Easter Brings a Truckload of Family Fun for Craftsman Series Drivers

04-07-2004 | TruckSeries.com Report

Ken SchraderEaster Week means family time for many competitors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

But for others – among them Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet), David Reutimann (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota) and Tracy Hines (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) – it’s business as usual: racing.

Schrader, whose 2004 racing schedule is now up to 85 events and still growing, has a busy week on tap. He’s due for double duty at Nashville Superspeedway in Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series event, then Saturday at the I-55 Speedway dirt track the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran owns in Pevely, Mo.

Still, Schrader is due some quality time with his family. He’ll take wife Ann and children Dorothy and Sheldon, along with a group of friends, to Colorado for several days of skiing and relaxation before heading to Martinsville Speedway for the April 17-18 NASCAR Craftsman Truck -NASCAR NEXTEL Cup doubleheader.

Reutimann, the leading Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, will be making his second NASCAR Busch Series appearance of the year at Nashville. He’ll drive Joe Nemechek’s No. 87 Chevrolet in which he finished 21st at North Carolina Motor Speedway.

Hines, who made his NASCAR Busch Series debut with a 20th-place finish April 3 at Texas Motor Speedway, is nearly Schrader’s equal in terms of “off-the-clock” activity outside the seat of ThorSport Racing’s Silverado.

The Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender also will be in Nashville Saturday – but in a United States Auto Club sprint car at the Music City Motorplex, the .596-mile Tennessee Fairgrounds venue that has returned to the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series this season.

Hines has been busy in three different USAC open wheel divisions since finishing 16th in last month’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In all, the Indiana competitor figures to race 66 times in 2004.

Easter Week is a time of religious observance to many in America. That’s the case, as well, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Andy Houston (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge), his wife, Lorie, and youngest son Clark will watch proudly as six-year-old son Collin participates – as an angel - in his first Easter pageant at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Hickory, N.C. The congregation includes NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton and his wife, Libby.

“Easter is a big occasion with our family,” said Houston. “We like to celebrate the real reason for Easter and it has special significance for us.”

In Houston, Texas, David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet), will be part of a huge family gathering of anywhere from 50 to 100 persons. The day will begin with mass and continues with dinner and traditional Easter egg hunt for the children.

“Kids are so beautiful and our hope for tomorrow and I love watching them run around and hunt for eggs,” said Starr. “I come from a really large family and having all the kids there is a large part of the fun.”

Mike Skinner (No. 42 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and his wife, Angela, will attend sunrise services in Daytona Beach, Fla. – after helping Skinner’s son, Dustin, race his Fastruck at Winter Haven on Saturday night.

The 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion also will have an Easter egg hunt, but with a twist.

“Since we no longer have young children we thought it would be fun to have an Easter dog treat hunt in our backyard for Opus, Lucky, Fatboy and Duke,” he said.

NASCAR Notables

Etc. … Chris Wimmer (No. 63 Race Fans For A Cure Ford) is the 13th driver to declare for the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year award. The 24-year-old Wisconsin native, younger brother of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor Scott Wimmer, makes his series debut next week at Martinsville Speedway. … The current rookie class is the largest since 1997, when a record-matching 14 candidates qualified for the May 31 event at New Hampshire International Speedway.

QUOTEBOOK - “I remember going to Martinsville as a kid. I had no ambition to race.  I was there to play with the other drivers’ and owners’ kids.  You had about three hours of play time since that’s how long the race took and then you went home.” – Jon Wood (No. 50 Roush Racing Ford), winner of last October’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway.

FROM THE ARCHIVES - This weekend marks the ninth anniversary of Ken Schrader’s only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at the old Saugus Speedway, the historic, flat .333-mile venue just north of Los Angeles. Schrader beat Geoffrey Bodine (No. 03 Team EJP Racing Chevrolet) by 1.7 seconds on April 15, 1995 – the night before Easter.