Atlanta II: Dodge - Schrader/Morgenthau interview

KEN SCHRADER (No. 49 BAM Racing/1 800 CALL ATT Dodge Intrepid) "We've had a few highlights, not highlights. We thought they were going to be OK and it didn't end up that way. We've had some decent runs, but we just haven't performed near as well...

KEN SCHRADER (No. 49 BAM Racing/1 800 CALL ATT Dodge Intrepid)

"We've had a few highlights, not highlights. We thought they were going to be OK and it didn't end up that way. We've had some decent runs, but we just haven't performed near as well as we'd like to. But, we see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. That's what everybody says, but it's been fast enough at times that we think we can get consistent enough to become a top 20 car first. That's what we have to set our goals on now. We're working hard on sponsorship opportunities for next year, and Beth Ann told me to talk about that. It's a big learning curve. I didn't really realize some of the benefits of the multi-cars and that many more people before. I'm awful proud to be driving the BAM car. I've met some very good people, and no matter what happens I've enjoyed this relationship. I hope they're not going to &*$%-can me yet.

"The phone doesn't ring a whole lot when you're 48. We're kind of on hold here waiting to see what happens. There are a couple of other little deals out there, a couple of opportunities maybe. Schrader Racing has the Federated Auto Parts truck sitting there, and Federated Auto Parts will do the whole season in the truck series whenever we're ready. I guess that would be option one. There's been way too much conversation on Tony's and Beth Ann's part and the whole team with other companies to really be in panic mode.

"We're fully funded. People get that confused because there's not a corporate name on the car. They think you're trying to do something with winnings and a little bit of sponsorship here or there, maybe a $4 or $5 million budget. That's not our case. We have a budget that was set at the start of the year, and we're running according to that budget. Now I'm sure teams are out there with twice our budget and they wish they had more. They think they can do more, but we've been fully funded all year long. Because we've got one car, maybe out budget isn't what we'd like it to be. It doesn't make any difference. You come to the racetrack, unload your equipment, which is good equipment with the best engines we can get. You do as good a job as you can do with it. It's just that simple.

"I don't think it holds anything. I think if I come to the races every week and don't get to drive, I'm going to go somewhere where I do get to drive. The only reason I do that TV show every week is because when I sit by Mikey (Waltrip) it makes me feel smarter. That boy's got some real issues. I try to help him figure things out, but he don't always listen real good. We've talked about the possibility. I enjoy doing the ARCA races for SPEED and stuff, but I don't think that TV booth is me. I see myself with my tractor trailer and about 120 races a year.

"I'm going to leave this place like a little baby, screaming and crying the whole way. I'm going to hang on as long as I can. I don't need to drive that car. This sport has been good to us. I've got stuff set aside. I don't need to drive that car, but that's what I love to do. That's why I go run all the other shows. Some of them shows you get a good deal to go and some of them wind up costing you. You're racing, and that's what I love to do. I'm going to milk this thing..... I'm going to drive for Beth Ann as long as I can.

"Stewart likes to race no matter what. Kenny Wallace likes to race a ton. The rest of the guys had rather do something else, the majority of them. If they want to do something else, that doesn't mean they're not a racer. They're doing fabulous in here. That's their main job, and that's what they need to be focused on. I just think when you're not in here, you can still be doing other stuff. They don't want to do it. Just because I'm screwed up and still want to do it, that doesn't take anything away from them. Stewart drove my car twice this year. He drove at my track. He came down the first time and was running third on the last lap. I had already wrecked my stuff. His shock broke, and he finished 18th. The second time, we were running second and he was running fourth. He turned over a couple of times, and after we got him turned back right side up, he was all pumped up. When he was changing clothes he told me he couldn't wait until next year. The car was all torn up. He said we'll come here next year and we'll really be good. I told him next year to find someone else's ride because you tore my stuff up twice. You're on your own now buddy.

"People don't know, but Beth Ann grew up riding her bicycle down to Hialeh. She's a gear head from the get go. She didn't get invited to a Cup race or an ARCA race four or five years ago, sit in the suite and think it looked interesting. She's been eat up with cars and speed forever. She came by this natural.

"Bill (Elliott) and I tested together in Kansas City, and we got to go eat one night. We went over to Danny Lasoski's shop about an hour away and looked at all his sprint cars. We shot the bull all the way down and all the way back. There are a lot of options out there. It winds up, you do this for so many years and you're here every single weekend. There are some other things to do out there. I understand what he (Bill Elliott) is going through."

