Schrader Goes for Third Pole at Loudon

Schrader hopes to run well in 'two races' at NHIS LOUDON, N.H. (July 6, 1998) Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Racing Chevrolet, swept both Bud Pole positions at New Hampshire International Speedway in 1997, the first year the...

Schrader hopes to run well in 'two races' at NHIS

LOUDON, N.H. (July 6, 1998) Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Racing Chevrolet, swept both Bud Pole positions at New Hampshire International Speedway in 1997, the first year the track hosted two NASCAR Winston Cup Series stops. This Friday he'll be shooting for his third straight in Bud Pole Qualifying for the Jiffy Lube 300. To the extent that such an accomplishment is possible, Schrader has perfected qualifying at NHIS. He is the only driver to post top-10 starts in every attempt at the 1.058-mile oval. "He gets around the flat tracks real well," team owner Andy Petree said. "Schrader has two poles at New Hampshire and five at Pocono Raceway, which is another flat track. If we give him a car that's close, he can get the job done." That may be an understatement. The Fenton, Mo., native has 20 career Bud Poles. He shares the record with Bill Elliott for the most consecutive Bud Poles for the Daytona 500 with three (1988-90) and stands alone with the most Bud Poles at Pocono. Schrader captured the Bud Pole Award at NHIS in July of 1997 with a record-setting lap of 129.423 mph. That made him eligible for the Bud Shootout (formerly the Busch Clash) at Daytona International Speedway last February. Schrader won the Bud Pole again at NHIS at its inaugural September race. "We've got two races every weekend now," Schrader said. "Qualifying has turned into a race of its own, and of course there is the race on Sunday, which is a whole different deal. "It is great to start up front, but that's no guarantee you're going to stay there when they drop the green flag. Obviously, we want to stay up there all day." Running up front all day is what the Skoal Bandit Racing team is working hard to do. "After qualifying, we work hard during the practice sessions to get the car handling to Kenny's liking," Petree said. "Last year, it took us awhile to figure out how to communicate during practice. Kenny would not push as hard because he didn't want to wreck the car and be forced to start in the rear of the field for the race. Kenny doesn't drive over his head, so I never even gave that a thought. "We have gotten a handle on the communication and he gives us a lot of feedback during those crucial practice sessions. If we get the car right, he gets the job done." When the weather changes drastically from Saturday to Sunday, team engineer Terry Satchell says experience plays a major role. "The changes that the team makes comes mainly from experience," Satchell said. "A good crew chief uses his experience to decide which way to go with the set-up and then the engineer uses the computer to make calculations to fine-tune the exact amount of changes to make. It can also be a bit of a guessing game when it comes to making provisions for changes in the weather from one day to the next. "Once the race starts, you can adjust with air pressure, spring rubbers and the track bar, but the car has got to be close for you to be able to dial it in perfectly. The cars that are winning races are very close to being perfect at the start of the race. Therefore, they only have to make minor adjustments during the race." The Skoal Bandit Racing team hopes to capture another Bud Pole at NHIS, but more importantly they will be working even harder to win the race. Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Ken Schrader , Andy Petree