Caution Flag Ruins Day
June 16, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Despite starting 36th on Sunday, Schrader had a strong race car in the early stages of the event. Over the course of the first 50 laps, Schrader was able to move the No. 36 “M&M’s”® Pontiac through the field and into 18th position. Schrader and the “M&M’s”® team went one lap down to the leaders at Lap 95. The No. 36 team then pitted under the green flag for four tires and fuel – that’s when bad luck bit the “M&M’s”® team.
The yellow flag waved at Lap 98 for a minor incident involving John Andretti. The unfortunate caution caught multiple cars on pit road, including the “M&M’s”® team and many other contenders for the victory. The untimely caution left 11 cars on the lead lap – those 11 car would vie for the win over the next 100 laps.
Schrader and the “M&M’s”® crew did not get discouraged by their bad luck, and they continued to battle for the remainder of the day. Despite being two laps down, the “M&M’s”® team got as much as they could out of the No. 36 car and finished in 25th place (the second car two laps down to the leaders).
“It was really another case of bad timing and bad luck for the “M&M’s”® team today,” Schrader said. “We didn’t qualify as well as we hoped on Friday, but we did have a strong car today. And if we hadn’t gotten caught on pit road when the caution came out, I think we would have gotten a strong finish.
“A lot of people got caught in the same situation and unfortunately that’s just part of the game. We’ll just have to get back after it next weekend at Sears Point.”