TONY MORGENTHAU (Owner BAM Racing Dodge Intrepid)

"This is the second year we've been involved in Cup basically. It's a building process. I think Kenny is insurmountable helping us build the team. We've got a great manager in Eddie Jones. Scott Eggleston (crew chief) has certainly helped a lot. The first half of the year we were just trying to sort out all the personnel, car, engine. Joey Arrington is a top engine builder as you guys know. We can't underestimate the support we've gotten from Dodge Corporation. They've helped us tremendously through Arrington and directly through other aspects they've done with the car. I don't think a lot of people thought we'd be here at this time of the year. We said we were going to fund the car for the whole year, and this was a building year. Everybody was sure when we lost a couple of races and bloodied our noses that we would go home and say it was a nasty experience. I think now we've proved that we're here. I think the interesting thing as far as our sponsors are concerned with Nextel coming into the market. I'm in the brokerage business, and a lot of companies that have not been involved with NASCAR have all of a sudden said why aren't we involved with NASCAR? If Nextel is going to make this commitment, maybe we should think of making a much lesser commitment. It only takes $10 million to sponsor a car. They're putting $60 or $70 million a year to be the series sponsor, so we're talking to a lot of corporations outside of NASCAR that have never been involved with the sport to try to get them involved. They either have consumer products or they want to use it for public relations. The real problem is NASCAR's year ends right before Thanksgiving and most corporations' years start in January. That's why I wore a white shirt today. We don't have an announcement who our sponsor is going to be even though I told them this would be a great audience to announce they were going to be sponsors. It didn't push anyone over the edge, but we're talking to between 10 and 12 sponsors. We still hope to have two cars next year. Time will tell. We're going to clone Kenny and make him drive both. If Kenny will put up with us, Kenny will be the driver of the No. 49 car next year.

"We have letters of intent. Being in investment banking, you never count your money until the check clears the bank, but we have sponsorship lined up for the 49 car.

"When we got in the business, I talked to several other owners. They said one of the biggest mistakes made when you're getting into NASCAR is throwing millions of dollars in before you have a team put together. Actually the team that we consider are the employees. To the best of my knowledge, the team has not been denied any money for anything they wanted within reason. The jets have been put on hold, but other than that, as far as the cars are concerned, we've put up all the equipment and stuff we've needed. Believe it or not, our budget this year, is pretty close to $9 million. We've been struggling to get the right guys put together to make all this equipment work so Kenny can get out there and do what he's supposed to do.

"We haven't asked them (Dodge) for a lot of financial support quite frankly. I know that's against NASCAR rules, but what we want is knowledge. We want their engineers and their wind tunnels, the shaker rig, we've been invited to use that. This is the worst type of track. We're having problems with the mile and a half tracks. If you look over the years how we've done, this has been our Achilles' tendon. It really hasn't worked for us, and we're desperately seeking the answer to that.

"Other than the Nextel situation, which I think was just a tremendous oversight on everyone's behalf. NASCAR got into the middle of something they should never have been in the middle of really. They tried to work that out. They have helped us tremendously as far as trying to get sponsors. They've gone to presentations for us. They've had a lot of data. They've encouraged existing sponsors to talk with some of our people to show it really has helped their sales. NASCAR has been extremely helpful. The only problem we've had has been the Nextel problem. It's really not a problem. We'll overcome it and survive.

"Last year at the end of the season we were approached by some other drivers. For some reason, Kenny's wit and charm and humor and driving ability convinced us this is what the team needed to give it the cement to bring it together. Someone with the father image type thing. My wife keeps reminding me you're as old as you act. She puts me at about 18 or 19 most of the time. There's a lot of mature drivers out there, but Kenny is one of the more mature younger acting drivers. I think that's why he wants to do 100 races, to prove to all these older guys in not years but times on the track that he's still got it, that he can go. There's no problem with him pushing the pedal to the metal."

BETH ANN MORGENTHAU (Owner BAM Racing Dodge Intrepid)

"No, I'm not going to fund it a second year.

"I'd like to thank Kenny for letting me drive his modified stock car at Pevely. I had the best time. I got sinus infection after it from all the dirt up my nose, but I had a great time and I love the track and I love speed.

"You guys are like a team, and being a team owner, you know it's hard to get out there every weekend. You're doing the same thing we're doing, and you're doing a great job."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Danny Lasoski