ST. LOUIS (Nov. 29, 2017) -- Ken Schrader Racing has re-signed with Federated Auto Parts for 2018, marking the 19th consecutive season Federated has sponsored the Fenton, Missouri racer. It's a good thing too considering how many races he'll have on his calendar next year. If it's anything like his 2017 schedule, most would be hard-pressed to keep up. The 62-year-old racing legend had 117 events on schedule in '17, and we're not counting the 18 rain-outs. His racing season stretched 9 months, from Feb. 5 through Nov. 4.
"I'm already going crazy," said Schrader. Translation: he already wants back in the car.
"I'm done for the year. We won our last race November 4th in Milton, Florida."
That means that Schrader won 9 races this year in his No. 9 Federated Auto Parts-sponsored dirt modified. His victories included Southern (Fla.) Raceway, Tri-State (Okla.) Speedway, Macon (Ill.) Speedway, the Dirt Oval (Ill.) at Route 66, I-30 (Ark.) Speedway, DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, two at Heart O' Texas Speedway and the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.
As you might expect, he's already looking forward to next year. Schrader found out at the ARCA finale in Kansas that Federated was coming back for more.
"Federated informed me that I'm going to have a job next year. It's going to be our 19th year with Federated, and we certainly want to thank them for continuing to believe in our program. We're re-doing two dirt (modified) cars and building one new one.
"They're just really good people with good business ethics. We've formed a really solid relationship with all their members. I do about anything they want me to do and they've been very good about letting us do what we want to do. We work it so it works out best for their members…then we squeeze in the rest."
"The rest" includes his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards program. And unless you're living under a rock, you already know that Schrader's 52 car won the 2017 ARCA national championship, a first for driver Austin Theriault and Schrader's second ARCA car owner title.
"Federated was a full sponsor on the ARCA car at Kansas and DuQuoin and an associated sponsor all season."
In addition to outfitting dirt modifieds for 2018, Schrader is also getting ready on the ARCA side.
"Gotta build two new Daytona cars, the one we tested and another one. Don't know exactly what we're doing next year…depends on if everything hits. We've also got to go through all our "play-day" cars."
Federated calls his "play-day" car excursions "Get Dirty With Kenny". Outside of his own dirt modified racing and his ARCA program, Schrader's 2017 schedule included 52 days "besides the other stuff."
"We took 5 cars to tracks in I don't know how many states. Federated brings in customers to experience driving and riding in one of the two-seaters."
Schrader's next appearance will be at the upcoming Performance Racing Industry trade show and ARCA national championship awards banquet in Indianapolis Dec. 9.
"I've been to a lot of banquets but the ARCA banquet is definitely, probably my favorite banquet. I like seeing everyone dressed up like that…trying to figure out who they are when they walk in. There are always some really touching moments, funny moments…you just get a better appreciation at the ARCA banquet how hard everybody works to be there. It's not so scripted…there's more grassroot racers there, more for the love of the sport."
Some folks wonder how much longer Schrader will do it for the "love of the sport."
"A lot of people call this chasing a dream. It's not a dream…it's an addiction. I thought eventually I'd just grow out of it…that ain't looking real good."
Tickets are still on sale for the ARCA championship awards banquet at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis Saturday night, Dec. 9. The banquet, open to the public, is a formal, black-tie affair. The deadline is approaching as tickets must be ordered by Dec. 1. To order yours, call Shalene Williams at the ARCA home office 734-847-6726.