Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
NASCAR/ARCA Vet Ken Schrader enters Toledo's Menards 200
Apparently, nothing wears out Ken Schrader. With 80-plus races on his 2013 schedule, the 57-year-old Fenton, Missouri veteran racer is already "20-some-up" on the season, and it's barely spring.
"It's going to be a busy year, and a better one too because we have more ARCA races on our schedule this year," said Schrader.
"But we're already 20-some-up on the year so far. Been racing the dirt modified quite a bit already."
Schrader is already preparing for what will be his 61st career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway Sunday, May 19.
Federated, which sponsors most of Schrader's racing endeavors, will also be the title sponsor on his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet in the ARCA Racing Series.
"We haven't raced Toledo in a few years, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's always been one of my favorite ARCA tracks. Tom (Hessert) put our Federated car on the pole there a couple years ago, and won the race at Salem (Speedway) last year, so we've got some good momentum. We'd like to be running the Federated ARCA car everywhere, like we did with Tom; but our situation changed. Even though we can't run the entire ARCA schedule, what the change did do was allow me to come back and play more, and that's just fine with me. I'm really looking forward to it."
Schrader is slated to race in four ARCA Racing Series events in 2013 to also include the Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care at Elko Speedway on June 1, the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (mile-dirt) on Labor Day, September 2, and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Salem Speedway on September 14.
In addition, Schrader's season includes 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with team owner Frank Stoddard in the No. 32 FAS Lane Racing Ford, and at least two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events at Eldora Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg for Schrader, who spends most of his time behind the wheel of his Federated Auto Parts modified playing on dirt bullrings across America, coast to coast. But it's more than just a play in the clay - it's about crossing the finish line first, which he's already done, winning twice this season at Volusia Speedway Park and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And that's not all. Schrader won on the final night of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia in February, and was crowned 2013 Speedweeks Gator Champion.
"It felt pretty good," said Schrader, who became the only driver to win the Gator Championship and the overall points total in the same year. "It's the second time we won the championship down there; we worked pretty hard at it. It feels awesome."
During Schrader's ARCA tenure, which reaches back to 1981, he has 15 career ARCA wins, including four victories at Toledo in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The last time Schrader raced in the Menards 200 at Toledo was in 2010 when he finished sixth after leading 52 laps.
"One of the things I really like about Toledo - it's got multiple grooves, and you can pass on the outside if you need to, which is real helpful on a tight little short-track.
"But it's more than that; I'm just a really big fan of the ARCA Series. Toledo is its hometown track, and I really enjoy being part of that. We're looking forward to running at Elko, DuQuoin and Salem later this year too. I'm just a real fan of a series that runs all those different types of places."
His ARCA triumphs are a stark reminder of his versatile driving skills, with wins at Toledo, the Topeka, Kansas road course, the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile-dirt, the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt, DuQuoin, the Hagerstown Speedway half-mile dirt, Nashville Superspeedway, and other short tracks at Salem, South Boston Speedway, and Anderson Speedway.
In 60 career ARCA starts, he's logged 39 top-fives and 47 top-10s overall, with 15 Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell. Through it all, he's led an impressive 2,063 laps in 34 races.
Schrader was also the 1999 ARCA Racing Series car owner champion with Bill Baird driving, and a back-to-back car owner winner at Daytona with Mike Wallace and Andy Hillenburg.
His NASCAR career includes four Sprint Cup Series wins at Charlotte, Dover, Talladega, and Atlanta, two wins in the Bud Shootout at Daytona, three poles in the Daytona 500, and eight top-10 Cup championship points finishes.
Prior to his stock car career, Schrader first made a name for himself in USAC where he earned the USAC Silver Crown Series championship in 1982 and the USAC Sprint Car championship in 1983. He has 33 career USAC victories overall in Silver Crown, Sprints and Midgets.
Tickets are on sale now for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway. Tickets are $15, compared to $25 on race day, and will be available starting Friday at Menards stores in Toledo, Defiance, Holland, Oregon, Sandusky and Findlay.
The weekend's activities include ARCA Racing Series practice and qualifying plus an ARCA Truck Series 50-lap race on Saturday, May 18. The Menards 200 is Sunday, with an autograph session at noon and the race at 2 p.m.
ARCA Racing PR
Country music group Gloriana to play free concert for race fans on Sunday, June 2 in Victory Plaza
Race fans will be treated to a very special pre-race event, as country music group Gloriana will play a free concert for fans in Victory Plaza the morning of the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The award-winning trio will also perform the National Anthem for the day’s race.
