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Published: Thursday, 12/18/2008

Schrader to add SeaGate to venues


During the week of this year s Daytona 500, most of the Sprint Cup Series drivers spent the evenings relaxing in their luxury motor homes parked in the infield at the world famous speedway, or making sponsor-related appearances in the Daytona area.

But about 25 miles away, in a bare spot carved out of the pines and scrub and swamp just off State Road 40, Ken Schrader was far removed from the glamor and bright lights that surround NASCAR s Super Bowl event.

The veteran racer was running on a dirt track at Volusia Speedway Park, just east of the tiny hamlet of Barberville. Schrader was there, minus all the fanfare and amenities of life as a regular on stock car racing s highest circuit, because it was the closest place where he could find a race.

I just enjoy racing, and I ll pretty much go where I have to in order to get involved in a good race, Schrader said on a visit to Toledo Speedway earlier this year.

Over the years, I ve been to a lot of different places, because that was where they were putting on a race. I don t miss many chances to go run my dirt car, a stock car, or anything else.

That urge to drive fast in close quarters will bring Schrader back to Toledo this weekend, but away from the snow and ice and cold. Schrader will be inside the SeaGate Centre where the Rumble Racing Series will be staging events both tomorrow and Saturday.

The Rumble Series indoor events feature national midget cars, winged modified midgets, go-karts and quarter midgets. Doors open at noon both days, with time trials for the national midget cars starting at 4 p.m. and feature races beginning at 7.

Schrader has raced in the Sprint Cup Series for the past 24 years, but is also a two-time champion in midget and Silver Crown racing. He is the co-owner of several race tracks, and owns and races dirt track late models and modifieds. Schrader also competes in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and has 15 wins in that circuit. He raced in the final ARCA event of the season at Toledo Speedway this fall.

The SeaGate Centre races are part of two racing programs in the area being sponsored by Michigan International Speedway. The second stop will be in Fort Wayne after Christmas, on Dec. 26, 27. Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion and Indiana native Tony Stewart will take part in the Fort Wayne races.

Stewart has won a record six times on the 1/6-mile concrete track inside the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center in Fort Wayne.

To see drivers like Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart drive in these races truly shows you how much they love their sport, MIS president Roger Curtis said. MIS will have its mobile ticket office set up at both sites.

A number of area racers will be taking part in the SeaGate events, including Ashley Olszewski of Toledo, Chad Doxsee of Swanton and John Ivy of Fremont, a former track champion at Fremont Speedway.

Contact Matt Markey at:mmarkey@theblade.comor 419-724-6510.

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