Michigan II: Ken Schrader preview

Michigan: as good a place as any to gamble' Ken Schrader and the ...

Michigan: as good a place as any to gamble'

Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge return to the Irish Hills of Michigan and the two-mile Michigan Speedway this week for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400, the 23rd race of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

Driver of the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge, Schrader is a native of Fenton, Mo. The busiest driver in major league motorsports, Schrader 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 Michigan:

"Michigan always allows you to roll the dice, and considering how close the season is to the 'cut-off' for the championship, you're probably going to see a few guys really take that gamble. You can gamble at every track, but play fuel mileage at Michigan and it seems to pay off more often. So because of that, Michigan is as good a place as any to gamble. It's getting crunch time for those four or five guys right outside the top 10. Don't be surprised if you see a couple of those guys do a two-tire stop or fuel only or something like that towards the end of this race in order to sneak out a good finish.

"Two years ago up at Michigan, we did that and it worked out pretty good. We were running along about 20th and just played the fuel strategy right and ended up finishing eighth. That's a pretty good feeling. You know you're running about 20th, and you're sitting there hoping it just stays green the rest of the way. When it works out, it's a pretty good feeling. You keep seeing guys pull into the pits and you're thinking, 'Alright, there's one more spot, there's another and another.' Then finally you ask, 'Where are we running?' Come to find out you're up to 10th. Then you just hope not to run out of gas.

"Some of those guys on the bubble for the playoff would give a nice piece of change to sneak out a good finish on fuel mileage. Of course, they'd give a lot to have a good finish no matter how they could get it these days -- heck, we all would. That's one thing that some folks lose sight of. Yes, the 'Chase' is good for the sport and it probably makes the last 10 races a little more exciting, but for most of us, the goal stays the same every Sunday; we want to do as well as possible, run a solid race, and have a chance to win.

"I know that's what we're going to be doing this weekend. We were really good out at California (Michigan's sister track) earlier this year. We didn't qualify that well, but come time for the race, we were a top-10 race car. The same thing happened at Michigan in June. We didn't qualify very well, but we were flying up through the field when something broke on the right front. Still, even with the mechanical issues we manage to finish the race. It wasn't great, but it could have a lot worse.

"With Michigan and California now only a few weeks apart, hopefully we'll be able to pick up some positions in the points. If we can be as good the second time around at these two tracks as we were the first time, then we could build some momentum for ourselves. We tested at California knowing that it translates to Michigan and when we've tested this season, we've been pretty good when we go back to those tracks. Along with the couple of two-mile ovals, we have Bristol and Richmond in there. This could be a pretty good stretch for the Schwan's Home Service team; one we're looking forward to for sure."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader