Ken Schrader will return to pilot the Mark Swanson Encore Team No. 21 in Saturday's 58th Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown race this Saturday, August 21, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. (Al Steinberg Photo)
Kenny Schrader. (Al Steinberg Photo)

Schrader Takes First NASCAR Pinty’s Series Victory

OHSWEKEN, Ont. — Ken Schrader has won in nearly every discipline of motorsport during a career that has spanned over four decades.

With accomplishments that include multiple victories in the NASCAR Cup Series and Copper World Classic, along with a championship in the USAC Silver Crown Series, Schrader has established himself as one of the best drivers in the history of auto racing in North America.

On Monday evening, the 68-year-old Schrader added a NASCAR Pinty’s Series win to his storied resumé after starting on pole and leading the final 20 laps in the Freshstone Dirt Classic at Ohsweken Speedway.

“I just drove [the car],” Schrader said in victory lane. “These guys and Kyle [Steckly] my crew chief gave me an excellent car. They have their act together.”

For most of the 100-lap event at Ohsweken, Schrader found himself tailing his teammate and current NASCAR Pinty’s Series points leader Treyten Lapcevich. 

Having won the inaugural trip to Ohsweken last year in a thrilling photo finish with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Stewart Friesen, Lapcevich picked up from where he left off by working his way around a spinning Alex Tagliani to take control of the field.

Ken Schrader taking the checkered flag at Ohsweken Speedway. (NASCAR Photo)

Lapcevich spent the evening mostly uncontested with Schrader right on his back bumper until the final 25 laps when he collided with the slower car of Michael Goudie. The collision sent Lapcevich wide into the runoff area between Turns 3 and 4, which created an opening for Schrader to take the lead. 

Despite having to deal with a couple of chaotic restarts, Schrader kept the talented cast of Lapcevich, Kevin Lacroix, D.J. Kennington, and others as he cruised to his maiden NASCAR Pinty’s Series victory in his second appearance with the tour. 

Lacroix would be the one to finish behind Schrader in second after fending off Kennington in a spirited, late-race duel. Although he wished to have more track time, Lacroix was proud of his performance on Monday and will look to carry over his speed into Tuesday’s 100-lap race.

“We didn’t get to practice that much, but I kept getting better with the car as the race went on,” Lacroix said. “I think I was a little bit faster than [Schrader] at the end. I fell back to seventh on a restart and I was just trying to catch up. [Monday] was a lot of fun and I enjoy this track a lot.”

Although Schrader has won plenty of times over the past several years, Monday served as his first NASCAR-sanctioned win since 2006 when he picked up his last Copper World Classic triumph at Phoenix Raceway with what is now the ARCA Menards Series West.

The victory not only made Schrader the oldest winner in the history of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, but he also became the first non-Canadian driver to take home a checkered flag since the tour was founded in 2007.

Schrader expressed his gratitude to Scott Steckly and everyone at 22 Racing who helped make Monday evening so flawless at Ohsweken. With one win under his belt, Schrader will look to keep the momentum going on Tuesday night. 

“My teammate [Lapcevich] and I were working good together and then he got into the lapped car,” Schrader said. “I knew I had to go then. I definitely want to thank [my sponsor] APC for letting us do this. They’re the reason we’re up here.”

Lapcevich and Marc-Antoine Camirand completed the top-five behind Schrader, Lacroix, and Kennington. Rounding out the top-ten were Friesen, Daniel Bois, Thomas Nepveu, Alex Guenette, and Tagliani, the latter of which rebounded from two separate incidents.