Ken Schrader, the oldest full-time driver in NASCAR, turns 49 this week, and his sponsor is going all out to make it a special birthday.
Schwan's Home Service is bringing some of its home-delivery trucks to Lowe's Motor Speedway on Sunday before the Coca-Cola 600, and the first 49,000 fans will be treated with free ice cream and refrigerator magnets.
"Pretty nice stuff. Sure beats a card and a necktie," Schrader quipped.
Schrader, who drives the No. 49 Dodge for BAM Motorsports, joined what is now the Nextel Cup Series in 1985, when he was rookie of the year. He went the first 18 years without missing a race until he failed to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last August, snapping a string of 579 straight starts.
So far in 2004, he has a best finish of sixth, which came at Bristol.
"We've had a couple of pretty good runs this season, and that helps everything," Schrader said. "Running well can cure a lot of things. This team is growing in that direction. This is a young race team but we get better every time out."
Watch the Young Guns
Gillette is giving fans a chance to win $5 million, and if someone does, the company will donate that amount to charity.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick are part of a promotion called the Gillette Young Guns. If they finish the Coca-Cola 600 in the top six spots, anyone correctly predicting the finishing order will be entered in a random drawing for the big prize.
If that happens, Gillette will donate $5 million to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.
Fans can pick the order of finish at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.
Robinson Makes Her Return
Shawna Robinson, the last woman to start a Nextel Cup race, is making a NASCAR comeback in the Busch Series.
She'll drive one of three entries sponsored by Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, joining Regan Smith and Stanton Barrett.
Smith takes over the ride at Holigan Racing that was vacated by David Starr. He makes his first start June 12 at Nashville.
"In testing in Charlotte, we found him to be smooth and very fast," team owner Michael Holigan said of Smith. "We're really excited with him joining us."
Robinson has made a total of eight starts in her career, the third-highest total for a woman in NASCAR history. Janet Guthrie made 33 starts from 1976 to '80, and Louise Smith had 11 from 1949 to '50.
Fans of the children's show "SpongeBob SquarePants" have a special reason to listen to the Busch Series race at Lowe's in October.
As part of a promotion surrounding "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," that event will feature a special radio broadcast tailored to children. The movie also will be title sponsor of the race.
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch will run paint schemes to promote the movie, as well.
"The great thing is there will be something for every type of race fan," Johnson said. "Plus, how can we go wrong with SpongeBob helping us out on the car?"
Earnhardt: Most Popular
More people than ever are taking part in NASCAR's Most Popular Driver voting.
More than 1.25 million votes have been tabulated so far, well ahead of last year's pace of about 700,000. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the award in 2003, is again leading the way, with Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart rounding out the top five.
Fans can log on to
www.mostpopulardriver.com once a day to vote for their favorite driver.