All-time Phoenix victory leader: 'Phoenix just suits me' Ken Schrader and the ...
All-time Phoenix victory leader: 'Phoenix just suits me'
Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge return to the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, located in Avondale, Ariz., for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500; the 35th race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season and the ninth in the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."
No stranger to victory lane at PIR, Schrader is the all-time leader in victories at the one-mile track, with 14 in four different series.
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 thoughts of Schwan's Home Service Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Phoenix:
"Phoenix obviously means a lot to me. Anytime you go to a track where you've had success, and especially where you've won, you get excited. I'm really not sure what it is about Phoenix that works well with what we do. Certain tracks just suit certain drivers better than others, and I guess Phoenix suits me well.
"I can still remember back in 1979, we towed out there to run midget races, and it was like, 'I can't believe we're towing to Phoenix, Ariz., to run a race.' Back then, we figured since we towed our car all the way out to Phoenix, we better run well, and luckily, for the most part, we have. We went out there in '79, ran well, and it just instantly became one of my favorite places. It's a place I look forward to going to.
"We're starting to enjoy going straight from Texas to Phoenix. The scheduling this year had us making that trip both in the spring and the fall. It's a pretty neat opportunity for some of us who ride motorcycles. In the spring a few of us got together and made the trip. We left on Monday, and rode out west through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. We took our time, and got to Phoenix on Wednesday evening. Out of the entire trip, we only rode on the interstate for about 100 miles.
"Phoenix is a challenging race track. It's a mile in length so it's not really a short track, but it's pretty flat in the corners and that keeps the speeds down. I wouldn't be surprised if some guys maybe lean on each other a little more than usual, especially the handful of drivers that still have a shot at the title. If you're in the hunt, now's the time to show your hand; you're going to see some furious racing at Phoenix this weekend.
"This Schwan's team brought a great race car out to Phoenix in the spring. We were able to race our way up through the field, led for while, and ran most of the race inside the top-10. Had we not got caught up in a couple of wrecks we could have had a top-10 finish. The first wreck happened when we were running eighth and the second one killed the car. But, make no mistake that car was fast and we were having a great day up until that point. Hopefully we can do the same this weekend."