DETROIT (April 11, 2000) - Ken Schrader and his M&M's Pontiac teammates were good in the Daytona 500 back in February, posting a season-best ninth-place finish. But 'good' isn't all that Schrader wants to be. Schrader, who won his first career...
DETROIT (April 11, 2000) - Ken Schrader and his M&M's Pontiac teammates were good in the Daytona 500 back in February, posting a season-best ninth-place finish. But 'good' isn't all that Schrader wants to be.
Schrader, who won his first career race at Talladega Superspeedway on July 31, 1988, wants to be great week-in and weed-out. He joined MB2 Motorsports at the end of the 1999 season, and although the team has posted just one top-10 and two top-15 finishes thus far, Schrader is still focused on running up front as he returns to the site of his first career victory.
THOUGHTS FROM KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...on his season to this point: "We've struggled some. About half of the races we've been pretty good and still haven't finished real good for whatever reasons, and the other half we've struggled. Qualifying, we haven't been able to hit our butt with both hands. We've been really caught off guard there. It's been a little better here the last couple weeks. I'm just very surprised. At least we're finishing races and we're salvaging some kind of mid-field run so we're not getting ourselves buried in a hole as far as points go. That way when we do figure out what it takes to get us going better we won't be buried."
...on staying in the top 15 in points despite a slow start: "Fifteenth was definitely not what we were thinking when we all started into this deal. But there are a lot of cars that are a lot farther back right now that are good cars that have dug themselves into a hole."
...can the team have a good run at Talladega?: "Most definitely. We're taking a different car than we ran in the Daytona 500. We're taking the car we ran in the Bud Shootout, which we think is a little faster car. We elected to go with a different car (for the Daytona 500) because we thought it might handle a little better in a long run. But at Talladega the handling element isn't involved near as much as it is at Daytona, so we feel real good about going to Talladega."
...his impressions of the superspeedway rules in 2000: "At Daytona they rode good. They were kind of a handful to drive. But I kind of stay out of that deal - and it's no big deal - because whatever they tell us the rules are, that's what they are going to be and we've just got to drive them anyway. I think this new package that they came up with, as far as them letting us do what we want in the front and them controlling the back, is probably going to be a little better."
...on the extra races he runs outside of Winston Cup: "We don't really get full-swing until June, July and August. Now we're just running the (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) truck, and then we've got a couple of Winston West races coming up, and then our off-weekend in May we're going to be dirt racing and ARCA racing and all kinds of stuff. I always look forward to that time of the year starting up. But our number one focus is for sure that M&M's Grand Prix."
...does the additional racing make him sharper as a Winston Cup driver?: "I don't think it makes you sharper. I don't think it hurts you. Obviously these cats that don't do anything else are plenty sharp. It's just a case that as a hobby, I elect to do that instead of going golfing, or fishing, or boating or something. That's what I enjoy doing. I don't think it helps or hurts."
...on owning I-55 Speedway in Peveley, Missouri: "That's a lot of fun. I was never dead-set on getting a racetrack. It's just a nice little place there at home. Ray and Sue Marlar are good friends of mine that I drove for for a number of years. He had a track down the road. He was wanting to do something else so we decided to do something together. I was just really looking to do something with them - some type of business venture. We've done that and just had a tremendous amount of fun. It hasn't been tremendously profitable. But it's doing alright. It's a whole lot of fun. I'm obviously not involved in the day-to-day runnings of it, but I do get a couple phone calls a day about it."
...does he see similarities between the business of racing at a short-track level and at the NASCAR Winston Cup level?: "Most definitely. You've got all the same problems. You've got to get the people in and out. You've got to keep the tickets affordable. You've got to keep the cost of the cars within some kind of parameters that everybody can afford. You have to be able to pay enough money so these guys can afford to run the cars. It's all the same problems, all the same basic business principles, just a lot less zeros."
...will he ever own more than one racetrack?: "One is pretty many. No, I don't really foresee that. It's not a goal. It's just something fun. It's something I'm enjoying a little more every year. But I just want to take that one place - it's a nice little place now - and just keep making it a little nicer."