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Ken Schrader's Start

Missouri native Ken Schrader had made quite a short-track name for himself by the early '80s, having run USAC Midgets, Sprint Cars, Silver Crown, and Stocks from 1971 through '83.  He was the 1980 USAC dirt-track Rookie of the Year, its 1982 Silver Crown and dirt-track champion, and its 1983 Sprint Car champion.  But it wasn't until 1984, when Ford Motor Company took notice and hooked him up with driver-trainer-owner Elmo Langley, that his career began taking off. 

Langley fielded No. 64 Fords for six different drivers in 28 races in 1984.  Clark Dwyer, Gary Mayeda, and Joe Millikan each ran one, Jimmy Hensley drove four, Schrader five, and Tommy Gale the other 16.  Schrader's finishes: 19th at Nashville, 33rd at Michigan, 17th at North Wilksboro, 26th at Charlotte, then 27th at Atlanta.

Not very impressive, but good enough for Ford to decide it wanted to keep him.  So in 1985, Ford brokered a deal matching Schrader with long time team owner Junie Dunlavey of Richmond, Virginia.  Schrader ran the full '85 (when he was Rookie of the Year), '86, and '87 seasons with Dunlavey before moving to the Rick Hendrick stable for the '88 season.  "Those five races with Elmo and the three years with Junie really helped my career get going," said Schrader.

from http://www.decadesofracing.net
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