Musgrave, Team Mopar look to repeat at Fontana. FONTANA, CA (October 25, 2002) - As the defending champion of last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway, Ted Musgrave knows patience will play a crucial role if history...
Musgrave, Team Mopar look to repeat at Fontana.
FONTANA, CA (October 25, 2002) - As the defending champion of last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway, Ted Musgrave knows patience will play a crucial role if history is to repeat itself.
"When the green flag dropped last year, the leaders took off and I took my time getting through traffic," said Musgrave, driver of the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram. "Our lap times were just as good, if not better than the leaders and, sure enough, the leaders took themselves out later in the race. I think I won because I was just bidding my time, trying to be patient.
"That's the great thing about Fontana, it's a big racetrack and you can take your time," continued Musgrave. "You don't have to pounce on something right off the bat. I hung in there and kind of plotted my way to the front. Once the early leaders, Jack Sprague and Scott Riggs, were out of it, that opened the door for me to fend off Rick Crawford and a few others for the win. We're hoping to use the same strategy to win again this year."
If the results from earlier races this season on tracks similar in layout to the California oval are any indication, Musgrave and Team Mopar will again be contenders for the win. A solid fifth-place performance at Kansas Speedway in July and a near win three weeks ago at Las Vegas have Musgrave confident heading into the California event.
"What we did at Kansas and Las Vegas shows that the Mopar Team is pretty good on these types of racetracks," said Musgrave, who just missed on career win No. 10 at Las Vegas when a flat right-front tire stalled his efforts with four laps remaining. "Handling, fuel mileage and drafting are all important when it comes to being successful at California. You can run two wide through the corners, so it's a nice racetrack for us to potentially repeat what we did at Las Vegas, only with a better result."
As only one of two two-mile superspeedways on the NCTS schedule, California always draws comparisons to Michigan International Speedway. Musgrave enjoys the similarities, but the Franklin, WI driver is quick to point out the differences as well.
"For some reason Michigan has opened up more grooves in the corners then Fontana has, but I think as time goes on you'll see a lot more of the same characteristics develop at California that you see at Michigan," explained Musgrave, who comes into the California race third in the 2002 NCTS championship chase.
"Last year, the bottom of the racetrack was the fastest way around. This year, I think it's going to be a two-groove situation through the corners, at least in Turns 3 and 4. We'll find out when we get there, but it's definitely a track that will allow us to run two wide through the corners, it's just a matter of if we can get the Mopar Dodge set-up so we can do it."
The American Racing Wheels 200 at California Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, November 2 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 20th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide and telecast on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, November 3 at 5 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
About Mopar Performance Parts:
For more than a half-century, Mopar Performance Parts have supported racers and performance enthusiasts with one the most comprehensive performance parts programs in the automotive industry. Whether it's a classic muscle car-era Dodge Challenger or a late model Dodge Ram pickup, Mopar Performance Parts provide factory designed, race-proven parts to meet the needs of even the most discriminating performance enthusiast. For more information about Mopar Performance Parts or to locate a dealer near you, please log on to www.mopar.com.