Kenny Schrader Made His “Last Call” From Sprint Cup

St. Louis native Kenny Schrader has been a staple of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit for nearly 30 years and over the years, he has earned rookie-of-the-year honors in 1985, won four events, claimed 23 poles, earned 64 top-five’s and 184 top-10s. Until 2007, he was a regular on the premier circuit but since then, the 57-year old has raced sporadically, most recently with Frankie Stoddard’s Ford team. But his Sprint Cup career ended this weekend after 763 races as the likable driver made his “Last Call” at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“It’s about time after 29 years of racing these cars,” Schrader said, who tallied 763 Sprint Cup starts. “I will enjoy my weekends and will be able to spend more time with my ARCA and truck team, plus it will give me more time to race my dirt modified.”

Schrader has always had a hectic schedule and has been challenged to balance his dirt-modified schedule with his NASCAR commitments. He’s been in the 100 category more than once. In 2013, he raced the dirt car 68 times and that’s not counting 17 rain-outs. Without the Sprint Cup commitment, he expects to race more often in 2014.

Also, he fields a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet team along with an ARCA and a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team out of his 45,000 sq. ft. North Carolina shop. Teenager Cole Custer drove the K&N car this season and will compete in nine Truck Series races for Schrader in 2014. Schrader will race the truck on dirt at the Eldora Speedway next July, hoping to do as well as he did in the debut race. At Eldora in July, he took the pole position to become the oldest driver to score a pole in a NASCAR national series event. Going forward, he will continue to run a handful of ARCA races, hoping to improve upon the two wins he achieved in 2013.

Federated Auto Parts has sponsored Schrader’s cars for many years and the company will continue to do so going forward.

Schrader’s success hasn’t been confined to NASCAR as he starred in USAC’s open-wheel and stock car divisions, winning championships and races. With USAC, he won six Silver Crown races, four sprint-car and 21 midget races along with dozens of other open-wheel races. Also, he took the Silver Crown championship in 1982 and a year later, he captured the USAC sprint-car crown.

Wherever Schrader races, he draws crowds and his popularity rivals that of the other driving stars. Stand around his pit area at a dirt track just about anywhere and you will see the crowds gather, and no fan will ever be turned away from a handshake and an autograph.

In addition to his race teams, Schrader owns the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO., and co-owns dirt tracks in Macon, IL and Paducah, KY. Also, he’s been a frequent color analyst and commentator on numerous television programs.

Around the Sprint Cup garage, fellow drivers and team owners hate to see Schrader and some are non-believers, including Richard Childress. “I don’t believe he’s going, and I expect to see him around.”

Another non-believer is car owner Stoddard, who isn’t convinced that Schrader is finished with Sprint Cup. “Kenny’s been a great friend for some 20 years and we really got to know him well the last two or three years,” he said. “He’s been a lot of fun to work with, and he helped us get this team off the ground. He said if I could afford to pay him, fine; if not, I didn’t have to. That’s the type of people you like to be around – the salt of the earth. If it is his last Cup race, I am proud to be able to say I was the crew chief and owner that put a car together for his last race.”

Schrader drove for Rick Hendrick for several years, and the championship owner regards him like a family member. “Kenny is like a brother to me, and he’s so much fun and such a great competitor for so many years. We will sure miss him, but I am lucky because we are friends.”

At Homestead, Hendrick and his wife Linda made the long walk down pit road to greet Kenny and Ann Schrader prior to the start of Schrader’s final Sprint Cup run.

While Schrader may be pulling away from Sprint Cup racing, he will continue to race often and be involved with racing for many years, and his involvement will pay dividends on an ongoing basis.

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