Comprised of brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, along with Rachel Reinert, Gloriana broke onto the scene in 2009 with its self-titled album that featured the hit single “Wild at Heart.” The debut release earned the group the American Music Award for Breakthrough Artist in 2009 and the coveted Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Vocal Group in 2010.
Their sophomore album, “A Thousand Miles Left Behind,” was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter Matt Serletic, and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. The album’s first single, “(Kissed You) Good Night,” was the most played song by a group on country radio in 2012. Gloriana’s latest single, “Can’t Shake You,” is quickly climbing the radio charts, and the trio recently kicked off a year-long, nationwide tour.
Dover Motorsports PR
Alabama Crimson Tide Championship Quarterback AJ McCarron to Serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver for Aaron's 499
Talladega Superspeedway is proud to announce that the University of Alabama’s quarterback AJ McCarron, who helped guide the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS National Championship titles, will serve as the “Honorary Pace Car Driver” for the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 5.
McCarron, who grew up just a few hours from Talladega Superspeedway in Mobile, AL, will get behind the wheel of a special Ford Mustang GT, the official pace car of Talladega’s Aaron’s 499 spring spectacular, and will lead the field of 43 cars around the track’s incredible 33-degree banking before the start of the race.
““I have enjoyed races at Talladega before and have always had a passion to get up to speed on the track,” said the two-time National Champion quarterback. “This is an incredible opportunity, and to be able to do it in front of the most famous drivers in the world, is something I am really looking forward to.”
This past Saturday, prior to the start of the annual A-Day spring game in Tuscaloosa, McCarron and his teammates were treated to the unveiling of a special Alabama National Championship paint scheme of Michael Waltrip’s No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota, which will compete in the Aaron’s 499.
“AJ has had such amazing success at Alabama, and that is known all over the country,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “We know the drivers and fans are going to be excited to have him here for the Aaron’s 499. I’m sure as soon as the crowd sees him in our Ford Mustang GT Pace Car, there’s going to be a lot of noise made.”
McCarron is beloved in the state of Alabama for leading the Crimson Tide to two consecutive BCS National titles. Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 in January of 2012 and repeated with a 42-14 victory over Notre Dame this past January. McCarron has the distinction of being the only quarterback to pull off such a feat (back-to-back titles) since the start of the BCS in 1998. In fact, since the 1950’s, only three other QB’s have won two straight.
The highly-regarded playmaker, who is a pre-season candidate for the Heisman Trophy, led the nation in passing efficiency last season when he completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards and a school record 30 touchdown passes, with just three interceptions. Over the last two years, he has thrown 46 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions.
It shouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan Newman cringe at the mere mention of Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
There have been times of feast or famine for the Haas Automation driver at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. In 22 races at the largest track on the Sprint Cup circuit, he has 11 finishes of 16th or better, including four top-fives and eight top-10s. It’s the other 11 finishes that have been less than kind to Newman. Those are the results that have played a part in making his average Talladega finish 22.4, which happens to be his worst of the active tracks on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Newman and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team have endured more than their fair share of trials and tribulations at the Alabama racetrack. Over the past few seasons, the No. 39 Chevrolet has been involved in a series of accidents that have left his racecar with everything from minimal damage to complete destruction. It seems, as of late, that wherever Newman finds himself on the racetrack, trouble doesn’t have a hard time chasing him down.
Newman has been involved in some of the most dramatic wrecks in recent Talladega history. He’s been turned end-over-end, and has landed on his roof in the infield grass. He’s found himself involved in the “big one” on more than one occasion. So, it would be no surprise that, when it comes to Talladega Superspeedway, Newman may focus on the negatives rather than the positives.
However, Newman has proven in the past that he can get it done when it comes to superspeedway racing. Case in point, Newman claimed the checkered flag at Talladega’s sister facility, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, in the 2008 running of the Daytona 500. And, in his first start at Talladega for SHR in April 2009, Newman recorded his best finish there when he crossed the finish line third. But even that wasn’t without incident as it came in dramatic fashion. Carl Edwards’ racecar flipped over Newman’s hood and windshield before slamming into the catchfence that separates the frontstretch from the grandstands as Newman made his way to the checkered flag. Despite not being able to see through the massive front-end damage his car received during the incident, Newman was able to drive his No. 39 Chevrolet across the finish line.
