Seth and Sutton Sharp
July 1, 2019
During first round qualifying for the 1993 Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Ken Schrader put down a speed of 188.045 MPH in his No. 25 Kodiak Chevrolet, which was the 15th best of the day. That didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary, as Schrader had qualified 16th or better for the previous 14 races of the season up to that point. The No. 25 team was also beginning to heat up as the summer months rolled in. Schrader won two poles and posted four straight top-five finishes, which moved him up to seventh in the battle for the Winston Cup.
That momentum came to an abrupt stop Thursday after qualifying when NASCAR found that the No. 25 car had an illegal carburetor setup. Both Schrader and team-owner Papa Joe Hendrick were suspended for four races.
The team immediately appealed the suspension and NASCAR announced the appeal would be heard on Tuesday following the race. The duo were set to miss the races at Loudon, Pocono, Talladega and Watkins Glen.
Despite the looming suspension, Schrader was allowed to re-qualify for the race at Daytona. His second-round qualifying time of 182.567 MPH was not fast enough to make the field, so Schrader was forced to use a provisional and start 43rd.
ESPN pit-reporter John Kernan explained the issues during the Pepsi 400 broadcast. He said that the carburetor setup that the car had created an air-leak around the four stud holes on the restrictor plate, which allowed more air to get into the intake manifold. This gave the No. 25 car more horsepower. The carburetor was so unconventional and innovative that Winston Cup director Gary Nelson said that there was no way the situation wasn’t deliberate.
The entire team claimed they had nothing to do with the carburetor because they receive their engines from an outside source, B&R Engineering which was based in Winston-Salem, NC. B&R was partially owned by Papa Joe’s son, Rick. Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Jimmy Johnson admitted he knew that B&R had experimented with these types of things in the past, but the parts were never to be used in competition.
Schrader immediately fought the suspension, saying “I hope the commission sees right because I didn’t have anything to do with it. I just put on the helmet and drive.”.
When the green flag dropped on Saturday, Schrader worked his way through the Pepsi 400 field, leading four different times before finishing third.
On Tuesday after the appeal was heard, NASCAR lifted the suspension of both Schrader and Hendrick, agreeing that the two had no knowledge of the issues. The two were each fined $5,000. The appeal was heard by Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell, IMSA President Dan Greenwood and NASCAR competition administrator Jerry Cook.