NASCAR WCUP: Gateway Homecoming for Wallace, Schrader
2 October 1998HARRISBURG, N.C., What do you get when you take two St. Louis area NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and team them with two St. Louis- based electrical manufacturing and distribution companies for the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division's second annual visit to Gateway International Raceway?
The No. 12 Graybar/Bussmann Chevrolet co-owned by Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader. Piloting the blue and yellow Monte Carlo in the Oct. 17 Carquest 250 will be Schrader's American Speed Association (ASA) driver Scott Hansen.
The association between Wallace, Schrader, Hansen and Graybar/Bussmann is a perfect fit. But that wasn't exactly the plan of choice, as circumstances dictated otherwise.
"The whole deal came together with the re-scheduling of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona to Oct. 17 due to the wildfires they were having," said Schrader of Fenton, Mo. "My buddy Kenny Wallace was going to run the Graybar/Bussmann car at Gateway, but since he had to be in Daytona that day, his schedule wouldn't allow him to do that."
"I had great sponsors in Graybar and Bussmann lined up for the race at Gateway, but because I had to be in Daytona for the Pepsi 400, I obviously couldn't be in two places at once," said Wallace. "Through my friendship with Kenny Schrader, we went in 50/50 on fielding a car for Scott Hansen at Gateway. He's a great driver and he won a bunch of ASA races this year. He definitely has the experience to get the job done, and Kenny and I both know he'll do a great job for Graybar and Bussmann."
Selecting ASA standout Hansen was an easy choice for both Wallace and Schrader. As the 1986 ASA Rookie of the Year and a three-year veteran of the ASA series, Wallace certainly appreciates the competitiveness that the ASA has to offer. For Schrader, the fact that the Green Bay, Wis., native has scored numerous ASA wins and poles while driving for him was evidence enough for Schrader to give Hansen the nod.
"Scott does a great job for me in the ASA series and he's qualified a Busch car forme in the past," said Schrader. "He's able to adapt really well to the heavy Busch cars versus the lighter ASA cars he's used to running, so it was a natural choice to put him in the car."
"Scott's going to give the fans around St. Louis something to talk about," said Wallace, himself a St. Louis native. "It'll be his first time in a Busch Series race, but it won't be his first time behind the wheel of a Busch car. The first time he was in a Busch car was when he qualified one for Schrader at Milwaukee. He qualified third. The guy's good."
Wallace is also no stranger to the Busch Series, and his statistics speak for themselves - eight wins, eight poles and two Busch Series Most Popular Driver awards in 1991 and 1994.
"We're just bringing a hometown team to a hometown race," said Wallace. "I would love to be behind the wheel of the Graybar/Bussmann car, but I can't. Since I can't be in the car, I'm glad we were able to get someone as talented and capable as Scott Hansen."
"I'm incredibly excited," said the 43-year-old Hansen about his first Busch Series start. "You can't get a person more pumped up than Kenny Wallace, and you can't get a nicer guy in Kenny Schrader to help you learn what it takes to win. The people from Graybar and Bussmann are equally fired up. With all these ingredients, we should have a great weekend at Gateway."
"The demographics of NASCAR provide Graybar and Bussmann with an excellent opportunity for exposure with the professional buyers and installers of our electrical supplies," said Chuck Udell, vice president of electric marketing. "We thought it was only right to partner with Bussmann and support Scott Hansen in his first Busch Series start with hometown team owners Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader. The analogy of fast cars, competition and team work fits well with the combination of our local Graybar service team and the Bussmann field engineers who work together to provide our customers with the fastest circuit protection devices found anywhere."
Graybar is the nation's largest independent distributor of electrical and comm/data products with annual sales in the range of $3 billion. Based in St. Louis, there are approximately 240 Graybar locations across the country and the number of dedicated employees exceeds 6,000.
Cooper Bussmann, the first name in circuit protection solutions, manufactures and markets electrical and circuit protection devices for use in residential, commercial and industrial construction markets. Cooper Bussmann has manufacturing facilities in six domestic and 10 international locations, with approximately 4,300 team members worldwide. For more information about Cooper Bussmann, visit the company's web site at www.bussmann.com.