So while the fans will likely be on the edge of their seats lap after lap in anticipation of the “big one,” don’t be surprised if Newman is, as well. Having a good finish will require patience, skill, mental prowess, a fast Haas Automation Chevrolet and, of course, being in the right place at the right time when the white flag waves. And, if he’s to score another top-three finish like he did in 2009, he wouldn’t mind at all if it comes in a less dramatic fashion.
TriStar, Hackenbracht Announce Seven Race Deal
In February, TriStar Motorsports announced that former ARCA Racing Series winner Chad Hackenbracht had inked a deal to drive for the team in a partial NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. Now, the team has announced plans for Hackenbracht to compete in seven races including Iowa (June 7th), New Hampshire (July 13th), Chicagoland (July 21st), Mid-Ohio (August 17th), Bristol (August 23rd), Charlotte (October 11th) and Phoenix (November 9th). Hackenbracht will share the No. 44 Toyota with Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender, Hal Martin.
“I’m looking forward to making my debut in the No. 44 Toyota at Iowa Speedway,” said the 21-year-old driver. “I’ve competed there twice in the ARCA Racing Series, and both times I’ve qualified seventh and finished in the top-10. I feel pretty comfortable at that track and think it’s the perfect place to kick off my debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I'm looking forward to the diverse schedule and competing at some of the new tracks that I’ve never seen before. I know that I have a strong support group in my teammates at TriStar Motorsports and I’m looking forward to leaning on them for advice when it comes to racing at the places I’ve never been to. I think being with an established team will help my learning curve too. I have realistic expectations this year but expect to finish every race that I run, qualify in the top-20 and pull off top-15 finishes. I’m excited to get back behind the wheel. Iowa can’t get here quick enough!”
Hackenbracht, 21, spent the 2012 season competing full-time in the ARCA Racing Series for his family owned team, CGH Motorsports. Last season, he recorded one win, two pole positions, five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes before closing out the year fifth in the Championship Point Standings. This year, the New Philadelphia, Ohio native will run a partial schedule in preparation for a shot at Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.
Pro Motor Engines will supply the powerhouse under Hackenbracht’s Toyota and Crew Chief Greg Conner will lead the team’s efforts. A veteran of the sport, Conner has experience in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions and has called the shots for drivers such as Travis Kvapil, Dave Blaney, Marcos Ambrose, Ricky Craven, and Kevin Lepage. Conner has assembled an all-star group of NASCAR mechanics to work on the No. 44 machine.
Sponsorship opportunities exist with Hackenbracht and TriStar Motorsports. For more information, please call Randy Usher at (704) 360-2665.
David Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota team came home 22nd on Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in one of their best performances of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The team fought hard all night to move up in the running order, and ultimately gained two positions in the championship owner point standings.
Throughout the race weekend, Reutimann and the No. 83 BK Racing team worked hard making changes to their Camry and picked up nearly two seconds from opening practice to secure the 22nd starting position for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Racing into the night, the team had to leave room to adjust the handling of their No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Camry as the race progressed on Saturday night. With the race scheduled to include 400 laps and at least seven pit stops, the BK Racing team knew they had plenty of time to work on their car. When Reutimann called in to report a tight condition early in the race, the team devised a plan to loosen the handling and continued to make adjustments during each pit stop. With every adjustment the car got better and better, and by the end of the event, the balance of the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota was the best it had been all weekend. With a green-white-checkered finish extending the race to 406 laps, Reutimann crossed the finish line in the 22nd position.
"I'm really proud of the effort by our Burger King / Dr. Pepper team this week," commented Reutimann. "The guys worked throughout practice to get the car turning and handling the way I needed it to, and we were able to put together our best qualifying effort of the season. Like I said last week, everyone has been working really hard--to be able to avoid any bad luck and just have a strong finish on the lead lap is the kind of positive momentum that we need.
"I'm ready to get back to superspeedway racing next weekend," Reutimann continued. "Our best finish of the season came at Daytona International Speedway. The guys built a strong car that I think will be capable of running up front, so I'm excited to get to Talladega Superspeedway in just a few days."
BK Racing PR
Broken Axle Ends Kvapil's Night Early at Richmond
Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Dominion Raceway Toyota Camry team finished 37th at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Saturday night. The team overcame challenges with the balance of their car, but ultimately suffered a broken axle ending their night 32 laps short of the scheduled distance of the Toyota Owners 400.
