Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 8th at Atlanta Motor Speedway Hampton, Ga. (March 19, 2007) Ted Musgrave drove the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota to an eighth-place finish in Friday's American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman...
Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 8th at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hampton, Ga. (March 19, 2007) Ted Musgrave drove the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota to an eighth-place finish in Friday's American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Musgrave started 25th and steadily worked his way to the front, but his march to the top five was hampered late in the going by a series of caution flags that limited the amount of green flag racing in the final quarter of the race.
"Early in the race we kind of dropped back and Rick (Gay, crew chief) and I talked about what changes to make on the pit stops," Musgrave said. "We started off tight in the center and loose off the corners, but we definitely had something to work with. As the race went on, we got better and things started working our way and we started to move up. We just missed it right at the start and that gave us bad track position."
As the 130-lap race ran towards its conclusion, Musgrave and Gay had made the adjustments needed to run competitive lap times. Musgrave was able to work his way into the top ten, and it looked like the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota was again going to challenge for a top-five finish. But late-race cautions limited the amount of time Musgrave had to race for those positions.
"But by the end of the race, we were running lap times just as good as the leaders," Musgrave continued. "We were very good at the end, but there were just too many cautions at the end and that just murdered our chances to get closer to the front. We needed laps to race those guys and get past them, and instead we were running single file behind the pace truck wasting laps."
With a wide racing groove and a tire that matched the racing surface almost perfectly, Musgrave said some of those cautions were due to over-exuberant driving on behalf of some of his competitors.
"The tire here was pretty good," Musgrave said. "It was a little cool, so it was hard to get going on the restarts and you'd spin the wheels a little, but once you did get going they came in really well. So you can't blame the cautions on the tires. I think the problem you saw with all of those cautions was everyone knows Atlanta is very wide and you can run anywhere. There was a lot of blocking and protecting positions. I know on the last restart, the guy in front of me did a lot of mirror driving and blocked me and mixed everything up. That cost me a couple of spots. We were able to work our way back up but that definitely hurt us. But as far as the cautions are concerned, it's the drivers out there holding the steering wheel not the tires."
On the strength of one top-five finish and three top-ten finishes in the first three races of 2007, Musgrave moves up one position and now sits fifth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, 110 points behind leader Mike Skinner and just nine points behind Jack Sprague for fourth.