Ken Schrader and the ...
Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge head this week to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, for Sunday's Banquet 400; the 30th race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season and the fourth 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 Kansas:
"Kansas is important to many teams for many reasons. I can think of about 10 teams where Kansas seems really important right now. For us, it's important to run well there because our owner Beth Ann (Morgenthau) is from Kansas City and obviously everyone wants to do well when they return home. She's no different; she wants to do well and for us to do well. She's pretty competitive and hopefully this Schwan's team will give her something to be proud of this weekend.
"We're both from the Midwest and, obviously pretty fanatical about racing. There are so many tracks through Kansas and Missouri and Iowa. I grew up in the Indiana-Illinois area running all those tracks. Any time I go home to Missouri or the Midwest, and that includes Kansas City, I consider that home, too. It's nice to get back to Kansas Speedway.
"The track itself is top notch. It's one of the newer if not the newest on the circuit. You can tell too. The track is ultra smooth, plenty of room; it's fun to race because there's plenty of room to race. Every time we go to Kansas it seems the racing gets better than the year before, and I'm expecting the same this year.
"We're in the thick of the Chase now and it's hard not to get caught up in what's happening. When they announced The Chase format last year I was not in favor of it. I didn't think our system needed to be changed, but I converted over to a fan of it real quick. I think it really has put a lot of energy into our sport. I know I got caught up into it just seeing who was going to be sixth through 10th. When you were watching everybody fifth through 15th in points, just seeing who was going to get in. There's no telling with seven races to go who's a favorite to win.
"All of us are racing for something. For the top-10 teams, they're obviously racing for a championship. But, for the rest of us, we're not only racing for the win each week, but we're also racing for each position in the points championship. Each position pays more than the next and it's important for this Schwan's Home Service team to get stay inside the top-30 in points. Plus, we're looking to continue to improve for next 2006. For that reason, and the boss being from here, Kansas is just as important to us as it is for everyone else."