When the 2013 NASCAR season gets underway tomorrow night at the Sprint Unlimited, The Energizer Bunny will be taking the green flag at The Daytona International Speedway, and he will be driving the #32 FAS Lane Ford Fusion. 54 year old Ken Schrader, who is making the field as a Past Champion, won the Busch Clash in 1989, and 1990 when he was a member of the Hendrick Motorsports stable of drivers. He is one of only four drivers to win in back to back years, Neil Bonnett in 1983, and 84, Tony Stewart in 2000, and 2001, and Kevin Harvick in 2009, and 2010. Stewart and Harvick’s wins came after the race was renamed the Budweiser Shootout.
If you read my blog on February 14, entitled, NASCAR: Does A Cup Title Define A Racing Career ?, you will find that Kenny Schrader fits nicely into this subject. He only had four wins in 753 Sprint Cup starts, but I will task you to find a race car driver in this sport with more heart. He qualifies as one of the people that keep older fans like myself coming back to watch every year.
Kenny Schrader was born in Fenton, Missouri, and is a first cousin, once removed to Roush/Fenway driver, Carl Edwards. His NASCAR Career started in 1984 where he ran in the Pepsi 420 at Nashville, and his last was the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead last year. The first of his four wins came at TheTalledega DieHard 500 in 1988, and his last in 1991 at the Dover Budweiser 500. He has 184 top 10′s, and has set on the pole 23 times in a career that has lasted 28 years, so far.
His Nationwide career produced two wins over a 17 year period, and he has one win in the Truck Series. His list of achievements include the 1982 USAC Silver Crown Championship, 1983 USAC Sprint Cup Championship, 1980 USAC Rookie of the Year, and the 1985 Winston Cup Rookie of the year Award. For younger race fans: Sprint Cars are winged dirt track cars, not what we know today as NASCAR’s top division.
Schrader has a goal to race on every race track in America. He can be found driving trucks, World of Outlaws, ARCA Series, and loves running at the local tracks on Saturday night. The man just loves to drive a race car. The true definition of a Stock Car Driver.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, this great old time star has had to relegate himself to the Start and Park category. Like some of NASCAR’s older stars, he doesn’t fit the mold of what sponsors want from a driver today. Their list of requirements include young, good looking with the ability to interact with fans and business people. Kenny Schrader is, and has always been just a great racer.
So now that you know the rest of the story, when you watch The Energizer Bunny take the green flag on Saturday night, and probably go to the back, remember, this guy just came to race. He’s doing what he loves to do, drive a stock car.
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