Ken Schrader Richmond Preview

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Richmond, Va., was the site of many fierce battles during the Civil War. But long after the war ended, battles continue to be waged at the historical city. Twice a year the NASCAR Winston Cup Series roars into town to compete...

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Richmond, Va., was the site of many fierce battles during the Civil War. But long after the war ended, battles continue to be waged at the historical city. Twice a year the NASCAR Winston Cup Series roars into town to compete at Richmond International Raceway. The three-quarter-mile paved oval produces some of the best on-track battles of the racing season. Richmond became the capital of the Confederate States of America in 1861, which made the city a prime military target. Besides being a political target, Richmond was a medical and manufacturing center and the primary supply depot for the troops that were operating on the Confederate's northern frontier. Seven major military drives were launched on the city of Richmond, which resulted in the Seven Days Battle that eventually brought the Confederacy down. Although Richmond was eventually evacuated and severe fires damaged warehouses and factories in the business district, the city was never conquered. Over a century later and on a different battlefield, Ken Schrader and his Skoal Racing team are seeking to conquer Richmond. "Richmond has been a good track for the Skoal Racing team," said Schrader. "I always look forward to the races at Richmond. The Sawyers (the family that owns the facility), have done a fantastic job making the track one of the best short tracks we race at during the NASCAR Winston Cup season."

The Skoal Racing team put themselves in position to capture victory in the 1998 spring race at Richmond. Schrader ran among the top five for most of the event. When the yellow flag flew in the closing laps of the race, Andy Petree made the call for Schrader to remain on the track. This call advanced Schrader to second position, putting him in position to win the race. "We ran real strong in both races last year," said Schrader. "We put ourselves in position to win, something you need to do in order to win the race. Although we came up short, we still came home with a solid fourth-place finish." The Skoal Racing team returned to Richmond in the fall and repeated their solid performance. Schrader started second -- just missing the pole position -- led laps and ran in the top five for the entire race. "Last fall's race at Richmond was another solid run for the Skoal Racing team," said Schrader. "We were able to lead some laps and ran third for most of the race. We were running third in the last few laps of the race, but the late race battle with Mark Martin moved us back to fourth." "Schrader gets around the short tracks extremely well," said Sam Johns, crew chief for the Skoal Racing team. "He has a real knack for the tight battles on the track and can race side by side without a problem. It takes a lot of practice to figure out when to brake on the short tracks. The further you can drive into the corners, the quicker you can get around the track. "Schrader has got Richmond figured out. We'll be looking to better our fourth-place finishes, and put the No. 33 Skoal Racing Monte Carlo in position to win at the end of the race. You've got to be in the position to win to take advantage of a late race battle that could take out the front few cars. We're going to make sure we put Schrader in that position this weekend." Richmond, Va., made the history books after its involvement in the Civil War. But this weekend, Schrader and his Skoal Racing team hope to make the NASCAR Winston Cup history books after a late race battle among the leaders. Only this time, Schrader plans to take the checkered flag first.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader , Andy Petree , Mark Martin