Ken Schrader Enters Federated Auto Parts 200 At Berlin; Leads ARCA's Bill France Four Crown Championship To Third Leg At Marne, Michigan Short Track
When you're putting in 90-plus races year after year after year, it's nearly impossible to remember them all. NASCAR/ARCA veteran Ken Schrader has unquestionably raced at more tracks across America than most, and that includes Berlin Raceway. But it's what he remembers about the renowned Marne, Mich. short track that's interesting.
"I remember it being slick and, overall, challenging. Seemed like it didn't have a wall on the back straightaway either," Schrader recalled of Berlin.
And, it still doesn't have a backstretch wall, which adds to the mystique that is the quirky Berlin oval.
"I'm sure I drove it...maybe twice in late models...bout 15 years ago. Had a blast each time; I can tell you that. Every race is a special event."
And Schrader will drive it again Saturday night, August 9 in the ARCA Racing Series Federated Auto Parts 200 in his own No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.
For Schrader, there's a lot on the line at Berlin, not only because he's still got the intense desire to win, but for what the race represents.
This year's Federated Auto Parts 200 at Berlin is the third leg of ARCA's 2014 Bill France Four Crown championship, an annual honor that reaches back to 1984 when Davey Allison became the inaugural recipient/champion.
The Four Crown schedule provides a link to the series' roots, featuring a diverse combination of tracks in any given season. This year's schedule includes New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course), Chicagoland Speedway (superspeedway), Berlin Raceway (short track), and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (mile dirt), where the Four Crown will conclude September 1.
"That would be high, high on our list of accomplishments if we're able to pull it off," Schrader said.
"That's always been one of my favorite parts of the banquet each year when that award is given out. More than anything, it says a lot about the depth of a race team."
The award officially goes to the car owner. Schrader is running his No. 52 car everywhere on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour this year with a combination of drivers...himself doing 11 races, rookie Matt Tifft in for eight, and Martinsville Speedway track president Clay Campbell in for two.
"That would really be special to me if we could accomplish this. Matt Tifft would be a big part of it. I would have driven two, and he'll have driven two."
Tifft got the thing off to a great start, finishing a career-best third on the NJMP road course and third again at Chicagoland. Schrader will complete the four-race Four Crown card at Berlin and on the DuQuoin mile dirt in early September. Schrader is the defending winner at DuQuoin, becoming the oldest ARCA winner in series history.
"Matt's really putting the pressure on me. That award means a ton to me, personally. We'll go to work on it at Berlin."
All-time ARCA winner Frank Kimmel is the all-time Bill France Four Crown champion with seven titles (2013, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1998).
Schrader, who has logged more than 700 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, will make his 71st career ARCA start at Berlin. Schrader has 17 ARCA victories and 18 Menards Pole awards.
Schrader will already have more than 60 races in the books this year prior to landing at Berlin. He's won seven times so far this year, all in dirt modifieds...and all over the country. In mid-July, he raced seven nights in eight days across Colorado, Kansas, Ohio and Indiana in dirt modifieds, NASCAR Trucks and the ARCA Racing Series.
In addition to racing at Federated Auto Parts Raceway (Pevely, Mo.) this weekend, he'll set off on another typical whirlwind week of racing that will culminate with the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Berlin.
"We've got a ton of races on our schedule next week...don't know exactly where yet, but it'll be a bunch I can tell you that."
Past ARCA Bill France Four Crown Award Champions:
1984 - Davey Allison
1985 - Lee Raymond
1986 - Lee Raymond
1987 - Grant Adcox
1988 - Grant Adcox
1989 - Tracy Leslie
1990 - Bob Keselowski
1991 - Bobby Bowsher/Bill Venturini (Tie)
1992 - Bobby Bowsher
1993 - Bob Keselowski
1994 - Bob Hill
1995 - Harris DeVane
1996 - Tim Steele
1997 - Tim Steele
1998 - Frank Kimmel
1999 - Bill Baird
2000 - Tim Steele
2001 - Frank Kimmel
2002 - Frank Kimmel
2003 - Jason Jarrett
2004 - Brent Sherman
2005 - Frank Kimmel
2006 - Blake Bjorklund
2007 - Frank Kimmel
2008 - Frank Kimmel
2009 - Parker Kligerman
2010 - Joey Coulter
2011 - Chad McCumbee
2012 - Chris Buescher
2013 - Frank Kimmel