BAM Racing, Ken Schrader, and Larry
by John Sturbin, Star-Telegram
13 February 2005
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The oldest full-time driver in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series is plotting his exit strategy.
Ken Schrader, who made his Cup debut in 1984, is planning to leave the series after the 2006 season. Schrader, 49, is entering his third season as driver of the No. 49 Dodge Charger owned by Tony and Beth Ann Morgenthau's BAM Racing.
Schrader -- who scored his fourth and most recent Cup victory in June 1991 -- has finished 36th and 31st in points while driving for BAM, one of the series' few remaining single-car teams.
"If I get to write the story, 2006 will be my last year in Cup," said Schrader, who has gone 443 consecutive races since winning at Dover (Del.) International Speedway while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. "I've been doing this long enough to know there's no guarantee. I've got a contract that runs through this season and next, but a contract is just something people agree to when they've been having good days."
BAM Racing made its Cup Series debut in 2002. Schrader's sixth-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last March is the team's best result.
Coincidentally, the contract of the team's primary sponsor, Schwan's Home Service, expires at the end of 2006. BAM, which has been attempting to secure sponsorship to field native Texan Larry Foyt for a second Cup ride, reportedly is in negotiations to extend Schwan's support.
Schrader added he will shift his attention to full-time duty as owner/driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2007, as well as compete in assorted dirt-track events.
Schrader is fifth all-time in consecutive Cup Series starts with 579, a streak that was snapped in 2003. He joins a growing list of veteran drivers announcing either scaled-back Cup schedules or complete exits from NASCAR's premier series since last year. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Cup champion, is running a limited schedule for the second consecutive year. Two-time Cup champion and native Texan Terry Labonte has booked 10-race schedules this year and in 2006 before retiring.
Meanwhile, the 2005 season that begins with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 will jump-start the final full-time Cup seasons for Rusty Wallace, the 1989 series champion, and Mark Martin.