From an ARCA race at MIS, to a graduation ceremony in NC, first time for everything, even for Schrader
13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
There's not much that Ken Schrader has not tried in American motorsports. From his USAC open wheel championships to the top tier divisions in NASCAR, Schrader has been there, and done that.
At 59 years young, the Fenton, Missouri native is on track to race in as many as 90 races in 2014, which has been common practice for the racing icon for decades.
Schrader, as many know, has also been a steady fixture on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour since the 1980's. Since his series debut at Daytona in 1981, Schrader, in 66 career ARCA starts, has 17 wins among 44 top-five finishes, 17 Menards by Ansell Pole Awards and has led an impressive 2,402 laps overall. He's also won on all of ARCA's wide range of track types to include speedways, paved short tracks, dirt tracks (half-mile and mile) and road courses,
one of only six drivers in history to win in all four of these aforementioned categories.
However, remarkably, there is one thing that Schrader has not done yet...and that would be to race an ARCA car at Michigan Int'l Speedway. But that all changes this Friday, June 13 when the 33rd Corrigan Oil 200 rolls off on the two-mile Michigan oval, live on FOX Sports 1 at 5:00 p.m. eastern.
"I ran my first ARCA race at Daytona in '81...ran Pocono once (in an ARCA car), Nashville Superspeedway, but everything else has been on a short track or road course."
There is only one thing that could keep Schrader from climbing into his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet for Friday's ARCA race at Michigan.
"If we were to get weather or some other delay, we've got Clay Campbell on stand-by. I've got to be home (Concord, N.C.) Saturday for my son Sheldon's graduation. I'm not going to miss that."
Looking ahead in the forecast, the weather looks great for Friday raceday at Michigan, so it looks like Schrader will get to check this one off his bucket list.
"When we started running more ARCA races, back when we were running (NASCAR) Cup fulltime, you couldn't race in the ARCA Series if you were in the top-20 in Cup points, so we didn't always get to go ARCA racing."
Schrader finished in the top-10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series year-end standings eight times, logging more than 700 Cup starts over the haul.
"Now that we're not doing any Cup racing, my schedule is wide open for ARCA. Only wished I could run more ARCA races; I love the series and all the different things it does...from Talladega to the dirt, it's a great series."
Schrader's Federated Auto Parts ARCA team is running the full ARCA campaign in 2014 with three drivers - himself, rookie Matt Tifft and Martinsville Speedway track president Clay Campbell. Schrader has already raced this year at Salem and Toledo, and plans to be in the saddle for at least 10 ARCA races overall in '14.
"I'm definitely excited to run MIS. I've always liked running MIS. We've struggled there in the Cup car, and we've had some decent runs too. I've fought it some, but I always enjoyed it."
Tifft, in Schrader's 52 car, ran in the top-five at Pocono last Saturday all day until he got caught up in a late-race accident in turn one.
"I'm awfully excited about our speedway program. We should have a pretty good car at MIS. We ran really well at Pocono before we got tore up. Our speedway program should be good."
While Schrader wasn't at Pocono for the ARCA race, he was busy nonetheless in his Federated Auto Parts dirt modified in which you can find him in most weekends when no ARCA obligations are pressing. Schrader competed in modified races this past weekend in Nebraska and Kansas.
Practice for this year's Corrigan Oil 200, which serves as part of the preamble for Sunday afternoon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400, is from 1:00 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is slated for Friday raceday morning at 9:30 a.m.
In addition to live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the event will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity at ARCAracing.com.