As we head into Homestead for the season ending races, along with all of the the fanfare of the 2013 NASCAR Champions, we will say goodbye to some important drivers. There will be tears of joy for the drivers that win, and there will be tears of sadness for those drivers that are not going to be racing next season.
There has been a lot of talk about Martin, who says he “is” retiring at the end of this season. Will he really retire? Sadly I believe Martin is retiring this time. Martin will be greatly missed. Anyone that has followed Martin’s career, knows all the hardships and the great driver he became.
Labonte may be having his career cut short, although not planned; his is just the circumstances of the sport. For long time viewers and fans of NASCAR, it will be sad to not see a Labonte in the field. But I am holding out hope that his circumstances will change and we all will be fortunate enough to have him for another season.
Schrader announced his retirement as well to very little fanfare. It was a small blip and if you blinked you may have missed it. Schrader is a very important driver to the sport and has been overlooked throughout his career.
Born in Fenton, Missouri in 1955, Schrader started his racing career in 1971 at Lake Hill Speedway in Valley Park, Missouri. In the early 80’s Schrader started racing in the USAC series. Then in 1983 he made an attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 but wrecked his car in practice. Schrader’s first NASCAR race was in Nashville in 1984, in a car owned by Elmo Langley. Schrader’s first NASCAR win came in 1988 at Talladega Superspeedway in the Diehard 500. He went on to win four races, 23 poles, and 184 top-10 finishes.
What makes Schrader so special? His relationship with his fans. His sense of humor is one very few have, and his love of life and racing is bigger than anyone’s I have ever met.
The focus this weekend may be on Martin and Labonte, but lets not forget that we are losing another great driver, Schrader, whom has been a great part of NASCAR and deserves the same goodbye.