Ken Schrader will hardly have time to take his helmet off over the next two weeks, and that's just fine with him.
Through an interesting assortment of dirt track racing on Illinois and Missouri bullrings in his own Federated Auto Parts modified, the 59-year-old veteran will cap it all off with an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards grand finale at historic Winchester Speedway in the Herr's Chase the Taste 200 presented by Federated Car Care Sunday, July 6.
Schrader's count-down clock to Winchester actually started this past Saturday (June 21) at Elko Speedway where the Fenton, Missouri native finished fifth in the 250-lap ARCA Akona 250.
Over two week's time, Schrader will have raced in as many as 12 events, nearly every night of the week.
"On our way home from Elko we decided we'd drop in at Quincy (Ill./unannounced) to run our Federated Auto Parts modified, so I told the boys to meet me there with the dirt car. But we rained out Quincy."
Not too worry...Schrader will have plenty more options in between now and Winchester, and rest-assured, he'll be taking every one.
"We're going to run (this week) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday...in our modified...somewhere. I can tell you for sure we'll be racing Pevely (Mo./Federated Auto Parts Raceway) Saturday night in the Summer Nationals."
And it starts all over again the next week afterwards - leading into Winchester.
"We're going to run Belleville (Ill.) Tuesday, Jacksonville (Ill.) Wednesday, and then run on the pavement in Lebanon, Missouri Thursday night. We'll be running Friday...somewhere...then Saturday and Sunday at Winchester. We'll be busy, and that's the way we like it. As long as we're racing somewhere."
After more than 700 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, 68 career ARCA starts (17 ARCA wins), it's hard to believe, but Schrader's upcoming ARCA go at Winchester will mark only his second ARCA start there, and only his third stock car start overall at the historic Indiana short track.
"Ran a USAC stock car at Winchester back in '80...'81. Then we ran the one ARCA race there...got caught up in the big wreck off turn two, and that's it."
Outside of his two stock car starts at Winchester, it's been all open-wheel adventures for Schrader at Winchester.
"The track's been good to us overall," he said. "We've won twice, wrecked twice, and ran eighth and ninth."
Schrader's open-wheel finishes at Winchester have all come in the seat of a midget car. Back when he was running full-time on the USAC sprint car circuit - he was the national champion in 1983 - the tour did not compete on pavement at that time.
"When I ran USAC, it was all dirt. In fact, I've never run a sprint car on pavement. I've run the Silver Crown cars on pavement, but never a sprint car.
"I can't wait to run Winchester. Winchester...Salem...those places have so much tradition. Naturally, we'd like to be part of it. Winning the race would nice too. Our plan will be to win the pole and win the race. Trouble is, there are 12 other guys with the same plan."
The Herr's Chase the Taste 200 presented by Federated Car Care marks the series' 25th silver anniversary appearance at Winchester, located near the Indiana-Ohio border, just northeast of Indianapolis.
The Herr's Chase the Taste 200 also serves as the grand finale in a triple-header race weekend that includes the 'King of the Wing' Davey Hamilton-promoted Sprint Car East-West Shootout Friday, July 4 and the Top Speed Modified Tour on Saturday, July 5, which accompanies ARCA Racing Series practice and qualifying. The explosive and festive weekend culminates with the Herr's Chase the Taste 200 finale Sunday afternoon.
Celebrating a 'Century of Speed' at Winchester, the Friday night, July 4 show includes an Independence Day fireworks display, the 'Party in the Pavilion', the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Daytona on big screen TVs and the Winchester Old Timers Club cars on display on the frontstretch.
Discount tickets will be available for $20 each at Menards locations in Anderson, Fort Wayne East, Fort Wayne South, Fort Wayne West, Muncie and Richmond, Ind., plus stores in Celina, Sidney and Tipp City, Ohio. Race fans can save $10 by purchasing a single-day ticket, or $20 by purchasing a three-day ticket for $55.