In addition to a brand new paint scheme showcasing nearby Dominion Raceway, Kvapil and his No. 93 BK Racing team also unveiled a new setup package on their Toyota Camry at Richmond International Raceway. Utilizing different components than they used at prior races, the BK Racing team had to overcoming challenges relating to the balance of their car throughout the two practice sessions at the 0.75-mile short track. Qualifying in the 36th position, the team made a list of changes to the Dominion Raceway Camry prior to taking the green flag for the Toyota Owners 400 on Saturday night.
Kvapil worked closely with his No. 93 Toyota team throughout the opening laps of the race to continue making their car better with each adjustment. Racing hard on lap 293, Kvapil got loose off turn three scrapping the wall with the right side of his Dominion Raceway Camry. With just minor damage, he came down pit road for repairs before returning to the track. As the laps dwindled down and the field neared the checkered flag, Kvapil was sent to the garage with a broken axle to bring an early end to the Toyota Owners 400 for the No. 93 Dominion Raceway Toyota Camry.
"It was a lot of fun to have Dominion Raceway on our Toyota Camry this weekend," commented Kvapil. "It was a cool-looking car with the white, red and yellow paint scheme, and we had a lot of fun with all the guests who came out to the track this weekend. We didn't quite get the balance of our car where we needed it, but the guys from BK Racing worked really hard all weekend and never gave up.
"I'm really excited to get to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend," continued Kvapil. "The great thing about superspeedway racing is that it is anyone's race--any one of the 43 guys who take the green flag on Sunday afternoon will have a chance to win that event. We've been working really hard to get better week after week, and I'm looking forward to getting back in the car next weekend."
BK Racing PR
Chevrolet To Sponsor NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park announced today that Chevrolet will be the title sponsor of the first Canadian race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, taking place on Labour Day Weekend, August 30 – September 1. The name of the race will be the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
“We are thrilled to have our official vehicle supplier Chevrolet, as the title sponsor of the first Canadian NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the storied 3.957 km road course on September 1st,” said Myles Brandt, President and General Manager of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. “Having such an iconic brand such as Chevrolet come on board for this historic event shows their commitment to the track, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and local community in which many of their vehicles are built.”
“Chevrolet has a long and celebrated history in racing, and we are proud to introduce the Chevrolet Silverado 250 as the first Canadian race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, right here in our own backyard,” said Marc Comeau, Vice President of Sales, Service and Marketing for Chevrolet in Canada. “With the launch of the 2014 Silverado, new from hood to hitch, this event is a natural fit to showcase its innovative features, capability, performance and unmatched V8 power and efficiency.”
The new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is engineered to be the strongest, smartest, and most capable Silverado ever. It builds on Chevrolet’s 95 years of truck heritage, while raising the bar for full-size pickups. Among the many updates for 2014 are a new trio of powerful, efficient EcoTec3 family of engines; a stronger, quieter, more comfortable cab; revised steering, suspension and brakes; ingenious solutions for managing cargo in the bed and true truck capability for towing and hauling.
The Early Bird Weekend SuperTicket is just $65 until June 30 ($80 at the Gate). Single-day tickets are also available. Each ticket includes parking and access to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Expo and Marketplace. As with all events, children 12 and under are admitted for free when accompanied by a paid adult admission.
Camping is a popular part of the experience, with Early Bird General Camping passes just $65 for the weekend when purchased before June 30 (tents or pop-up trailers). Early Bird RV passes are $90 and Reserved Camping is $225.
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park PR
Roush Yates Powers Four Wins in Four Series
oush Yates Engines displayed power, performance, and reliability this weekend across four series of racing with wins in the late model, modified, NASCAR Nationwide and sprint car series.
Eric Wells of Hazard, KY, won his first ever World of Outlaws Late Model Series race with his Roush Yates 436 Ford on Sunday night. Wells took over as leader of the race on lap 47 when the top runners tangled with a lapped car to win the 50 lap A-Main at Duck River Raceway Park (Wheel, TN).
Wells started 12th and looked like he was going to be in-line for a fourth place finish behind the leader, fellow Roush Yates engine driver Josh Richards, when a dramatic turn of events happened with 3 laps to go.
“I saw a mess on the front stretch and the track was blocked,” said Wells in Victory Lane. “I got on the brakes and tried to stay out of trouble. I just headed for the infield to try and stay out of it and keep our stuff in one piece. We slipped through that one and ended up with a win.”
