Joined: 16 Jun 2016
|Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:46 pm Post subject: Schrader And Stokes Ready For Possum Town Grand Prix
|CARTERSVILLE, GA – Mike Vaughn Racing is headed to Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS for the Annual Possum Town Grand Prix on Thursday through Saturday. The team will bring a pair of Vaden Chevrolet Modified Sportsman cars for two legendary drivers, as Ken Schrader of Fenton, MO will drive the #9 entry and Johnny Stokes of Columbus, MS will pilot the #1 machine.
Both drivers are returning to their roots in motorsports, dirt track racing, at an age where Schrader at age 66, and Stokes at 68-years-young can still show they have some competitive gas left in their respective tanks.
Both drivers have put the Vaden Chevrolet Modified Sportsman cars in Victory Lane in past events. Schrader was the winner last month at Rome Speedway in Rome, GA, and Stokes was the winner at Talladega Short Track in 2020. The Possum Town Grand Prix will mark the second time they have teamed up with Mike Vaughn Racing.
Schrader came up through the ranks in the 1970s and 1980s running open-wheel race cars in the Midwest with the United States Auto Club Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget Divisions on both dirt and pavement short tracks. Schrader was the 1982 Silver Crown Champion and the 1983 Sprint Car Champion.
While he was racing towards the USAC Sprint Car title in 1983, Schrader got an opportunity to try and qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Engine issues and rain limited Schrader’s track time, but he was able to pass his Rookie’s Test. While trying to bring the March/Cosworth up to speed on the final day of qualifying, the car got loose in turn four, did a 360, and hit the wall with the right side of the car.
After heavy impact with the right side of the car, Schrader climbed from the car uninjured. Since there was no time to repair the car in time to make a qualifying run, Schrader missed the show. But, as Schrader would say later, it was a crash that would change the course of his career.
“The crash at Indianapolis might have been the hardest of my career, but it was the best wreck of my career,” Schrader said. “I looked at the state of Indy Car Racing as a whole and its future, and I thought the best direction for me was to head south and look at NASCAR.”
Schrader made his NASCAR debut in 1984, and he spent 29 years in the NASCAR Cup Series before retiring from that form of competition in 2013. Had four wins in his career with 184 Top Ten finishes and 23 pole positions. He won two Busch Clash Races, and three Daytona 500 Poles.
Even while competing on the NASCAR Cup Tour, Schrader stayed involved in short track racing making special appearances at dirt and asphalt event across the country, Schrader even got involved in track ownership and promotion with a short track in Pevely, MO. It was during his short track racing exploits that Schrader met Mike Vaughn of Cartersville, GA.
Vaughn was a dirt late model car owner at the turn of the century, and by 2003, Vaughn was asked to try an economical Chevrolet Performance “Crate” Engine that was built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications. After catastrophic failures that blew up $40,000 engines he owned, Vaughn was ready for something that would save him money.
After establishing himself in Crate Late Model racing, Vaughn was asked by a group of racers to organize Crate Late Model racing, and he founded a travelling series called Crate Racin’ USA in 2005. Schrader ran selected races with Crate Racin’ USA and Stokes was also involved with the series as both a competitor and track promoter.
Stokes was one of the top dirt late model drivers in Mississippi in the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 21st Century. Stokes made a name for himself on the National scene running with the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Model Series, the Rick’s Furniture Series, and the Southern All-Star Series.
Even as he became more involved as a dirt track owner/promoter, first at Columbus Speedway, and then across town at Magnolia Motor Speedway, Stokes never retired from dirt track competition, and he never quit winning races. Stokes won the Street Stock World Championship Race in 2017 on his 64th birthday.
In addition to his work as a dirt track owner/promoter, Stokes has become well known for his expertise in dirt track preparation and has earned the name “Dr. Dirt.” Stokes has been called upon to help dirt tracks across the country get the best out of racing surfaces.
Schrader, Stokes and Vaughn came together in late 2017 when Vaughn was looking for a new Modified Division for Crate Racin’ USA. Vaughn began a Weekly Racing Series for the Crate Late Models in 2006 for Weekly Tracks, and added a Street Stock Division in 2012, and a Late Model Sportsman Division in 2016. Since its inception in 2005, Stokes had been a CRUSA supporter and has signed on with each CRUSA Division as both a track owner and a competitor.
When it came to writing the rules for the CRUSA Modified Sportsman Division, the first call Vaughn made was to his friend Schrader, who with his long-time crew chief Joe “Soupy” Campbell, wrote the rules for the new Division. Schrader took a simple and economical three-link chassis that he liked and combined it with the economical engine rule Vaughn had in place with the Street Stock Division.
The CRUSA Modified Sportsman competitors had their choice of two engine options. They could run a version of a “built” engine with a two barrel carburetor, or the economical Chevrolet Performance 602 Crate Engine with a four barrel carburetor.
Vaughn sold CRUSA at the end of the 2018 season, but has stayed involved in the sport as a car owner. Both Modified Sportsman race cars are powered by Chevrolet Performance 602 Engines from Vaden Chevrolet in Savannah, GA that has free next-day delivery anywhere in the Southeast.
The 350 horsepower all-steel Chevrolet Performance 602 Engines are built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications, and the engines in both cars came right out of the crate ready for competition. For more information or to place an order, call Vaden Chevrolet at 833-823-3678.
Magnolia Motor Speedway is located at 495 Highway 45 South, Columbus, MS 39701. For more information call 662-240-3478, or visit the track web site at www.magnoliadirt.com. You can also Like and Follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/magnoliamotorspeedway. For more information about Mike Vaughn Racing, Like and Follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mikevaughnsautoexchangeracing.
Schrader’s #9 and Stokes’ #1 Vaden Chevrolet Open-Wheel Modifieds that they will drive in the Possum Town Grand Prix at Magnolia Motor Speedway on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are also sponsored by Chevrolet Performance, Hoosier Racing Tires, KRC Power Steering, David Smith Carburetors, Lightning Chassis, Federated Auto Parts and Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange.