouraging 39th and finished not much better at 33rd. But five years later in the June race, he made fans take notice when he captured his first of two Winston Cup poles at MIS.
Schrader's best MIS finish is fourth in a September 1994 ASA event. His top Winston Cup runs are a trio of sixth places in the June races in 1988, 1991 and 1994.
Last year at Michigan, Schrader started 33rd and finished 14th in June and started 38th and finished 20th in August. The early part of the 2002 season, his 19th on the Winston Cup circuit, also started out tough for the St. Louis native.
Even though there were bright spots, like a seventh-place qualifying effort at Daytona, followed by a second-place qualifying run at Rockingham, N.C., a week later, Schrader's best finish through March was a 22nd at Bristol.
However, Schrader's four Winston Cup wins - one each in 1988 and 1989 and two in 1991 - and career-high fourth-place finish in the Winston Cup Series in 1994 lead him to believe success is within his grasp.
He'd like nothing better than to see a real turnaround take place here this weekend.
"We've had good qualifying efforts, great pit stops and altogether good runs," he said. "We just seem to have had a streak of bad luck that we couldn't shake. Hopefully, by the time we take the track at Michigan, we will have left the bad luck behind."