Battling Back To Finish 22Nd

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DOVER, Del. – It was a difficult day for Ken Schrader and the “M&M’s”® Racing Team on Sunday at Dover International Speedway in the MBNA All-American Heroes 400. Schrader struggled with an ill-handling car throughout the race, which led to the team falling one lap down early on.

Despite on-track problems, the “M&M’s”® pit crew turned in a solid performance on pit road that kept Schrader competitive and helped the No. 36 to finish 22nd on the day.

Just 10 laps into the race, Schrader reported to the team that his car was extremely loose. As the run went on, the car became got a little better. During the run though, Schrader fell from 27th to 31st. When the caution flag waved at Lap 26, Schrader pitted for a track bar adjustment, an air-pressure adjustment, four new tires and fuel. A solid pit stop moved the “M&M’s”® car up to 25th place.

The second caution of the race waved at Lap 53. Schrader told crew chief Newt Moore that the car didn’t seem to have any grip and was sliding all over the concrete track. The team made another air-pressure adjustment, added four tires and fuel under the caution.

The field barely got restarted when the caution flag waved yet again. Schrader told the team that although the run had been short, the car felt good. At Lap 70, Schrader was sitting in 19th place.

As the run progressed though, the “M&M’s”® car became too tight, meaning it was difficult to turn. Schrader fell to 28th place, and then went one lap down at Lap 115. Luckily, the caution flag waved at Lap 116, and Schrader was able to get his lap back from leader Tony Stewart.

Under the caution flag, Schrader radioed his crew that the car had become “terminally tight” during the course of the run. He said it would help him greatly to be freer everywhere. The team pitted for another track bar adjustment, and they also pulled a rubber out of the left rear. The “M&M’s”® pit crew made several adjustments in hopes of helping the “M&M’s”® car and sent Schrader back on the track in 28th place.

Unfortunately, the changes went a little too far. At Lap 145, Schrader reported to his team that the No. 36 car was now too loose, which meant he was sliding all over the track. Under the caution at Lap 147, the team made yet another track bar adjustment, changed four ties and added fuel. Schrader returned to the track in 25th place.

At Lap 198, the “M&M’s”® team fell one lap down to the leaders. The No. 36 lost a second lap to the leader during green flag pit stops at Lap 235. Under the two consecutive long green flag, Schrader told his crew that the “M&M’s”® car was the best it had been all day. He was as high as 23rd when the caution waved at Lap 318.

The team came in for its final pit stop of the day – changing four tires and adding fuel. The “M&M’s”® team was able to grab one more spot before the checkered flag waved. Schrader finished the race in 22nd place, the second car three laps down.

“The guys had some great pit stops today,” Schrader said. “If it hadn’t been for their hard work in the pits, the “M&M’s”® car could have had an even rougher day. But they really kept us in it today, hopefully we’ll be able to put together a strong run next week in Kansas.”

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