Schrader hopes to win the battle; Stewart focused on the war. DETROIT, Mich., Sept. 25, 2002 - There are a total of 25 spots that separate Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings with eight races to go. While that...
Schrader hopes to win the battle; Stewart focused on the war.
DETROIT, Mich., Sept. 25, 2002 - There are a total of 25 spots that separate Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings with eight races to go. While that spread may make their points of view different, the two drivers and their teams share the same goal as the series prepares for this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway.
Running up front and contending for the victory are all that Schrader and Stewart are interested in this weekend. For Schrader, who was named NASCAR's third quarter "Person of the Year" on Monday, a run like that would provide the kind of boost he needs to finish what has been a challenging year on a positive note. The same type of run for Stewart could bring him one step closer to his first Winston Cup title in just his fourth season.
Although Schrader still seeks his first top-10 finish of 2002, the past eight weeks have returned four finishes among the top 14. Stewart, who is a three-time winner this season, finds himself ranked third in the standings, just 74 points out of the top spot.
Thoughts From Ken Schrader, No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix:
HOW DO YOU ACCESS YOUR TEAM HEADING INTO THIS WEEK'S RACE? "We're gaining - we really are. There is no question; the gains have come a little slower and a little smaller than what we hoped this year. But, the past six or eight weeks - for the most part - we've consistently run a little bit better and that's how you've got to do it.
"We need a break-out weekend. We just need a boost. This weekend would be a great time for that to happen. That's for sure."
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON KANSAS SPEEDWAY? "It's a beautiful racetrack. We didn't have a lot of fun there last year, but that wasn't the track. We just had one of those weekends - wrecked in practice, qualified the backup car mid-pack and had something break during the race. It wouldn't take much for this time to be a whole lot more fun."
IS IT VERY "RACEABLE?" "It'll get better. But, a lot of new tracks aren't very raceable. It's just part of being new. Over time it will get better and better, and it's not bad now."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE NAMED NASCAR'S "PERSON OF THE YEAR" FOR THE THIRD QUARTER? "It just means we had a really good event and my name was on it.
"No, it means a lot. It's pretty neat. It is an honor. There are so many good and dedicated people in this garage area that I'm honored to be included in that group. I never would have imagined how big [the M&M's Night of Stars] would be. I wanted to take a group of guys to the track in Pevely (Schrader's short track in Pevely, Mo.), have a good time and raise money for a good cause. We set a goal, but I never would have guessed that we would surpass it. This award should really be given to everyone who helped make the night such a big success. I'm just happy that I was able to be a part of, and I'm grateful for the award."
DO YOU THINK CHARITY WORK IS PART OF YOUR JOB? "It's part of everybody's job - not just because you're a Winston Cup driver. Anybody. Everybody. You should help out, if and when you can."
Thoughts From Greg Zipadelli, Crew Chief, No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HEADING TO KANSAS SPEEDWAY THIS WEEK? "We feel pretty good about it. We ran fifth or sixth pretty much all day there last year and ended up eighth. We ran really well at Chicago this year, we ran well at Michigan, we ran really well at California. We've just worked really hard on those 'mile-and-a-half-type' racetracks this year.
"We're looking forward to going back. We had a car good enough to win at Chicago earlier this year - other than the fuel mileage problems that we had there, so we're definitely looking forward to going to Kansas. I don't know that there is a racetrack coming up at the end of the year that we don't run good or don't feel we can go and win at. That's a pretty positive thing."