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July 6, 2016

 

Ex-NASCAR driver Schrader racing at Skyline

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Ken Schrader

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

Former NASCAR Sprint/Winston Cup star Kenny Schrader is coming to the area and he is going to be race ready.
The 61-year-old driver whose hometown is Fenton, Missouri, will be driving his Federated Auto Parts IMCA modified car with the regular competitors at Skyline Raceway Park on Saturday in Blodgett Mills.
“I’m going to be in the area that morning,” Schrader said. “I saw they are close by and I can’t miss an opportunity to race.”
Schrader will be making an appearance for Federated Auto Part in the Utica area, which is a relatively short distance to Blodgetts Mills for a guy who competed for the 39th time this past Friday night. He ran 80 races last year and is equally active as the owner of an ARCA race team with Matt Kurzejewski behind the wheel. Kurzejewski was tied for fourth in the series standings through June 26.
“I like being involved in racing,” Schrader said. “I do get to some of the ARCA races and still go to some of the Cup races.
“I really still like to compete. That’s why I’m still driving,” he added. “So far this year we’ve been to Idaho, Oregon, California and Florida along with many races in the Midwest. We’ll be coming to New York now and we will also be heading to Ontario, Canada, as well.”
He gets to enjoy this passion thanks to Federated Auto Parts, who has been by his side for 17 years.
“Our sponsor likes to bring the cars around,” Schrader explained. “Most of the time we give folks rides in the two-seater we have.”
Schrader drove in NASCAR’s top level for 29 seasons. In 763 Cup races, he won four times and posted 184 top-10 finishes. Schrader sat on the pole 23 times during his career than included stints with Junie Donlavey (1985-87), Hendrick Motorsports (1988-96), Andy Petree Racing (1997-99), MB2 Motorsports (2000-02) and BAM Motorsports (2003-05). He even ran a season with the Wood Brothers, Chip Ganassi Racing and Richard Childress Racing. His final season saw 10 races in 2013.
In those 29 years, what did he consider his biggest thrill?
“There really has never been one big thrill,” Schrader said. “I just enjoyed being there. There were a lot of neat things over those 29 years.
“I have always liked it and I still love meeting people,” he continued. “That’s what will make going to Skyline fun. I’ll do whatever they want and I’ll have fun hanging around in the pits after the races are over.”
“Skyline needs some new things,” new Skyline Raceway Park owner Dean Catlin. “We need things for the fans. Kenny Schrader coming here isn’t about me or the staff, it’s all about the fans. I want it to be a good night for the fans and Schrader. I know I’m excited for the fans that he will be here and he will be racing.”
Catlin said he got a phone call from Schrader’s people all because Kenny read a story about Skyline having the IMCA Modifieds on the racing card in an article in Circle Track Magazine. That was a big factor in him wanting to come to track and race.
Catlin said they have a surprise planned for Schrader that night as well.
“Tim Richmond drove the Folger’s Coffee Number 25 for Rick Hendrick and that’s the car Kenny Schrader drove for Hendrick,” Catlin said. “We will have the Folger’s car here that night for Kenny to see again.”
While he is racing most of the time, Schrader does have other racing interests outside of his ARCA team. He is the co-owner/promoter of Federated Auto Parts Raceway, aka I-55 Speedway, in Pevely, Missouri with Ray Marler.
Skyline Raceway runs Saturday nights. The gates open at 4:30 p.m. with racing starting at 6:30 p.m.

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