|IN THE PITS
Q&A With Ann Schrader (wife of Nextel Cup driver Kenny Schrader)
February being the month of love, thanks to Valentine's Day, what's the most romantic thing your husband's ever done?
I think the sweetest thing he's ever done was buy me a dozen roses with the Kenny Chesney CD that has the song JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE on it. He'd heard the song on the radio and thought of me. Then he went to a lot of trouble calling the radio station and asking who sang the song, then buying the CD and the roses. It was very sweet.
What was the least romantic (e.g. any vacuum cleaners for gifts)?
He's a really good gift buyer and so he's never really bought me a bad gift.
Do you try and keep Kenny motivated, and if so, how?
I don't have to do anything. Racing is a true motivator for Kenny—it's his passion and he's so fortunate to be doing something for a living that he truly loves.
Can you give me three words that describe what it's like to be a driver's wife?
Challenging. Chaotic. Fun!!
What was the coolest thing that came about because of your involvement with the sport of NASCAR?
We were invited to go on a private tour of the White House. It was great. We met the head chief who was from Missouri. The chief was a big race fan and so we had the opportunity to eat at the White House. Afterward, Kenny wanted the chief to see Kenny at work and so we got him tickets to the race.
I was also invited to the inauguration, and to the GOP convention, which was great.
What was the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you at a racetrack?
This isn't really embarrassing, but someone once brought a pair of stripped underwear to the track, the kind with a plastic bottom on the outside. I agreed to wear them through the garage if someone would give me $200, and so I waited until Kenny was out on the track then did my walk through. It was pretty funny and I donated the money to MRO--Motor Racing Outreach*.
Okay, how much do you REALLY worry about Kenny when he's out there on the track?
I don’t worry at all. Actually, I worry more about him driving a passenger car on the city streets. He can get distracted while on a freeway or something, but the racecars are so safe that I don't even think about it.
Do you hold grudges against other drivers when they've wrecked your husband?
No. Absolutely not. We all park next to each other every week and so you're too close and too tight with people to hold grudges.
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at racing?
Nope. Not at all. I'm not a speed demon and I don't crave competition.
Who fixes things around your house?
I do. And if I don't do it, I call a company called Honeydo that specializes in all sorts of household repairs because that’s not one of Kenny’s strengths. As I like to say, if something around the house breaks and needs fixing, I call Honeydo ‘cause my honey doesn't do nothin'.
Do you do most of the driving around town? Or does Kenny?
He usually drives, although when he gets tired I do—especially after a race.
If you had a flat, would you trust Kenny to change it?
No, that’s not really his area. I'm a firm believer in hiring someone who’s skilled to do things that I’m not good at.
You've been involved with NASCAR for a long time. How have you seen it change for women?
More and more women are now holding major positions at the racetrack. It's not the boys club anymore. You see a bevy of women now—from race officials to the fans. It's changed a lot.
What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the sport of NASCAR?
My biggest contribution has probably been to motivate NASCAR to raise the bar with safety and with rescue missions. NASCAR has always been very open about my concerns and I really feel as if they've listened and made great strides toward improving safety.
* Motor Racing Outreach is a non-profit organization that takes church services to the racetracks for drivers and their families who are constantly on the road.