Indianapolis: Ken Schrader preview

Hoping to bring home a 'major-like' finish at Indy Ken Schrader and the ...

Hoping to bring home a 'major-like' finish at Indy

Ken Schrader and the #49 Red Baron Dodge head to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway for Sunday's Allstate 400; the 21st race of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

Driving a car emblazoned with the Red Baron frozen pizza colors this week, 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.

Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan's Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony's® and Freschetta® frozen pizzas, Pagoda® Asian specialties, and Larry's® potato side-dishes. Schwan's Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan's Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season

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 thoughts of Red Baron Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Indianapolis:

"Someone asked me last week to name four races in Nextel Cup that could be considered 'majors.' My first thought was, 'there's no way you can narrow it down to four.' But, I started thinking about it and came up with this. Obviously, the Daytona 500 is one. The Darlington race -- whatever used to be the Southern 500 - and the 600 at Charlotte would be two more; then it'd have to be Indy. Not necessarily in that order, I was just walking through the schedule in my head, but those four races probably have the most prestige as any we run.

"So, that means this week is a 'major;' kind of like raising the alert level to five. Obviously, Indy has become a huge deal. Virtually every team spends two days testing at Indy before we unload there on race weekend. Most teams bring brand new race cars designed specifically for Indy. The only other race on the circuit where the entire garage puts more time and energy into it is the Daytona 500. Indy is historic, challenging, and, hey, it pays pretty darned good too.

"The Red Baron Dodge was pretty good during testing a few weeks back. I think we ended up seventh overall on the speed charts. Now that's all well and good, but it doesn't mean a whole lot once everyone gets out there and starts turning laps on Friday. The repaving made this place a lot faster. It has a lot more grip, which means you don't have to stay off the gas quite as long getting down into the turns. Qualifying should be something else on Saturday.

"This is the most excited this team has been about going to Indy. Beth Ann is always excited about coming to Indy. She has a lot of memories of this place and she's been to more Indy 500s than just about everyone in the garage. The track is the oldest on the circuit and with that comes a lot of history; something you can really sense as you walk out onto the starting grid. It's hard to explain, but it's definitely there.

"Last time we took the Red Baron Dodge out we were pretty fast at Charlotte. Maybe it's something about the black and red paint scheme that makes it look faster, I don't know. I do know this a brand new racecar we're bringing to Indy. The only laps it has turned all year were testing there a few weeks ago. It felt good then and it should feel good this weekend. We're hoping to go out there and have a lot of fun at Indy and bring home a 'major-like' finish; and I believe we can do that."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader