DUQUOIN, Ill. – The driver with the most feature wins on the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Magic Mile is returning this weekend, doing double duty at the one-mile dirt oval.
Three-time ARCA Menards Series Southern Illinois 100 winner Ken Schrader is slated to pilot his own No. 52 Ford in Saturday night’s 100-mile event.
Schrader, a six-time winner of the Bill Oldani Memorial UMP Modified event, is also slated to contest the 20-mile affair for that class, with heat races Saturday and the finale Sunday.
Schrader’s mile track debut came in 1979 at DuQuoin in the 100-mile USAC Stock Car event. After terrorizing local short tracks in sprint cars and stock cars it was only a matter of time before the popular driver began moving up in the professional ranks.
It was fitting that his first appearance on one of the big dirt tracks came at a facility he and his father visited, the one closest to his Fenton, Mo., home.
Ken’s first USAC race for Henry Sieveking had mixed results. He qualified third and started directly behind A.J. Foyt. However, the Ford Granada soon developed mechanical issues and he was forced out after 28 miles.
He finished fifth in the 1980 stock car race, and 16th in 1981. He also made his first appearance in a dirt champ car on the Magic Mile in 1981 finishing 11th.
Finishes of 12th, third, 28th and 30th followed.
NASCAR called in 1985 and Schrader ended up as the premier series rookie of the year. From there, Schrader’s NASCAR obligations kept him from running at DuQuoin for 15 years, until he returned in 2001 to contest the ARCA race, where he finished fourth.
It wasn’t until 27 years after his first appearance at DuQuoin that Schrader was able to enter victory lane. He won the 2006 Southern Illinois 100 from the pole and repeated again in 2007 and 2013.
Add in six wins in the Oldani Memorial, plus a crate late model win in 2006, and his 10 main event victories put Schrader at the top of the DuQuoin Magic Mile victory list.
Schrader’s last ARCA appearance at DuQuoin came in 2016, when he started second and finished third. His last appearance in a dirt champ car was in 2017, when he finished 19th for owner Dennis McQuinn.