VICTORY FOR SCHRADER
EDMONTON, AB – Ken Schrader won a hard fought and often gritty Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series Feature at Castrol Raceway on Wednesday night. The second annual Race of Champions/Legends of NASCAR event welcomed Schrader, Kenny Wallace and two-time Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip to Edmonton, Alberta. “I thought we were going to have a bit of a problem starting where we did in the Feature [5th] but the race track widened out a lot. It was sure a lot different than last year.” Schrader swept the 2013 ROC/NPP Series event in Edmonton winning the Heat, Dash and Feature. “I think I lost the deposit on my car tonight,” joked Schrader in victory lane, “last year we didn’t put any dents on the car. Looking at my car right now, it’s a little rough.” Schrader avoided several on-track incidents throughout the evening in his All Weather Windows #52 Dodge including a two-car crash in the ‘A’ Dash where he scrubbed the back straight wall.
“We got lucky with some lapped traffic [in the Feature] and was able to make things work. Getting the lead tonight was a lot tougher than being able to keep it.” Schrader took over the race lead from fellow American driver Kenny Wallace at the halfway point of the Feature. Wallace gave up second place to 2009 NPP Series Champion Darrell Midgley just one lap later.
“What an honor it is to race against guys like these,” says Midgley, “it really steps up the race competition level. These guys are at an elite level and it’s just an incredible opportunity to run with them.” Midgley grabbed his 10th all-time NPP Series pole position after winning the ‘A’ Dash race Wednesday night. Unfortunately his time at the front in the Feature was short lived. “I ran the bottom in my heat race and figured we’d do the same in the Feature. Bad idea. Everyone blew by me.” Midgley handed over the race lead to Altario, Alberta’s Kevin Clark before the end of lap 1. Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader would also drive by Midgley’s Integra Tire #14 Dodge. The Sidney, British Columbia driver spent the rest of the Feature fighting his way back to the front.
Kenny Wallace, making his first appearance at Castrol Raceway, finished third in the NPP Series Feature. It did not take the North Carolina driver long to figure out his Jaynart Directional Drilling #36 Dodge. “Kenny Schrader taught me that whenever you go to any new race track that’s dirt, you let off easy and enter [corners] in the middle.” The strategy worked as Wallace won his Wednesday night heat race. In the Feature, Wallace took over the race lead from Kevin Clark on lap 4. Wallace would hold onto the number 1 spot till the halfway point of the Feature. “It was a fun race. I’m a little disappointed. I had the lead, then had second but lost them both. I wanted to run second to Schrader but the 14 car was fast. He was really good. He was on the wheel when he got by me.” Wallace started the Feature in the fourth position. “Tricky track tonight as it had a bit of a cushion. If you jumped it just a little bit you mess up.” Rounding out the top five from Wednesday nights Feature in Edmonton. After leading the opening laps, Kevin Clark wound up fourth. Dean Deatherage scored his first top five finish of the season. Current point leader Mark Miller did not finish the feature due to overheating problems.
North Carolina’s Michael Waltrip returned to Edmonton for the second year in a row to run with the NPP Late Model Series. The NASCAR team owner finished 7th Wednesday night, two spots better than his 2013 appearance. “It was a good night. We certainly had goals when we came to the race track to finish better than 7th.” Waltrip admits that he is more accustomed to running on the pavement. “I don’t race dirt that often. The last time I raced dirt was last year here [in Edmonton].” Waltrip had other goals in mind in Wednesday night when he hit the track. “I wanted to be respectful and not cause any cautions and keep the car in one piece. I accomplished that tonight.” Waltrip puts the team owner hat back on for this weekend’s race in Pennsylvania. Brian Vickers and Clint Boyer will attempt to secure a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Championship at the Pocono 400.