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Monday, July 25, 2016

Ken Schrader #25 Kodiak Chevrolet

    Ken Schrader was always a favorite of mine, although he often times let me down on race day~ His main problem was he was too cautious with his car, and wouldn't ever go for the win in the way he should have~ I remember countless times where I thought he was going to win the race, only to be intimidated by someone else, who would steal the win away~ In today's post, I'm gonna be going back to his time in the #25 Kodiak Chevrolet, and looking at his time in his most successful NASCAR ride~

    After several winless seasons with long time Cup owner Junie Donlavey, Schrader found himself in a lucky position to start the 1988 Winston Cup season~ Veteran driver Tim Richmond was out of his ride, due to contracting the AIDS virus, and car owner Rick Hendrick pegged Schrader to drive his #25 Folger's car to replace the ailing Richmond~

    In his first race with the team, Schrader put the #25 Folger's car on the pole in the 1988 Daytona 500, and would finish in 6th place~ He also won his first Cup race this season, in the DieHard 500 @ Talladega~ He won again the following season, in the All Pro Auto Parts 50 @ Charlotte~

                                            Ken poses with the Kodiak car @ Daytona~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick

    His first time in the #25 Kodiak car came in the 1990 Daytona 500, where again, he put the car on the pole~ However, engine issues had him out of the race by lap 58, resulting in a 40th place showing~ He also won the pole in the Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte (finished 11th), and the AC Delco 500 @ Rockingham (finished 5th), although he wasn't able to reach victory lane during the season~ He was able to get a couple of runner up finishes, in the Budweiser 500 @ Dover, and the Checker 500 @ Phoenix~

    The 1991 season was arguably his best in the Cup series, picking up wins in the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 @ Atlanta, and the Budweiser 500 @ Dover~ He also finished runner up in the GM Goodwrench 500 @ Rockingham, and the Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte~ He finished out the season with 2 wins, 10 top 5's, and 18 top 10's, while finishing 9th in the final points standings~

                                               Ken stands with good friend Dale Earnhardt~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick Dale Earnhardt

    With the start of the 1992 season, Ken Schrader would start on a winless streak that would last the remainder of his career~ I don't think anyone could have predicted this.. I know I didn't~ Up until the end of the 1991 season, he had been getting consistently better, and I figured he at least win a race or two for several more seasons~ But this wasn't the case, as Schrader finished the 1992 season with 0 wins, 4 top 5's, 11 top 10's, and a pole in the Champion Spark Plug 500 @ Pocono~ He also fell to 17th in the final points standings.. slipping 8 spots from the previous season~

    While Schrader didn't win again in the Cup series, he still had a moderately productive season in 1993~ He picked up a career high 6 poles (Richmond, Charlotte, both Pocono races, Michigan, and Darlington), while also scoring 9 top 5's, and 15 top 10's, while improving to 9th in the final points standings~

    The 1994 Cup season was his last season driving the Kodiak car, and he had a somewhat decent year~ While he didn't win any races, or pole positions, he consistently ran strong all season, picking up 9 top 5's, and 18 top 10's~ He also finished a career best 4th place in the final points standings~ Following this season, he would remain with the #25 Hendrick team, but the team would receive sponsorship from Budweiser~ Schrader would remain with Hendrick until the start of the 1997 Cup season, when he was released from the team, and picked up by Andy Petree's #33 Skoal Bandit team~

                                                     Ken Schrader #25 Kodiak Chevolet~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick custom
                                                                 Click pics to enlarge~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick custom
                                                     Custom pics with Kodiak logos~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick custom
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Ken Schrader #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Rick Hendrick custom

    I know, I know.. the customs look like crap~ lol~ I did the best I could with them, but I just couldn't make them look as good as some of them that I've done~ I guess it still looks better than just a plain car with no logos on it~ I know it wasn't Racing Champions' fault, but I just can't stand seeing a plain car~ Never once when I was a kid watching the race, did I see Ken's Kodiak car and think "That Kodiak car makes me wanna chew some tobacco", or "That Rusty Wallace Miller car makes me wanna drink a beer"~

   I'm not very fond of this car at all, and only bought it because it's part of the set~ I wish I had smaller hands, so I could just order some decals, and make the car look like it should, but my hands are too big, and I rip the decals every time.. so what's the point?~ I give this car a D- on the Racing Champions quality scale, which I believe is the lowest grade I've ever given~ I hated his diecast as a child, and I still hate it to this day~

   As I said earlier, I really can't believe that Schrader only won 4 Cup races~ To think that Kyle Petty has double the wins as Schrader does is purely mind boggling~ No disrespect to Kyle, but in my opinion, Schrader is 1000 times a better driver than Kyle was.. statistics prove otherwise, however~ Below I have added some clips from Ken's career, enjoy them, and as always.. thank you all for stopping by the blog~ :)

                                                           All of Schrader's Cup wins~

                                                       Top 10 Ken Schrader crashes~

                                                                  Schrader on fire~

                                         Schrader and Michael Waltrip racing lawnmowers~

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