KEN SCHRADER Pavement to Concrete, 500 to 400 Miles -- Dover is Still Dover CORNELIUS, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2008) -- Like many tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, Dover (Del.) International Speedway has seen its share of changes in the...
Pavement to Concrete, 500 to 400 Miles -- Dover is Still Dover
CORNELIUS, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2008) -- Like many tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, Dover (Del.) International Speedway has seen its share of changes in the last 25 years.
Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing, has seen many of those changes firsthand.
He saw the track change from an asphalt surface to a concrete layout in 1995, and was there two years later when the track's two Sprint Cup races were shortened from 500 to 400 miles.
Schrader has also seen victory lane at Dover, having won the Budweiser 500 Sprint Cup race at the mile oval on June 3, 1991, driving the No. 25 Kodiak Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. At the time, Schrader, who started 19th in the race, held the record for winning at Dover from the farthest back in the starting field.
He also won the Ames/Peak 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Sept. 16, 1989, driving the No. 52 Red Barron Frozen Pizza Chevrolet for a team he owned.
At this weekend's Camping World RV 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover, Schrader will attempt to make his 45th career start at the mile oval. And while plenty has changed at Dover throughout the years, its high banks and tough concrete still make it a tough old track that provides the ultimate challenge for man and machine.
KEN SCHRADER, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry:
What do you remember about your 1991 Sprint Cup victory at Dover?
"It was a good day for us, obviously. I think, at the time, we set the record for the farthest back in the field anyone had started who went on to win. I think Kyle Petty broke that a couple of years later. We just had a good car, ran a smooth race and won the thing. That's back when it was 500 miles, so you had to run a clean race and also make sure the equipment held up because the race was so darn long."
Were you in favor of shortening the two Sprint Cup races from 500 to 400 miles back in 1997?
"Absolutely. I'm not so sure 400 kilometers isn't the way to go. The 500-mile races were so long and with the track the way it was, it just made for a long day for the driver and the car. It made it into a marathon of a race, so it was a great move to shorten the race by 100 miles."
What about the decision to change the track from pavement to concrete in 1995?
"When they first put the concrete in, it was really, really rough. The surface they've got on there now is pretty good, but when they first changed it from pavement to concrete, it was kind of a mess. Then, when the Indy cars went there, they smoothed it out and it's quite a bit better now."
What are your thoughts heading into this weekend's event with Hall of Fame Racing?
"The track has some room in the turns, so you have options to move around on the track. There are 46 cars on the entry list, so we'll have to qualify our way in. There are some good cars there, so we'll have our work cut out for us, but we'll be ready. Hope to give the DLP Toyota a good run."