Ken Schrader Earns Top-Five Finish, Boosts No. 2 in Owner's Point Standings NEWTON, Iowa (July 12, 2010) - In his first career start at Iowa Speedway, NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader earned his third straight top-10 and second consecutive top-five...
Ken Schrader Earns Top-Five Finish, Boosts No. 2 in Owner's Point Standings
NEWTON, Iowa (July 12, 2010) - In his first career start at Iowa Speedway, NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader earned his third straight top-10 and second consecutive top-five finish, crossing the finish line fourth in the No. 2 Premier Chevy Dealers Chevrolet Silverado. Schrader's strong performance boosted the No. 2 to third in the Owner's Point standings, 45 points behind the No. 30 team, keeping the team in the hunt for the NASCAR Owner's Point Championship.
"The team worked so hard," said Schrader after emerging from his truck. "My inexperience at this track didn't help us during practice or qualifying, but the team got this truck where we needed to be and we wound up having a great day. We did everything we needed to do today, and I know that we are so close to getting this truck into Victory Lane."
After a morning of rain showers at the 0.875-mile tri-oval, the skies cleared for an on-time start to the Lucas Oil 200. Starting 13th after a 23.821 second (132.236 mph) qualifying effort, Schrader quickly gained two positions, but struggled with the handling of his truck before moving into the top 10 on lap 33.
The No. 2 team took the opportunity to adjust the No. 2 Chevrolet when the first caution flag of the day waved on lap 40, and Schrader informed crew chief Butch Hylton that the truck was too tight entering the turns, but was turning too freely upon exiting. Hylton called for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Schrader was able to pick up two positions on pit road as the team performed a stellar pit stop.
Returning to the track in the eighth position on lap 46, Schrader commented that the adjustments during the pit stop had reversed the condition of the truck, which was now entering the turns too freely and becoming harder to turn on exit. He sank back to the 11th position on lap 58, where he remained until the caution flag waved again on lap 76. The team discussed the adjustments they wanted to make to the truck, but when most of the leaders opted not to pit, Hylton made the decision that the No. 2 would follow suit. Restarting in the 9th position on lap 81, Schrader once again slipped to 11th, holding the position until the caution flag waved on lap 105.
Within a fuel window which would allow the team to make it to the end of the race without pitting again, Schrader brought the Premier Chevy Dealers machine down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and a track-bar adjustment. Hylton informed Schrader that he would have enough fuel to make it to the end, but requested that he attempt to save fuel under caution to ensure they had enough in the event of an overtime green-white-checkered finish.
Restarting 11th on lap 113, Schrader radioed into the crew that the handling of the truck was much better, The caution flag waved only two laps later for a five-truck wreck directly in front of the No. 2. Schrader skillfully navigated around the melee, but his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) teammate Ron Hornaday had nowhere to go in his No. 33 Karl Chevrolet truck, and received heavy front-end damage which sent him to the garage for 34 laps. With several of the leaders now out of the race, Schrader advanced to the sixth position when the green flag waved on lap 121.
The racing action was three-wide after the restart, but Schrader maintained his position until the caution waved on lap 173. Schrader stated that he had been driving conservatively despite the hard racing on the track, aiming to conserve fuel and tires for the end of the race. Restarting on lap 179, Schrader's conservation paid off, and he immediately nabbed the fifth position. Battling hard with his competitors, Schrader earned the fourth position and held off the trucks behind him until the final caution of the day on Lap 198. Once again, Schrader's fuel and tire management worked to his benefit, allowing him to race into overtime when the race went to a green-white-checkered restart while several other competitors ran out of fuel. Restarting for the final time on lap 203, Schrader held off the competition behind him to cross the finish line fourth, five laps after the race's scheduled distance.
After a dominating performance, rookie Austin Dillon earned his first career victory, followed by Johnny Sauter in second, Matt Crafton in third and James Buescher rounding out the top five in the fifth position. The No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado moved up one position in the Owner's Point standings, now sitting only 45 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Friday, July 16, for the CampingWorld.com 200 at Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway, where Kevin Harvick will be behind the wheel of the No. 2.