Looking to turn around recent Daytona luck Ken Schrader and the ...
Looking to turn around recent Daytona luck
Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge head to the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, for Saturday's Pepsi 400; the 17th race of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.
Driver of the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge, Schrader is a native of Fenton, Mo. The busiest driver in major league motorsports, Schrader 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 Daytona:
"Well, Daytona used to be, and still sort of is, the center point of the year, you just kind of regroup and refocus. It's not like we get a break or anything this week, so you still have to hit it a few more weeks in a row. But still, you get back to Daytona and it feels good. We had some bad luck last time out at Daytona in the Schwan's Home Service Dodge. The 500 didn't turn out like we had hoped, but we're taking a brand new car down there this time. It's been to the wind tunnel a couple times already and we're pretty optimistic about what kind of package we'll have this time around.
"The plate races have become sort of a roll of the dice. There have been times at both Talladega and Daytona where we've had a really good race car, run in the top 15 or top 10 all day, then they start wrecking from about third place on back; suddenly we're parked with a 40th-place finish. Other times we might have a car that's decent, but we're able to avoid all of the accidents and end up with a top 10. You just never know with restrictor plate racing. A good rule of thumb: if you can avoid the wrecks and keep everything together, then you'll probably have a good day -- or night, in this case.
"Daytona and Talladega get put together a lot because they're the only two tracks where we run plates. But, they're most definitely two different animals. Your car has to handle pretty good at Daytona, where at Talladega it really doesn't make a bit of difference how your car handles. You can't really get a car handling really bad at Talladega. But, you better have one that can handle a little bit a Daytona or you could be in for a long night.
"There's a little bit of difference in the banking at the bigger track; at Talladega it's a little bigger track with a little steeper banking, you have a bigger radius in the turns, all of that stuff makes a big difference when you're out there racing. Daytona is a tighter radius and the track is a little narrower. You can run three wide, and we usually do, all day long at Talladega without too much of a problem, but, not at Daytona. Coming off of (turn) four or two at Daytona, it gets pretty tight if you're three wide. That's why you'll see most of the accidents happen there.
"Lately, we've had some bad luck at Daytona, but we're looking forward to getting down there and racing under the lights. We have a brand new race car and this Schwan's team has a lot of enthusiasm about going down to Daytona this weekend. Only 400 miles this time, means this race gets over with pretty quickly, but you have to make sure you're patient out there if you want to be around at the end. If not, your Pepsi 400 will get over with a lot quicker."