Schrader Brings It Home 26Th

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – A soggy race weekend played havoc with the schedule and led to the field of 43 cars being set by points for Sunday’s Southern 500. Ken Schrader and the “M&M’s”® Racing Team rolled off in 31st place late Sunday afternoon once the rain finally stopped falling and the skies cleared. With the changing weather throughout the course of the day, the “M&M’s”® team chased the track conditions and battled handling problems.

The race began with the field running 18 laps under the caution flag as the track dried. Almost two hours after the race was supposed to begin, Schrader and the “M&M’s”® team took the green flag and began full-speed racing. At Lap 50, Schrader was in 27th place and reported to the “M&M’s”® crew that his car was a little too tight and that he was having problems getting out of turn two.

Schrader pitted at Lap 70 under the green flag for four fresh tires and fuel. The team also made an air pressure adjustment to help the car’s tight condition. The leader passed Schrader while the team was in the pits, sending the “M&M’s”® team one lap down.

When the caution flag waved at Lap 108, Schrader was in 28th place. He told his pit crew that the changes had helped the car, but the No. 36 was still too tight on the race track. The team added four tires, fuel and made a wedge adjustment. The quick pit work put the “M&M’s”® car back on track in 28th place.

Throughout the course of the run, Schrader reported that he was still tight and actually getting tighter. When the caution flag waved at lap 153, the “M&M’s”® pitted another time to help the tight car. The “M&M’s”® team added a rubber to the right rear, changed four tires and added fuel. Again, quick pit work put Schrader ahead of all the other cars one lap down.

The adjustments the crew made actually went too far as the sun beamed down on the race track for the first time all weekend. At Lap 170, Schrader reported that he was now very loose. The caution waved 20 laps later and Schrader came in for service. The “M&M’s”® crew changed four tires, added fuel and made a track bar adjustment.

The “M&M’s”® car was running times comparable to a Top 10 car, but the team needed to get back on the lead lap to contend for a good finish. A caution at Lap 233 gave Schrader a chance at trying to get his lap back, but he was unable to catch the leader. Schrader was in 24th place when he rolled down pit road. Schrader said the “M&M’s”® car was still loose, so the crew made another wedge adjustment, added four tires and fuel.

Throughout the remaining laps, Schrader battled with the “M&M’s”® car as it changed from a tight handling condition to a loose race car. Near the race’s end, Schrader also complained that his “M&M’s”® car had lost grip on the track.

Despite solid pit stops all day long, Schrader and the “M&M’s”® crew could not get a handle on the No. 36 car. Schrader finished 26th.

“It was a long day for the “M&M’s”® team,” Schrader said. “We had done well at Darlington several times in the past, and going into the race, we thought that we had a good set-up for the car. Unfortunately, I think the changing weather played havoc with us and the car. We’ll just have to get ready for Richmond.”

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