Schrader Has Roller Coaster Day In Kansas

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The Winston Cup Series made its inaugural trip to Kansas City, Kan., after a five-year wait for the new track to be completed. Very similar to its sister track in Chicagoland, Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval, with the difference being a backstretch that is straight versus rounded in Chicagoland.

NASCAR allowed the teams an extra day of practice, increasingly beneficial for those teams like the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE team that elected not to test at Kansas. The M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team elected to concentrate on its race setup during the more than three hours of practice. Knowing that Friday morning could still be used to make mock qualifying runs, the team worked on tweaking its race setup for Sunday.

Friday, however, wasn’t quite the day the team was hoping for. Nearing the end of morning practice, the No. 36 “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Pontiac jumped free between turns three and four and made contact with the wall. The car had significant damage, and fortunately driver Ken Schrader was fine. The team worked diligently in the final half hour of practice and were able to get the backup car ready to make four practice laps prior to qualifying.

The “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team had drawn late in the qualifying order, thus they were hopeful for a decent starting position considering the limited practice time in the new car. Hard work by the team, the correct set-up by crew chief Newt Moore and two laps of hard driving posted the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team in the 28th starting position for Sunday.

Once the race started the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team started a roller coaster ride for the next 267 laps. The car started out tight, so the team began to make changes during pit stops. It took several changes, but the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team looked like the breaks might go their way at Kansas, not far from Schrader’s home town. There were a total of 13 cautions during the race, so with pit strategy the team found itself running solidly in the top 15. Bad luck, however, struck on lap 224 when the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Pontiac began to smoke heavily and the car was black-flagged. The team was forced to pit under green to repair what turned out to be a broken oil line and lost five laps in the process.

The “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team held our for the final 40 laps – including a red flag period with 10 laps to go to clean up debris from an accident. The race was able to finish under green with the “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team finishing in the 26th position.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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