Watkins Glen: Ken Schrader preview

'The more cars you can pass off the track, the better' Ken Schrader and the ...

'The more cars you can pass off the track, the better'

Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge head to the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International Raceway for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen, the second and final road-course race and 22nd overall 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 Watkins Glen:

"Track position is the name of the game. Well, that can be said almost everywhere we go, but at a road course it's an absolute rule. Some tracks are big enough and wide enough that you can pass guys on the track just by racing side by side. Like California Speedway for example; I think we qualified back around 38th. Now, we didn't do anything special to gain track position during the race, like only taking two tires or short pitting, or something like that, but, we were able to drive up through the field for a top-15 finish.

"Safe to say, if you qualify back in 38th this weekend, it's going to be a long uphill battle. The track is narrow, flat, and, heck, it's a road course. There just aren't many places you can pass each other on the track. Because of that, you'll see guys a little more willing to roll the dice on pit strategy in order to pick up track position. The more cars you can pass off the track, not literally, but with qualifying and pit strategy, the better off you're going to be.

"Road courses in general are just so challenging, especially considering it's different from every other racetrack we run at. The principals are the same; get through to turn quick and be able to pick up the throttle soon. Problem is, on a road course, there are 11 or 12 different, unique turns; on an oval there are two turns that are usually similar. You have to take care of your equipment. With so many turns and all the different times you have to shift, there are a lot of opportunities to beat yourself out there. My thinking when it comes to road course: don't miss a shift, stay on the black stuff, and you can come out of there with a pretty good finish.

"Watkins Glen is a pretty neat racetrack in a pretty cool part of the country. Some folks don't realize it but New York as a whole is quite a hot bed for racing. I think the state ranks third or fourth overall, nationally in number of race tracks. During my career, I've raced at over 20 tracks in New York alone. The Glen is fun and unique for sure, but they've got some pretty neat short tracks up there as well, including Corning, Fonda, and Oswego.

"We were going to be pretty good at Sonoma earlier this year. We qualified in the top-20 and were able to pick up some positions early on. But, we had some battery issues that really handicapped for the rest of the day. My point is, had it not been for those issues we could have had a pretty good day. So, spirits are high on this Schwan's Home Service team heading to Watkins Glen this weekend. We think we can be just as good there as we were at Sonoma."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader