Ken Schrader Overcomes Vibration to Score Sixth Straight Top-10 Finish With KHI
LAS VEGAS, September 27, 2010: In a caution-filled race under the lights, Ken Schrader overcame a persistent vibration to earn a 10th-place finish in the Smith's Food & Drug Stores 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Schrader fought the vibration from lap 31 of the 167-lap race before earning his sixth consecutive top-10 finish for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) in the No. 2 Kroger Chevrolet.
Taking the green flag from the sixth position, Schrader slid back into the ninth position by the time the first caution flag of the night waved on lap 13 for fluid on the track. Schrader radioed to crew chief Butch Hylton that the Kroger machine was turning too freely, and the team decided to work on the truck while under yellow in order to get it right early in the race. While most of the field remained on the track, the No. 2 team took four tires, fuel, and made a spring rubber and track-bar adjustment. Schrader restarted 20th when green-flag racing resumed on lap 18.
Schrader began to make up the positions he lost due to his pit stop, advancing to 17th before the caution flag waved again for a spin on lap 23. As the leaders filed down pit road for their first stop of the day, Schrader followed them in order to remain on the same fuel strategy as the rest of the field. He emerged from pit road in eighth after taking fuel only and restarted the race on lap 27.
On lap 31, Schrader informed Hylton that he had developed a vibration, which made him unable to drive the truck as aggressively as he wanted. Hylton readied the pit crew to make a stop under green if necessary, but Schrader opted to remain on the track until the yellow waved on lap 40 for a spin on the frontstretch. Now in 11th place, Schrader brought the truck to pit road for four tires and fuel. After the completion of the stop, it was determined that Schrader had a loose right-rear wheel, which the team believed was the cause of the vibration.
Restarting 16th on lap 46, Schrader quickly jumped up to 12th, but the truck's vibration persisted. He remained 12th until his next opportunity to bring the truck to pit road when the caution flag waved on lap 61. The No. 2 team was precise in their stop, changing four tires while examining the hat bolts and hubs for any damage which could be causing the vibration. Schrader returned to the track in 24th when the race went green on lap 65.
Unfortunately, Schrader reported that he continued to experience the vibration, yet he was still able to maneuver the truck into 11th place before the yellow waved on lap 96 for debris on the track. Hylton called the No. 2 to pit road yet again, and the team put on the four tires they started the race with, which were the only set of tires with which Schrader had not experienced a vibration. Schrader restarted 10th on lap 101, and immediately felt that the vibration had decreased significantly, though still present. When the caution flag waved again seven laps later, the team opted to remain on the track for the first time of the night and Schrader restarted 11th on lap 111. Following a wild restart where Schrader lost two positions, the yellow flag waved for the final time five laps later for debris. The team again stayed on track, restarting 13th on lap 119.
The field of trucks quickly spread out on the restart, and although he was running lap times consistent with the top five, it wasn't until lap 135 that Schrader reeled in the truck in front of him to take over 12th. It appeared that he would finish the race in the 12th position, but with the white flag in the air on lap 145, Schrader shot around two of his competitors before crossing the finish line 10th. The finish was Schrader's sixth straight top 10 in his six starts with KHI.
"That vibration really hurt us," said Schrader following the event. "We were really close on the setup from the beginning, and we only made one handling adjustment the entire race, but the wheels were bouncing so much that I just couldn't do what I wanted with the truck. We keep getting closer to a victory. The team obviously knows that they can win, given their success this year, but I want to take this truck to victory lane myself. I've got one more shot at Talladega and I can't wait to see what we can do."
Austin Dillon claimed his second victory of the season, followed by Johnny Sauter, James Buescher, Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton rounding out the top five. The No. 2 is now fifth in the Owner's Point Standings, 328 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, October 23rd for the Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where Kevin Harvick will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 truck. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 12:30 p.m. ET.