Schrader Finishes 40Th In Dega

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The "M&M's"® Racing Team quickly showed that starting positions are irrelevant at the superspeedways like Talladega and Daytona, as the No. 36 Pontiac improved 25 positions from 36th to 11th in only six laps. Schrader and the "M&M's"® Racing Team knew from the final practice that the car would hold its own in the draft, and that is precisely what happened in the early stages of the Talladega 500. Within the first 30 laps, Schrader raced the "M&M's"® Pontiac single-file, two-wide and sometimes three-wide. He ranged in running position from 36th to 11th, but on lap 40 the day started to look promising for the "M&M's"® Racing Team.

Schrader broke into the top 10 with the "M&M's"® Pontiac for the first time on lap 40 and continued to go forward, moving up to fifth on lap 44. The only place left for Schrader and the "M&M's"® Racing Team was to lead the field to the green flag as the race leader, and on lap 45 the No. 36 was at the front of the field. Schrader maintained the lead for laps 48 and 49, but the team encountered problems while slowing to enter pit road on lap 50.

The "M&M's"® Racing Team had budgeted for their initial pit stop to come on lap 50, if there were no cautions up to that point. But differences in drafting help and the lack of caution flags made just enough of a difference in the fuel mileage of the "M&M's"® Pontiac that the car ran out of gas between turns three and four while heading into the pits. The shortage of fuel forced Schrader to coast onto pit road, all the time loosing valuable track position.

When Schrader came back onto the race track, he had lost sight of the draft and was the lone car on the massive 2.66-mile facility. Drafting tightly at Talladega is the only way to go faster. The lead pack of cars caught up to Schrader on lap 70, and as a result, the "M&M's"® Pontiac went one lap down. With a caution-free race, the "M&M's"® Racing Team never got the opportunity to regain their lap and finished 40th in the race.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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