Wells held off his charging competitors during the last three laps to become the fifth driver in World of Outlaws’ history to win an A-Main while chasing the Rookie of the Year award.
“We had a pretty good car from the drop of the green,” said Wells. “Sometimes you just have to have luck on your side and tonight we did. I couldn’t be happier to win a World of Outlaws race this early in our first full season.”
Chris Brown went to Victory Lane Thursday night at Texas Thunder Speedway with his Roush Yates 410 modified engine. Brown overtook Stormy Scott for the lead on lap 10 and led the final 30 laps to take home the $4,000 purse at the debut race in Killeen, TX.
“I knew lapped traffic was going to come into play, but I didn’t think it would come into play that early,” said Brown. “Things worked out our way, so we’ll take it.”
Thursday’s win was Brown’s seventh career USTMS win and the fifth in his home state.
On the NASCAR circuit, Brad Keselowski held off Kevin Harvick to win Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Keselowski passed Kyle Busch with nine laps left and crossed the finish line 0.718 seconds ahead of second place. This was Keselowski’s first win since switching to Roush Yates Engines this season.
“It’s very gratifying,” said Keselowski from Victory Lane. “We’ve had a lot of seconds this year (two in the Nationwide Series), and we’ve been really close on the Cup side. It’s great to get that turned around and finally get to Victory Lane in a Ford.”
“This is a Mustang. Now we’ve got to win in a Fusion. The Fords have been really fast, and we finally closed one out today.”
Jack Dover capped off this weekend’s wins for Roush Yates with a victory at Butler County Speedway in the very first Carpetland Nebraska 360 Sprints race on Saturday night. Dover runs a Roush Yates Ford Sprint 360 engine and has 2 wins so far this season.
Roush Yates Engines
Turner Scott Motorsports announced today that Danica Patrick will return to pilot their fourth entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Talladega Superspeedway. Patrick, who is competing full-time as a Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year candidate in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) in 2013, will return behind the wheel for her second start of the season in the No. 34 AccuDoc Solutions/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Camaro. Patrick will once again have the veteran crew chief Mike Greci atop the pit box to call the shot in this weekend's Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Greci previously served as crew chief for Patrick at the season opener NNS race in Daytona.
The former IndyCar driver has only one previous start at Talladega, leading one lap and finishing 13th in last year's NNS race. Patrick finished 36th at Daytona International Speedway, after experiencing an engine issue in her only previous start for Turner Scott Motorsports. Despite her bad luck in the NNS race, Patrick had success at Daytona, earning the pole and finishing eighth in the NSCS Daytona 500.
Patrick, the first woman in history to win an IndyCar race, has raced in a total of 59 NNS events, tallying one top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Patrick completed one full-time NNS season, finishing 10th in the 2012 driver point standings. The Roscoe, Ill. native also earned the NNS Most Popular Driver award following her full-time NNS campaign.
Long time Turner Scott Motorsports partner AccuDoc Solutions will serve as Patrick's primary sponsor and will also be joined by Patrick's long time sponsor Go Daddy as associate sponsor on the No. 34 Nationwide entry. AccuDoc Solutions, based in Morrisville, N.C., provides billing statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians, while Go Daddy is the Web's top platform for small businesses.
"I'm thrilled that I get another chance to drive the No. 34 AccuDoc Solutions/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Camaro for Turner Scott Motorsports," said Patrick. "We had a great run going in Daytona, and I'm hoping we can pick up where we left off. I want to thank everyone at TSM, AccuDoc Solutions and GoDaddy for making this great opportunity come together."
Patrick will have three teammates on Saturday, with full-time TSM drivers Justin Allgaier, Kyle Larson and Nelson Piquet Jr. competing in the 117-lap restrictor plate race.
"We are very happy to welcome back Danica Patrick to the Turner Scott Motorsports Nationwide lineup this weekend in Talladega," said team co-owner Harry Scott Jr. "We were extremely pleased with Danica's efforts in Daytona and felt like we had all of the pieces in place to be successful. TSM has assembled a great crew for her this weekend and I feel like we have a great deal of potential; there's a very good chance of Danica bringing home Turner Scott Motorsports' first Nationwide win of the season."
The Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway will air live on ABC at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 4. The race can also be heard on MRN and Sirius XM Radio, channel 90.