Ken Schrader will return to drive the No. 21 Mark Swanson Encore team in the 58th Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown Race this Saturday, August 21 at the Illinois Fairgrounds. (Photo by Al Steinberg)
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Ken Schrader, the 1982 USAC Silver Crown Series champion, will return to the series to compete in Saturday’s Bettenhausen 100 at the Springfield Mile located at the Illinois Fairgrounds.
Schrader returns to Springfield on Saturday aboard the Mark Swanson Encore Team / Rosewood Machine & Tool – Jet Star / Maxim / Moyle Toyota No. 21. The car was most recently driven to Springfield last October by David Gravel, who was in charge of the 26th to 2nd in his series debut. Kody Swanson drove the car to third place at Eldora Speedway last June.
Jeff Swindell piloted the Swanson ride to a third place finish at Springfield in 2017 and also recorded second, third and fourth places at DuQuoin.
Schrader has won events on the Springfield Mile in virtually every type of racing car imaginable except one, the 96-inch wheelbase beasts whose lineage dates back to the early days of auto racing.
One of the best known and most versatile drivers in American auto racing, Schrader has raced for over 40 years. He continues to ride short tracks across the United States competing against local and national heroes while taking the time to sign autographs or pose for photos with his legions of fans. Victory, versatility and an endearing personality made him one of the most popular racing drivers in the country.
His foray into high-profile auto racing began with his USAC Stock Car debut in 1979. A year later, Schrader secured a race in the final event of the 1980 USAC Silver Crown Series as a teammate with Gary Bettenhausen in the powerful Delrose-Holt team. . He immediately put the car on pole for the 1980 MAB Paints 100 at Terre Haute, his first start in one of the big cars. he was very lucky in 1981 when southern Indiana car owner Damon G. Fortune hired Schrader to drive his Silver Crown machine.
Schrader’s Rose Brothers sponsored Beck chassis did not win a race in 1982, although it came close to winning the 100 mile dream event at Springfield in May 1982. The best finishes made him a contender for the race. 1982 title, but the car was in trouble in the season finale in Nazareth. Fellow driver Sheldon Kinser ceded his race from Ben Leyba to Schrader, allowing him to race and win the crown. It was this gesture that prompted Schrader and his wife to name their son Sheldon.
Schrader has six starts in the Silver Crown cars in Springfield with three top-10s. His last start came for owner George Middleton in 1985. While he tried for Dennis McQuinn in 2018, if Schrader was on the field on Saturday it will be a 36-year record between the championship debut at Springfield.
What else did Schrader do on the Springfield Mile? Well, he won the Allen Crowe 100 ARCA race in 1998, the Midget Rex Easton Memorial USAC race in 1983, and the Modified event in June 1998.