Ken Schrader Interview Martinsville Preview

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1999. KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I guess my favorite thing about Martinsville is just that it's close to home. It's not one of my favorite tracks. We haven't run that strong up there, but we usually...

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1999.

KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"I guess my favorite thing about Martinsville is just that it's close to home. It's not one of my favorite tracks. We haven't run that strong up there, but we usually end up with some kind of decent finish. I just prefer the places that are a little faster.

"It's good to know what's going to happen in the next couple of seasons. We're going to be driving the MB2 Motorsports car and have the Mars sponsorship. That's exciting. Going through it all and the little bit of turmoil it created and stuff, that wasn't much fun, but it's kind of a business decision we thought we needed to do. We've got seven more races this year, and it's very important to finish those as strong as we can. We came off a very bad run last weekend at Dover. We had a solid run going at New Hampshire. We should have been in the top 10, but we had a little bit of a driver error late in the race and ended up 34th. We had a bad run last week, so we've got to redeem ourselves a little bit when we get to Martinsville.

"We use Hendrick engines and a lot of Hendrick chassis at the M&Ms team, but it is not owned by Hendrick Motorsports. We're like indirectly connected to them. As far as what's going on over there at the present, I'm not involved at all, so it really doesn't affect us at the 33 car or the 36 team. I'm not 100 percent aware that I even know everything that's going on over there. I haven't been paying that much attention because it's not my team. We're worried about making the Skoal car go as fast as it can, so I haven't stayed up on all that.

"I got to test it (2000 Monte Carlo) a couple of days in St. Louis, and I think it's going to be a good little race car.

"I still don't think of driving as being rough on you. It's what we love to do. The thing about some place like Martinsville or Bristol, you think 500 laps is a long time, but what you judge by is the amount of time in the car. That race doesn't take that long when it runs without many yellows, and we don't seem to have a ton of yellows at Martinsville. Goodyear brings a real good tire there that the speeds don't fall off that much. You get done with that race pretty quick. It's the same basic short track, flatter track type car.

"As far as all the hype, I don't care about that. You're sitting in the car and talking about race tracks, hype doesn't make any difference. I do like Charlotte a lot. It's a fast race track. It's plenty multi-grooved. We wind up running from the bottom of the race track all the way up to three-fourths of the way to the wall. I think that's what makes drivers enjoy different race tracks. You can actually race on them and move around and be multi-grooved. I enjoy going different places. I wouldn't want to run the same type place every week, but you've still got the ones you prefer to go to over the other ones. Martinsville is kind of neat in the fact that NASCAR has been going there for so long and you think about the pictures of Red Byron who won the first race there and how dirty he was when he got out of the car when it was still dirt. There's a lot of tradition when you go there.

"Andy (Petree) and I and Patti (Petree) are doing fine. It happened pretty quick. We did not have a signed contract. In fact, I never had a contract in my possession up until after I told him. As far as legally, there was nothing there. It was feelings and friendship. They're very good friends. It was a tough decision. It was a business decision that I thought I needed to do, but our relationship is pretty much straightened out and everything is back to normal. Obviously, with not driving for them, it's a little bit different, but as far as being friends, and talking and going to the race track and trying to do as good as we can, and enjoying ourselves and laughing and eating dinner together and doing that, we're doing that. Andy Petree is somebody that if I were in trouble in the middle of the night it's one of the first places I'd call. I think he knows that he could call our house, too, and I'd come to do whatever I could to help those people. I enjoy being around them and their friendship very much.

"It (36 team) is not the fourth Hendrick team. This team is not owned by Rick. It's not run out of Rick's shop. It's a totally separate team that uses their engines. They've got a wonderful engine program and we'll use some of their chassis. It's not the fourth Hendrick team.

"Not that I wouldn't want to drive the 36 (the rest of '99), but I've got a real good car to drive and it's the 33, the Skoal car for the rest of the '99 season, and I'm looking very much forward to finishing this season in the car I started the year with. That's our goal there. We've got the car 13th in points. We've got to get it up higher, and I want to finish the year right where I'm at. I haven't even thought about that. When all of this happened, I'd do whatever we needed to do and whatever made the best sense for everybody, but I'm sure hoping to finish the year right where I'm at.

"I've talked to Ernie (Irvan) quite a bit. I talked to Ernie this morning as a matter of fact. Ernie and I are good friends. I think he's glad to see we're going in it. Obviously, it's hard for him because that's his race car and he's not getting to drive it, but I'm looking forward to Ernie helping us some over there, and I think that he's comfortable with it. Whatever (design) they want to put on there, and it looks like it's going to be M&Ms.

"I know I'm going to a good race team, but I was driving for a good race team and still am driving for a good race team. If it boiled right down to it and you had to point for one thing, right now I'm over at the 36 team because it's 15 minutes from my house. It's a place I can get to easy, and I can spend a lot of time there. That would probably be one of the key reasons for making the switch.

"Maybe I look at this all wrong, but I've driven so many different type cars and still do drive a lot of different cars. Ya'll try to make this harder than it is. We've got this circle, whether it be Martinsville or Talladega. We're strapped in this car as tight as we can get in. We've got a steering wheel and two pedals that really only make any difference, just the gas and the brake. Our job is just to go around that circle as fast as we can. We do all the same things mentally at about all the places. Maybe if you want to talk mental strain, when you're in the middle of one of them 30-car drafts at Talladega and there's cars on both sides of you, that gets a little stressful there, but we do the same basic thing every weekend, no matter where we're at."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader , Andy Petree
Teams Hendrick Motorsports