KEN SCHRADER AND SKOAL BANDIT RACING TEAM SEEK TOP-10 IN POINT STANDINGS CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Racing Chevrolet, and his Skoal Bandit Racing team are seeking their second straight top-10 finish in...
KEN SCHRADER AND SKOAL BANDIT RACING TEAM SEEK TOP-10 IN POINT STANDINGS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Racing Chevrolet, and his Skoal Bandit Racing team are seeking their second straight top-10 finish in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. With three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes with two races remaining in the 1998 season, Schrader and Petree, car owner and crew chief of the No. 33, feel they can secure the final spot on the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria at the NASCAR Awards banquet in December.
"Being 141 points out of 10th in the points makes the last races of the season real important," said Schrader of the points chase. "We've got a lot of good drivers around us that are hungry for a 10th-place finish too (John Andretti is 10th and Bobby Hamilton is 11th), so we've got to run strong and not have any problems. We are all fighting for the same spot and we just have to be better than them."
Schrader was in position to capture his first victory of the season at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on October 17, but wound up ninth after a three lap shootout left him out of the draft and shuffled him from fifth position.
"We seem to get close, but can't get over that last hump to get to victory lane," Schrader said. "We had a good car in Charlotte and blew a motor and then we sat on the pole in Talladega and blew a tire and were left to ride around until the end of the race. The Pepsi 400 was a good race for us, but we got shuffled back in the last three laps. At restrictor plate races there is nothing you can do except hang on when that happens."
Last year's points battle came down to the season finale at Atlanta. Schrader entered the race trailing 10th place by a mere 13 points.
"We were running decent, somewhere in the top 10, until we came in for a two-tire pit stop," said Schrader. "An official saw a small piece of rubber burning on the right front brake rotor and held us in the pits. The official eventually let me go, but I got caught for speeding on pit road. Andy argued with the official and got the penalty withdrawn, but I had already come down pit road to take the stop and go."
The situation in the pits didn't deter Schrader's desire to finish in the top 10.
"I was real disappointed with what had happened on pit road, but I started calculating the points in my head," Schrader recalled. "I radioed the crew and asked them to tell me where all the drivers were that we were racing in the points battle. When Andy told me where everyone was, I realized that we still had a chance. I needed to gain one more position to beat Johnny (Benson) and realized if I had some help it could be done.
"Andy told me that Terry (Labonte) was running a couple of positions in front of us, so Andy went down to their pits and asked if we could get by him in order to get 10th in the points. Terry let us by him and we ended up beating Johnny by one point for 10th."
Schrader's efforts and the effort's of the Skoal Bandit Racing team earned Schrader the final spot on Waldorf-Astoria stage at the 1997 NASCAR Awards Banquet. He was quick to thank his long-time friend and former teammate at the banquet.
"Without Terry, the Skoal Bandit Racing team would have finished 11th, one point behind Johnny," said Schrader. "I look up to him and he's helped me a lot in my career and he helped me again in that last race at Atlanta last year."
While Schrader and the Skoal Bandit Racing team are seeking a top-10 finish in the point standings, they are also seeking their first win together. Atlanta Motor Speedway could very well be the place to reach those goals. Schrader, with one victory at the 1.54-mile oval, knows where victory lane is and a win at the Atlanta track could be the edge he needs to secure the final spot on stage at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, N.Y.
Skoal Bandit Racing is a service mark of United States Sales and Marketing Company Inc.