Experience Beats Youth as Schrader Dominates Federated Auto Parts 200by Kyle Pokrefky April 27, 2015 0 comments
Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn
SALEM, Ind. — Entering the 97th running of the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Salem Speedway, Ken Schrader had been waiting 15 long years to make his way back into victory lane at Salem in the ARCA Racing Series.
After 200 grueling laps on one of the roughest racing surfaces in ARCA on Sunday, Schrader went back to victory lane at Salem in dominant fashion, leading 138 laps from a sixth-place starting position for his 18th career series victory.
For the veteran, this win was a long time coming.
“Winning anywhere feels good, but it’s been so damn long since we won here,” Schrader said. “But, we had a good car. We’ve had a good car a bunch of times and for whatever reason I’ve not been able to get it done – so yeah, I wanted to win it.”
Restarts were crucial for the driver and owner of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet as Schrader pointed to them as being the thing that helped seal the deal for himself. With five caution flags flying after he took the lead on Lap 62, Schrader had to be on point and execute on his restarts from the top lane.
“I said ‘I’ve got to hit these starts right’ because I can’t be jacking around here,” Schrader continued. “…being the leader you dictate the start and then the track’s kind of top dominant – not so much in 1 and 2 but in 3 and 4. We were just able to get going right off the start which helped us.”
The field didn’t make it easy for the Fenton, Mo. native as a hard-charging Kyle Weatherman, Dominic Ursetta, J.J. Haley and Austin Wayne Self each took shots at Schrader for the lead but respectively wound up second through fifth.
Weatherman and Self’s top-five finishes came after rallying back from being involved in a caution on Lap 5 that sent Self’s No. 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford around in Turn 2, inflicting damage on Weatherman’s car as well as Schrader’s. Unlike Schrader, however, Self and Weatherman spent lengthy amounts of time on pit road to inspect and repair their race cars.
Weatherman, driver of the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Ford, took the white flag in the third position before slipping his way past Ursetta in a spectacular last lap pass.
For the 17-year-old, his third career ARCA runner-up finish indicates to him that his maiden series victory is near.
“Just getting off sequence in the beginning really killed us, it really did,” Weatherman said. “We’ve got great guys behind me here, they put it back together. We salvaged a good finish here, we finished second.
“If we keep on doing this, we’ll be in victory lane one of these days. This is my third second-place finish, if we just keep on putting ourselves in the right position here, we’ll be there at the end.”
Venturini Motorsports’s Ursetta claimed his best career series finish with his third-place effort in his second series start, besting a ninth-place effort that came at Mobile International Speedway.
“We had a great car all weekend, it was my first time here [and] this place is pretty intimidating, so you’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Ursetta stated. “I’ve got to thank all the Venturini guys, Arvada Excavating, PDS (Productive Data Solutions) and everybody that makes this possible.
“We just came up a little short. Coming to the white flag, I slipped up trying to catch the No. 52 to see if he’d make a mistake and he didn’t and I did. I ended up third, but all-in-all a great weekend.”
Rounding out the top-10 of the fourth ARCA event of the season were Brandon Jones, Tom Hessert, Clayton Weatherman, David Levine and James Swanson.
Hessert, winner of three of the last five races at Salem entering Sunday’s event, led 39 laps before being passed by Schrader, who led the final 138 laps of the race. Hessert assumed the lead from Grant Enfinger, who was chasing history by going for his fourth consecutive victory to open the season, on Lap 24.
Enfinger, the points leader heading into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 at Talladega Superspeedway, gave Schrader all he had with his No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet but wound up 13th after breaking a track bar mount after getting into the Turn 4 wall.
Four days out from Talladega and the fifth race of the season, Enfinger will unofficially take a 95-point lead over Self into Friday’s race.
Top-10 Finishers of the Federated Auto Parts 200
- 52 – Ken Schrader – Chevrolet – Ken Schrader Racing
- 22 – Kyle Weatherman – Ford – Cunningham Motorsports
- 55 – Dominic Ursetta – Toyota – Venturini Motorsports
- 74 – J.J. Haley – Chevrolet – Braun Racing
- 98 – Austin Wayne Self – Ford – Mason Mitchell Motorsports
- 25 – Brandon Jones – Toyota – Venturini Motorsports
- 77 – Tom Hessert – Ford – Cunningham Motorsports
- 10 – Clayton Weatherman – Ford – Andy Hillenburg
- 59 – David Levine – Ford – Lira Motorsports
- 06 – James Swanson – Dodge – Wayne Peterson Racing
Top-10 in the Unofficial Drivers Standings after Round 4 of 20
- 23 – Grant Enfinger – GMS Racing – 890 | Leader
- 98 – Austin Wayne Self – Mason Mitchell Motorsports – 795 | -95
- 6 – Josh Williams – Josh Williams Motorsports – 735 | -155
- 59 – David Levine – Lira Motorsports – 705 | -185
- 77 – Tom Hessert – Cunningham Motorsports – 690 | -200
- 9 – Thomas Praytor – Max Force Racing – 645 | -245
- 22 – Kyle Weatherman – Cunningham Motorsports – 640 | -250
- 25 – Brandon Jones – Venturini Motorsports – 630 | -260
- 2 – Sarah Cornett-Ching – Hixson Motorsports – 580 | -310
- 97 – Bobby Hamilton Jr. – Carter 2 Motorsports – 575 | -315
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky