Daytona: Round one preview

Teammates Ted Musgrave and Todd Bodine all smiles on eve of Daytona International Speedway opener DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2006) -- Ted Musgrave (No. 9 ASE/Germain Toyota) has figured out how to top his first NASCAR championship. Win ...

Teammates Ted Musgrave and Todd Bodine all smiles on eve of Daytona International Speedway opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2006) -- Ted Musgrave (No. 9 ASE/Germain Toyota) has figured out how to top his first NASCAR championship.

Win another one.

"I don't know if it would be sweeter to repeat but it would come close," said Musgrave, who opens his quest for the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship with Friday's GM FlexFuel 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

"The first championship really will always stick in your head like your first win. I think if I could repeat as champion with a whole, new team that would be a big statement on everything."

As unlikely as it might seem, Musgrave has gone from a championship winning team to an even stronger organization. That, after the 50-year-old driver briefly was unemployed following the abrupt closure of Ultra Motorsports.

Musgrave now rides with Germain Racing, a five-time winner a year ago with Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Motors Toyota). Bodine, last year's third-place finisher behind Musgrave and Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Silverado Chevrolet), is gunning for an unprecedented fourth consecutive series victory this week.

Bodine's last "loss" was a second-place finish in October in Atlanta. He wrapped up the season with victories at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

It sounds like a "dream team" although not every pairing of personalities has paid the expected dividends.

Both Musgrave and Bodine believe the coming season will reach or exceed their expectations.

"I have only had four or five teammates and one or two that have been really good," said Musgrave. "Our (January) test at Daytona showed that Todd and I work well together. Todd is a racer at heart and so am I. Todd and I both have the same mindset."

"Teddy and I respect each other and we get along well," Bodine said. "He's not only a good driver, he's a good guy. Sometimes you can have a teammate who's fast on the track but not a good person away from the track. That's not Teddy."

Both drivers claim solid Daytona performances. Bodine was third in 2005 with the now-defunct Fiddle Back Racing team. Musgrave sat on the pole and finished fifth in 2002.

"It's nice to know the competition feels that Ted and I are the guys to beat," Bodine said. "We know there are a lot of good teams gunning for the championship but we are focused on our job and we are not going to worry about what the competition thinks."

Musgrave, meanwhile, will realize a dream when he competes in Friday's companion International Race of Champions (IROC) alongside former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teammate Mark Martin.

"To have the opportunity to be running against other series champions is going to be a thrill," he said. "The great thing about the IROC is that it is something you have to earn to be part of. Mark is a veteran of the series (the 2005 champion) so I am going to be asking him for a few pointers."

Winning an IROC title in addition to a second NASCAR Craftsman Truck crown would only add to Musgrave's accomplishments.

"My goal is to have fun and at least be in contention for the championship," he said. "It might be far-fetched but I will give it my all."

-nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Mark Martin
Teams Germain Racing