Sympathy from a track owner/promoter Ken Schrader and the ...
Sympathy from a track owner/promoter
Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge this week return to the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, located in Concord, N.C., for Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500; the 31st race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season and the fifth in the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."
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 team is owned by Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau, investors from Coral Gables, Fla. Ms. Morgenthau, whose initials make up the name of the team -- BAM Racing -- is the only female car owner in motorsports to become involved without prior family connections. General manager Eddie Jones is a veteran of the NASCAR Nextel Cup wars, enjoying a championship career as a crew chief, mechanic and team leader. Crew chief David Hyder has over 20 years of racing experience both driving and as a chief mechanic.
The Schwan Food Company is a privately held manufacturer and marketer of fine frozen foods through its nationwide Schwan's Home Service home-delivery service, its Schwan's Consumer Brands North America retail grocery business, and its Schwan's Food Service Group foodservice unit. Headquartered in Marshall, Minn., Schwan's production and distribution activities in the United States and Europe employ 24,000 people. Among its well-known brands are Schwan's®, Tony's®, Red Baron®, Freschetta®, Pagoda®, Mrs. Smith's®, and Edwards®.
The thoughts of Schwan's Home Service Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Lowe's:
"Ever since Charlotte grinded the track or used that levigating procedure or whatever they call it, they've caught a lot of heat. I'm sure it didn't help that we went down there in May and set a record for number for cautions.
"Personally, I didn't mind it that much. The track definitely drove differently but we seemed to get used to it pretty quick and we ended up with a top-10 finish. I might be feeling a little different had the Schwan's car been one of those 22 cautions, but I thought the biggest difference was just how much faster the track was to drive.
"As a track owner and promoter myself, I can understand the balance of making both the fans and the drivers happy. The fans want to see close racing. I know a lot of people think fans want to see wrecking, but I have to believe true fans of the sport just want to see close, exciting racing. Sure, wrecks are exciting; believe me, they're even more exciting when you're in them. But, you start having too many wrecks or have too many cars taken out and it just takes away from the show. I don't know many people who want to see cars ride around under caution for half the race.
"Most drivers want room to pass. They want a multi-grooved race track where they can run side-by-side through the corners and don't have to run into to one another to make a pass, and they want to be reassured that the track has done everything to ensure their safety.
"The bottom line is the track needs the competitors to put on the show so that they can fill the seats, and they need the seats filled with fans so that they can continue to put on the show and hopefully increase their bottom line. But, what it boils down to is without the fans, you have nothing. There are a ton of guys and girls out there who are going to always want to race something and they're going to find somewhere to race. But, without those fans in the stands everyone's going to be operating on a much smaller budget from top to bottom.
"For this Schwan's Home Service team we hope to give our fans something to cheer about. May worked pretty well for us at Charlotte. We were fast both weeks and ended up finishing in the top 10. A repeat performance would mean a lot for this team. The guys have been working their tails off, but the results haven't necessarily shown it lately. A good run at Charlotte could be a great lift for everyone and maybe start a little momentum through the end of the year."