Schrader Conquers DuQuoin Dirt Mile DUQUOIN IL (9-4-06)--It took 30 years to get there but NASCAR Nextel Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader finally got to where he always wanted to go -- to the Winner's Circle at the historic DuQuoin ...
Schrader Conquers DuQuoin Dirt Mile
DUQUOIN IL (9-4-06)--It took 30 years to get there but NASCAR Nextel Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader finally got to where he always wanted to go -- to the Winner's Circle at the historic DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Schrader, in his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet, handily won the 54th annual ARCA RE/MAX Series Southern Illinois 100 Monday afternoon.
Schrader swept the day posting the fastest practice speeds and winning the Pork Pole Award, his 13th career series pole and second at DuQuoin. Schrader, who had competed in the Nextel Cup race at California Speedway the night before, also led 63 of 100 laps en route to his 14th career RE/MAX Series triumph in his 42nd series attempt.
"We had some help today with the 16 (Justin Allgaier) and the 46 (Frank Kimmel); they were definitely fast, but it still feels great to be here," said Schrader from victory lane. "I first came here with my Dad in 1964; we slept in his station wagon. We first started racing here in the mid-70's.....ran a midget here. Raced a USAC stock car here in '79. I think we've run just about everything you can run here. The track was absolutely beautiful today; we'll be back next year."
Frank Kimmel and Justin Allgaier were battling for second on the 41st lap directly behind Schrader when the two tangled in turn one. Both made contact with the outside retaining wall and were eliminated from competition, finishing 31st and 32nd respectively. Neither was injured.
Kimmel's misfortune allowed series veteran Bobby Gerhart, who finished eighth in the Lucas Oil Chevrolet, to close within 180 points of Kimmel in national championship points.
In the end, Schrader raced beneath the checkered flag 3.656 seconds ahead of rookie Brett Rowe, who finished second in the Imperial Bedding-31W Insulation Chevrolet, a career-best for the Barboursville, West Virginia driver.
Rowe, who also earned the Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors, got within one length of Schrader with 20 laps remaining, but faded in the closing laps.
"First, I've got to thank the Lord," said Rowe. "We not only kept the car in one piece, but we had a great day as well. This is a great finish and I want to thank all of my sponsors-Imperial Bedding, 31-W, Certainteed, and Fike's automotive as well. Kenny Schrader was fast. If it wasn't for him being here we might have got our first win today. I burned up my right front tire trying to get him."
Centralia, Illinois' Joe Cooksey, a local favorite, finished third in the Biggeez Convenience Stores-Fuelvend Chevrolet.
"I just want to praise the Lord for a good day," said Cooksey. "Everybody did a good job. Congratulations to Kenny Schrader."
Mokena, Illinois' Bob Strait finished fourth in the Lumberyard Suppliers Ford, while Blake Bjorklund finished fifth in the Country Joe Racing-Red Line Oil Dodge. AJ Fike, Doug Keller, Bobby Gerhart, Billy Venturini and Ryan Howard rounded out the top-10.
Schrader led the first 23 laps before making his mandatory pit stop, handing the lead to Venturini, who led through lap 43. Then Westby, Wisconsin's Dexter Bean took over the top-spot when Venturini pitted. Bean led 17 laps before his engine expired on lap 60. Schrader, who had raced back through the pack, took the lead from there and never relinquished it.
This weekend's Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin marked the second of three Bill France Triple Crown races. The Bill France Triple Crown is a separate point fund within the 23-race ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule that tests drivers on a challenging combination of venues all in a tight, nine-day stretch. The series began on Friday night, September 1st on the Toledo Speedway short-track and ends on Saturday afternoon, September 9th at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway.
Schrader's crew chief Donnie Richeson won the SK Hand Tool Crew Chief of the race award. Jason Hedlesky, who finished 15th, earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions.