A Crank-Y Day For Schrader
July 14, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Schrader started the race in 27th place on Sunday afternoon. Early in the event, Schrader overdrove the car in turn one and lost several places on the track. Schrader was in 34th place when the caution flag waved on Lap 16 for debris on the track. Schrader reported that the “M&M’s”® car was a little tight coming off the corner.
Schrader brought the “M&M’s”® car down pit road, and narrowly avoided an accident near his pit. The “M&M’s”® pit crew went to work – putting on four new tires, adding fuel and taking a half-rubber out of the left rear. Schrader returned to the track in 38th place.
Only laps later, Schrader reported that the car had tightened up everywhere. Schrader went down one lap to the leaders at lap 55. The “M&M’s”® Racing Team pitted at Lap 77 under the green. The team added four tires, fuel and made a track bar adjustment in hopes of fixing the ill-handling car.
Schrader reported that the car was getting better as the run continued. Green flag pit stops started again at lap 117. The “M&M’s”® team had pitted later than the others earlier in the event, and the No. 36 would be able to wait about 20 more laps before pitting.
As the green flag pit stops cycled through, the “M&M’s”® Racing Team was able to get their lap back. The team needed a caution to stay on the lead lap, and that caution waved at Lap 137 with Schrader in 14th place. It was the break the team needed.
Schrader came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment and returned to the track in 18th place. Only four laps after the restart, Schrader radioed his crew that something was wrong with the engine. The “M&M’s”® car lost oil pressure on the track, and Schrader coasted into the garage. A broken crankshaft would end the No. 36 team’s day.
“I don’t know what to say,” Schrader said. “We had just gotten our lap back, and the “M&M’s”® car seemed to be running pretty good. We really thought we could turn it around today. All of a sudden, we lost oil pressure and that was it for us.”