Michigan: Ken Schrader preview

Ken Schrader - Looking to duplicate California Ken Schrader and the ...

Ken Schrader - Looking to duplicate California

Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge head to the two-mile Michigan Speedway, located in Brooklyn, Mich., for Sunday's Batman Begins 400; the 15th 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's fast. Now, what this means is you better have your act together when the green flag drops. If not, the leader will be breathing down your neck in a hurry. Michigan is wide and fast, plenty of room to race, and generally doesn't have too many cautions. We're sure to see a lot of long green flag runs. All it takes is a tweak in the wrong direction, or a loose lug nut, and suddenly you're a couple laps down. But, at the start if you're off, you're going to be a lap down early on.

"Now, you don't want that to happen, but if it does, at least you're at Michigan. Because of that, and because we're going to have several green flag stops, you can roll the dice on a pit stop, maybe take only two tires or gas only, then maybe get a timely caution, and you can get a lap back. Of course, if the caution doesn't fall, it's not going to help anything, but at least you have some options.

"A couple years ago, we played fuel strategy here and ended up in pretty good shape. We were running about 20th or something like that and decided we would play fuel strategy and bet that the race stayed green. It stayed green to the end and we ended up finishing seventh. That's a pretty good feeling when everyone in front of you starts to pit and you know, or at least hope, you can make it to the end.

"That's the thing about crew chiefs when you play fuel strategy. You're out on the race track thinking, 'Man, there's no way we can make it to the finish; we pitted too early.' So, you call over the radio and say, 'David, (Hyder, crew chief of the #49 Schwan's Dodge) are you sure we can make it to the end?' Then he always answers back, 'Yeah, you're good.' That's alright as long as we make it, but you never can tell with crew chiefs.

"A lot of people compare Michigan to California and they are very similar. Hopefully that means we'll be as good at Michigan as we were at California earlier this year. We tested at California earlier this year, knowing that we could take what we learned there and apply it to Michigan as well. The test paid off at California.

"Just like Michigan will be, California was an impound race. We didn't qualify that well, but we made up for it in the race. We were fast all day and had there been about 10 more laps, we'd have finished in the top 10. That's what this Schwan's Home Service team will be shooting for this week at Michigan; a top-10 finish."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader