Series Illinois spotlight: Ken Schrader

From NASCAR Trucks to Nova Scotia, from New York to Springfield Mile-Dirt with ARCA, Ken Schrader on the Go SPRINGFIELD IL (8-20-09) - For nearly 30 years and counting, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader has been averaging nearly ...

From NASCAR Trucks to Nova Scotia, from New York to Springfield Mile-Dirt with ARCA, Ken Schrader on the Go

SPRINGFIELD IL (8-20-09) - For nearly 30 years and counting, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader has been averaging nearly 100 races a year. At 54 years young, he's still doing it.

"We ran 94 races last year, and 119 the year before," said Schrader. "You can say we've averaged about 90 a year since the early 80s. I actually have a book at home that documents every race I've run."

Schrader has also filed an entry for this Sunday's (August 23rd) running of the ARCA RE/MAX Series Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

However, he won't be arriving a couple days ahead of time to enjoy the 157th annual Illinois State Fair, not quite. Actually, he'll be in Nova Scotia Friday night looking for a track he's never seen before.

"I'm not even sure what we're racing; I just know it's somewhere in Nova Scotia. It's a paved track; I can tell you that. Then we're racing somewhere in New York Saturday night - paved track."

Then of course, he'll get on a plane and steer for Springfield, Illinois in time for the ARCA garage to open Sunday morning at 6:00 AM sharp. Practice follows at 9:00.

"Yah, I get tired," added Schrader, "but I never get tired of it."

That's a good thing because the Fenton, Missouri fan-favorite also raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday night, giving him four races this week alone in three states and two countries.

These days, with his Cup career winding down, the majority of his races are adding up on dirt tracks across America, including this year both ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Springfield and the upcoming Labor Day classic - the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile-dirt.

Schrader, entered in his own no. 52 Schrader Racing Chevrolet, will be making his 55th career ARCA RE/MAX Series start this weekend in search of his second career series victory at Springfield. Schrader held off Frank Kimmel to win at Springfield in 1998. Schrader also raced at Springfield in 2007, finishing eighth in Bill Hendren's Ford.

"Traditionally, Springfield always fell on the Michigan Cup weekend, so we could never be there (at Springfield). I'll have Federated on the car at Springfield but we're coming because Ken Schrader wanted to come."

Schrader also commented on ARCA's ongoing dirt track tenure that reaches back to its inception in 1953.

"Should ARCA be racing on the dirt? Definitely. I mean, it wouldn't be ARCA without Springfield and DuQuoin. It's an important part of what makes ARCA, ARCA. Where else can you run bullrings like Salem and Toledo, the dirt, Daytona and Talladega. You can flat learn a lot about driving the Cup-style cars when you run the full ARCA deal. Should ARCA be on the dirt?

"Definitely, without question."

Schrader also understands how competitive the ARCA RE/MAX Series has become over the years.

"I don't care where you go on any weekend, whether it's ARCA or the local track; everything's more competitive. ARCA's no exception."

Schrader won back-to-back ARCA races at DuQuoin in 2006 and 2007.

"We're bringing a different car to Springfield than we had been racing at DuQuoin the last few years. Doesn't really matter who your crew chief is. There's really nothing to crew chief (at Springfield or DuQuoin). You come in on lap 10 or somewhere in there (mandatory pit stop before lap 90) and go back out. If I need to come in and put a tire on it, I'll stop in someone else's pit."

Overall, the Fenton, Missouri driver has 15 career ARCA RE/MAX Series wins, five of which came on dirt tracks. In addition to his wins at Springfield and DuQuoin, Schrader has also earned ARCA victories on the Hagerstown Speedway half-mile dirt in 1990 and the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile-dirt in 1994.

Schrader is also planning on entering ARCA RE/MAX Series events later this year at Toledo Speedway (Sept. 4) and DuQuoin (Sept. 7).

Schrader is among an impressive list of entrants for the annual stock car classic at the historic Springfield fairgrounds horse track, one that includes nine-time series champion and seven-time Springfield winner Frank Kimmel and rookie point leader Parker Kligerman, who has never raced on dirt.

Kligerman leads a tight championship points battle to Springfield with just a 20-point lead over Justin Lofton. Lofton, who made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Michigan Int'l Speedway last Saturday with a solid 16th place finish, did not fare so well at Springfield last year where the Westmorland, California driver finished 24th, three laps down.

Also entered are open-wheel veterans' AJ Fike and Brian Tyler. Tyler finished third at Springfield in 2008.

In addition to Kimmel and Schrader, former Allen Crowe 100 winners include AJ Foyt, Al Unser, Ramo Stott, Don White, Roger McCluskey, Bob Keselowski, Jack Bowsher, Bobby Isaac, Dean Roper and Curtis Turner to name a few.

Practice for the Sunday, August 23rd Allen Crowe 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 AM local time with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 11:00. The race is scheduled to get underway just after 1:00 PM.

-credit: arca

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Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Al Unser Sr. , Brian Tyler , Justin Lofton , Parker Kligerman