Schrader Scores Team's Second-Best Finish of '08 at Talladega Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing, overcame early race electrical problems and survived a wreck-filled AMP Energy 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup...
Schrader Scores Team's Second-Best Finish of '08 at Talladega
Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing, overcame early race electrical problems and survived a wreck-filled AMP Energy 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to bring home a 16th-place finish -- the team's second-best result of 2008.
With electrical problems hampering the No. 96 Toyota at the outset of the scheduled 500-mile event, Schrader quickly lost ground in the early laps and lost contact with the lead draft. On lap 18, with the leaders approaching less than a straightaway behind him, Schrader hooked up with series point leader Jimmie Johnson, who was trailing well behind Schrader with problems of his own, in an attempt to catch back up with the pack. But by lap 30, Schrader and Johnson could hold off the leaders no longer and fell a lap off the pace.
The day's first caution flag flew on lap 33, sending Schrader to the pits to replace the alternator belt. The lengthy stop on lap 35, and a follow-up stop to complete the repair one lap later, cost Schrader and the No. 96 team a second lap to the leaders.
Schrader continued to bide his time at the back of the pack while a series of single- and multi-car accidents brought out the caution flag, typical of superspeedway racing. A lap-81 caution, with Schrader in the "Lucky Dog" position, got him back to within a lap of the leaders in 30th place. A lap-103 caution got Schrader back on the lead lap, and shortly thereafter, he was able to crack the top-25 for the first time. He was running in 27th 14 laps from the scheduled 188-lap race distance when he was able to maneuver unscathed through the day's biggest wreck, which took out 12 cars in front of him. He was able to hold his position the rest of the way for the team's best finish since J.J. Yeley came home third in June at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
"Early in the race, we had electrical problems that ultimately cost us a couple of laps on the race track," Schrader said. "We came in and changed alternator belts -- which fixed what was wrong with it. We caught a couple of cautions, which put us back on the lead lap, but I knew I didn't have a car that could run with the big boys, so I played it the other way. I've been around long enough to know
that if you don't have the horse to run with the leaders, you do what you can to get the best finish possible. We ended up with a
top-20 run, so all in all, not a bad day. We'll move on to Charlotte and get what we can there."
With the 16th-place finish, the No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing entry gained one position and now sits 38th in the series' owner standings with 1,996 points, 328 markers behind the 35th-place No. 7 entry of Robby Gordon Motorsports.