Schrader Survives For 18Th Place Finish
October 29, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
The “M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team did not escape the perils of the day with two cut right front tires of its own. The first problem of the day occurred just 33 laps into the race. Sterling Marlin had a right front tire go flat, then Schrader ran through the debris from the aftermath. Schrader was forced to pit on lap 34 for two tires, but with no ramifications.
Since the M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team pitted with the lead cars, the team performed a sporty pit stop that kept the No. 36 Pontiac on the lead lap and running ninth. The team restarted in the ninth position, with the car handling just a tick tight in the corners. As the laps clicked off the team stayed right around the top 10, with driver Kenny Schrader continuing to log a record number of competition laps at Phoenix International Raceway, running 787 laps by weekend’s end.
As the race was just past the halfway mark, Schrader radioed in to the team that, again, he had a right front tire going down. Schrader was forced to make green-flag pit stop on lap 181, which forced him two laps down to the leader. After inspection, team members found a cut on the tire, which caused the flat. He was able to regain one lap during a caution period, then was focused on regaining one more lap in order to be back with the leaders.
Schrader and the M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing got back on the lead lap during a late caution period, which automatically jumped his running position from 31st to 24th. During the caution, the M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE Racing Team elected to pit for four tires, hoping that fresh rubber under the car would help them gain track position. Such was the case as the No. 36 Pontiac jumped to 18th in the running order, eventually being slowed by heavy traffic.
Sunday’s race also marked the fourth race of the weekend for M&M’s”®/PEDIGREE driver Ken Schrader. He ran support races on each of the days proceeding Sunday, including one race per day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.