Kansas City: Kenny Schrader homecoming

Kenny Schrader looking forward to homecoming at Kansas City race track. Hackettstown, N.J. (September 24, 2002) - For Kenny Schrader, the trip to Kansas Speedway is about as close as the Winston Cup circuit gets to his hometown of Fenton, ...

Kenny Schrader looking forward to homecoming at Kansas City race track.

Hackettstown, N.J. (September 24, 2002) - For Kenny Schrader, the trip to Kansas Speedway is about as close as the Winston Cup circuit gets to his hometown of Fenton, Mo.

It's a 250-mile trip from the race track to the small Missouri town where Schrader grew up and where his racing career was born.

Schrader started racing right in his backyard - driving a go-kart in circles until it ran out of gas and then asking to go some more.

The day after his 16th birthday (and the day before he got his driver's license) Schrader captured his first checkered flag at Lake Hill Speedway in St. Louis.

Schrader exhibited his racing prowess in front of fans at dirt tracks in Missouri, Kansas and across the Midwest years before moving up to the Winston Cup series.

Now, those same fans file into Kansas Speedway to cheer for their hometown boy who is definitely a fan favorite.

"I couldn't be happier that NASCAR added this race track last year," Schrader said. "Coming to Kansas last year for the first time was really a lot of fun for me. I love coming back to the Midwest because this is where it all started for me. This is where I fell in love with racing."

When NASCAR made the decision to build a facility in Kansas City, Schrader said he couldn't have been more excited. He was part of the groundbreaking ceremonies at Kansas Speedway about six years ago, and he followed the track's progress as it was being constructed.

When construction was finished and the gates opened for last year's inaugural event, Schrader was thrilled with the race track - the surface, the racing groove and the overall facility.

"Kansas is a top-notch facility. I can't applaud NASCAR enough for the facility they built there," Schrader said. "The track already had two pretty good racing grooves when we unloaded there. From what I remember, it was a pretty good and exciting race. I expect it will only be better this time because tracks usually get better with age."

That being said, Schrader is looking forward to the circuit's second visit to Kansas. He hopes that his homecoming will be a happy one for himself and the entire "M&M's"® Racing Team.

"We've had some really good runs recently, so we're just hoping to build on those," Schrader said. "If we can get a good starting spot and just stay away from the bad luck, I think that the "M&M's"® team will really put on a good show for the fans.

"I would love to come away with a top-10 for the hometown crowd. They've supported me for years, and I sure would like to give them something to cheer about."

-m&mr-

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Series NASCAR Cup