Musgrave, Team Mopar survive mid-race scare to finish fourth at New Hampshire. LOUDON, NH (July 21, 2002) - Ted Musgrave and his Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram survived a mid-race fuel scare to come home fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck...
Musgrave, Team Mopar survive mid-race scare to finish fourth at New Hampshire.
LOUDON, NH (July 21, 2002) - Ted Musgrave and his Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram survived a mid-race fuel scare to come home fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series New England 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday.
"We ran out of gas on the front straightaway right before our last pit stop and once you run out, there's no return," said Musgrave. "We had to come back around and lost a lot of time. Thank goodness we had enough of a cushion where we didn't get a lap down. Team Mopar fought hard all day long and it's a shame we weren't able to fight for the win, but under the circumstances, I'm happy with another Top-5. We padded our points lead so that's what counts."
In time trials, Musgrave turned the 12th-quickest time of the session touring the 1.058-mile NHIS oval in 30.373 seconds (125.401 mph). While the mark wasn't Musgrave's usual Top-5 qualifying effort, the Franklin, WI driver was optimistic following his run.
"After they reconfigured the track, they put some sealer down in the corner and it's just took us a little longer to figure it out," explained Musgrave. "We tried a lot of different things this weekend and finally got it straightened out. We were a lot better in Happy Hour on Friday afternoon, so that was a big step forward as we headed into the race."
At the drop of the green flag Saturday, Musgrave promptly snatched four spots in the running order before heading down pit road to the attention of Team Mopar on Lap 29 for four fresh tires, a chassis adjustment and to top off the fuel tank. The Franklin, WI driver returned to the action in 18th position and roared into the Top-10 just 25 circuits later.
Musgrave continued his charge to the front, working his way into fifth just past the halfway mark. The veteran driver's assault on the leaders continued as he worked his way into second until the Mopar Dodge's fuel tank ran dry shortly thereafter.
Armed with two fresh right-side tires and a full load of fuel, Musgrave returned to the battle in the seventh spot. He then used the remaining laps to pick his way through the field to finish fourth, his eighth Top-5 effort in 12 NCTS races this season
The solid effort earned Musgrave $16,750 in prize money and kept him solidly at the top of the NCTS championship chase, 35 markers ahead of second-place Mike Bliss.
"If we can't win, we need to finish in the Top-5 and that's what we did," commented Musgrave. "It really feels like we've been struggling the last three or four races, but we're staying focused and doing what we need to do to try and win this championship. We race at Michigan next week and that's one track that I really enjoy. We'll go back to the shop and see if we can't figure out what we need to do to get back into Victory Lane."
The Michigan 200 at Michigan International Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 13th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.