Musgrave's departure creates stir in Galaxy By Marty Smith MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 15, 1999) Everyone has a breaking point, and Ted Musgrave reached his last weekend. On his way to a season-worst 42nd-place effort in the Pennzoil 400 presented...
Musgrave's departure creates stir in Galaxy By Marty Smith
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 15, 1999) Everyone has a breaking point, and Ted Musgrave reached his last weekend. On his way to a season-worst 42nd-place effort in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Kmart at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Musgrave abruptly relinquished his seat in the No. 75 GameWorks Ford, verbally bashing his team upon his exit from the car.
He is done for the season, and although no word has been given as to whom may drive the car this weekend in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the team met on the subject Monday and plans to make a rapid decision, team owner Darwin Oordt said.
Musgrave, who latched on with team owner Butch Mock prior to this season after being released by Jack Roush midway through the 1998 season, could only shake his head after exiting his car Sunday with what he termed "ignition trouble."
"It's been the most ridiculous season of my career," said Musgrave, a 10-year veteran in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "I think even back when I ran ARTGO and stuff, this is the worst season of my career with things going wrong and things not being done right to go and win races. We don't do any wind tunnel time, we don't do any track test time, and you've gotta do all that stuff to be competitive. You can't take people in cars like this to a race track and run against these professional teams and do good.
"I mean, all you're doing is working against luck and maybe you get lucky. I'm sick and tired of just trying to be lucky out there. It just doesn't happen anymore. You've gotta be prepared and we just aren't prepared, so I'm just gonna quit this deal and do something that's supposed to be right for racing here."
In the wake of his decision, Musgrave ended a yearlong stint with the team and prematurely launched a new era for Galaxy Motorsports. Earlier in the 1999 campaign, Mock sold the team to Oordt, who later signed Wally Dallenbach as his driver of choice for 2000 when the team will be sponsored by TBS' Cartoon Network, in a program similar to what the organization has done this year with Melling Racing.
"We do have a pretty good team, and they were devastated by what happened -- just having somebody quit like that," Oordt said. "They were in 35th-place and then all of a sudden someone quits. Ted's frustrations must've just really gotten to him.
"I really didn't see this coming. I'm really still supportive of Ted. He's a great guy. I wish it would've happened differently, but it didn't so we're gonna just play with the cards we got. This is racing -- this stuff happens."
Despite Musgrave's unforeseen departure, Oordt feels no resentment towards his former pilot, and his optimism heading into 2000 is extremely high.
"I really have a lot of respect for Ted, and I can appreciate people's frustration because I'm sure it's been a tough year for Ted and for the team," said Oordt. "And I understand there's probably lots of frustration on his part, and this was one more than he could handle so he quit. I wished it wouldn't have happened, we had lots of (sponsor) people on hand, and it probably wasn't the correct timing."
"But, our team is a resilient team, and they're going to come back. They're not as bad as Ted has related, but I can appreciate where Ted was coming from. I'm not criticizing him, it's just one of those things that happens. I've had conversations with Wally, and we're optimistic for next year. Had this happened differently, I think it could've been a very positive thing for Ted, too. I still think it will be positive."
It would appear so. Oordt went on to explain that he has been in talks with Cartoon Network about a multi-year deal.
"They're onboard and they know the people we've had, and they're all unhappy that this happened, but they also understand that sometimes people get under pressure and do things that aren't probably as professional as they could've been," he said. "They've called us and we're possibly talking about a multi-year deal with them."
For now, however, the team hopes to quickly name a driver for Atlanta. The official word on why the team finished just 182 of 267 laps was ignition failure, but had the seat been positioned closer to the steering wheel, Ricky Rudd said at Homestead after his car fell out with engine failure that he would've helped out Galaxy by driving its car, thus confirming that Musgrave just didn't want to return to the track.
"We've been frustrated throughout the season and it's finally gotten to the point right now that I can see no light at the end of the tunnel," Musgrave said of his reasons for leaving the team. "It's been that way for quite awhile, but I hung in there to try to be good, but there's absolutely no hope and that's making everything look bad.
"It makes me look bad, it makes the team look bad, so I'd rather just sit back and watch somebody else go downhill."