Schrader Changes Plans, Will Spend All Weekend in Toledo
Cup Driver Elects ARCA Weekend Over Nextel Cup
Ken Schrader will be at Toledo instead of Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend.
Originally, Ken Schrader was scheduled to race in the Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this Saturday night; then hop in his plane and race at Toledo Speedway Sunday afternoon.
But after thinking things over, and talking with his Wood Brothers NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team, Schrader’s weekend planner has changed. And for Toledo area race fans, it’s all great news.
With no Cup commitments Saturday, Schrader is opting for an all-weekend ARCA RE/MAX Series adventure at Toledo Speedway, which includes practice and SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying Saturday afternoon in preparation for Sunday’s Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
“I’m just really excited to be able to get to qualify (for the RE/MAX Series race at Toledo),” Schrader said.
“We usually don’t get the chance to qualify at the ARCA races, so then we have to start in the back. As competitive as this series is now, starting in the back and racing to the front is really tough.”
Schrader started in last position at Salem Speedway back on April 22 of this year after skipping qualifying, and then finished fifth in the race.
However, Schrader is also three for three in the win column in his last three Toledo attempts in ’04, ’05 and ’06. In ’05 and ’06, Schrader missed qualifying and had to start at the back.
“That’s 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 series (ARCA). I have a lot of respect for the club. Toledo’s its hometown track, and I really enjoy being there for all of it. We’re looking forward to running at DuQuoin (mile-dirt) later this year too. I’m just a real fan of a series that runs all those different types of places.
“I’ll probably go run my dirt car somewhere Saturday night.”
The decision also plays into the hands of the Wood Brothers, who will be pulling double duty with driver Jon Wood at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Memorial weekend, attempting both the Busch Series race and the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race.
By running the Open this Saturday, Wood can gain valuable seat-time in preparation for the Coca-Cola 600 weekend.
The Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo will mark the 44th career ARCA RE/MAX Series start for Schrader since his series debut in the 1981 Daytona ARCA 200. Schrader has 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series wins including four at Toledo.
Eight-time series champion and 67-time series winner Frank Kimmel is the all-time winner at Toledo with nine victories on the quick, half-mile. It was also where Kimmel earned his career-first RE/MAX Series victory in 1994. It seems there’s been no stopping him since.
However, with competition continually on the rise, even Kimmel’s stats are not where they usually are. Approaching 10,000 laps-led in RE/MAX Series competition,
Kimmel normally averages about 900 laps led each race season. Kimmel, winless so far in 2007, has only led two laps this year. Nonetheless, with consistency on his side, Kimmel leads a tight points battle headed to Toledo, 30 points in front of Springfield, Illinois driver Justin Allgaier.
Allgaier, who finished third in this year’s Chili Bowl Nationals to winner Tony Stewart and runner-up JJ Yeley, finished second in the spring race at Toledo last year, sandwiched in between Schrader and Kimmel. Allgaier scored his career-first RE/MAX Series victory in front of his hometown crowd last year on the Springfield mile-dirt, but is winless in 2007.
Westby, Wisconsin’s Dexter Bean is currently third in points, 30 points away from Allgaier. In 33 career series starts, Bean finished a career-best second at Salem back in April but is winless on the tour.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania’s Bobby Gerhart is fourth in points, only 15 points away from Bean. Gerhart, who won a record fifth Daytona ARCA 200 back in February, is the only driver among the top-10 in points who has scored a victory this year. Leading ARCA RE/MAX Series contender Phillip McGilton, of Marion, Illinois, is currently fifth in points.
Erik Darnell’s career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory last Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway made him the seventh different race winner in seven events in 2007. In addition to Darnell, ARCA RE/MAX Series 2007 race winners include Bobby Gerhart (Daytona), James Buescher (Lakeland), Chad McCumbee (Nashville), Brian Keselowski (Salem), Scott Lagasse, Jr. (Kansas), and Billy Leslie (Winchester). Keselowski, son of 1989 series champion Bob Keselowski, is also entered as is Leslie, who is the son of 1988 series champion Tracy Leslie.
This Sunday’s May 20th Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care, LIVE on SPEED at 12 noon eastern, marks the eighth event of 2007. Three nights of racing are featured for the big Hantz Group 200 race weekend at Toledo. It starts Friday night, May 18th with the Casite Scout and Autograph night featuring ARCA-sanctioned Sportsman cars on the half-mile with Figure-8s and Factory Stocks on the quarter-mile. The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series 50-lap main event is the featured attraction at 4:30 pm Saturday, which follows ARCA RE/MAX Series practice and SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying at 3:30.
Frank Kimmel is hoping to win another Toledo race with his #46 machine. (FrankKimmel.com Photo)