Blog by Stock Car Steel and Aluminum / SRI-Supplies Marketing Director Chase Forbes – December 4, 2013
If there is anyone in NASCAR who deserves a standing ovation for his driving career, it’s Ken Schrader. When the checkered flag fell on Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ken Schrader hung up his Sprint Cup helmet for the last time and called it a career.
The Fenton, Missouri native started his Cup career in 1984, yet his racing resume goes far beyond that. If you total all of his NASCAR-sanctioned starts, the number comes out to 1,019, with 762 of those coming from the Cup series. That’s a lot of races, but it doesn’t even come close to his career total that would include his dirt racing ventures. Schrader has raced everything from Modifieds to Late Models to Sprint Cars on dirt. It’s safe to say Ken Schrader has thousands upon thousands of races under his belt.
Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and a few other drivers have reputations for extracurricular racing outside of the Sprint Cup schedule. Long before those guys had household names, Schrader was making his mark all over the country and across all forms of racing. He is certainly one of the most well-rounded drivers on the Cup circuit. Few people realize that Schrader also ran open wheel cars from 1981-1983 in the USAC Champ Car/Gold Crown series against the likes of Rick Mears, Al Unser, and AJ Foyt. It goes to show that you can name a style of race car, and Ken Schrader has probably driven one competitively at some point in his career.
Yet this is not simply a guy who is obsessed with racing to the point that he refuses to let go of his career and retire. Ken Schrader is still very much a competitive driver. He’s shown the ARCA Series this year that he can still wheel a stock car better than most. He picked up 2 ARCA wins at Toledo and DuQuoin during the 2013 season.
Just this year, Schrader took the UMP Dirt Modified championship after the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia speedway. Not only does Schrader still race anything and everything at any time, he still wins championships.
Perhaps that’s why he’s retiring from the Cup series this year. Schrader can be competitive in just about any form of racing outside of the Cup series. It will probably be fun for him to go race something different every week instead of having the major obligations associated with running in the Sprint Cup series. Even when a driver runs a partial schedule, running in Sprint Cup is physically and mentally exhausting, long before the green flag even drops.
It will be fun to follow Schrader after he retires this November. He’ll be racking up wins and championships over all the corners of the United States.
It’s just difficult to believe that the guy who drove the #25 Kodiak Chevy for Rick Hendrick will no longer be walking around the Cup garage area. Perhaps you remember him better for his Budweiser days. Also, Schrader was the M&M’s man before Kyle Busch had any racing credibility to his name.
Let’s raise a glass to Ken Schrader now that the Homestead race has concluded. There is no question that he has left his mark on the American racing scene. You can talk to many drivers, and you’ll find that a noteworthy amount of people have raced against Ken Schrader at some point in their careers. Not many other drivers can claim that they’ve raced against “just about everybody,” but Ken Schrader certainly can.
PHOTO CREDIT: Beststarimages.com