Musgrave, Team Mopar won't slow down at Memphis. MILLINGTON, TN (June 14, 2002) - It's a long way from Texas Motor Speedway to Memphis Motorsports Park - not only in distance, but in speed as well. Two weeks ago in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck ...
Musgrave, Team Mopar won't slow down at Memphis.
MILLINGTON, TN (June 14, 2002) - It's a long way from Texas Motor Speedway to Memphis Motorsports Park - not only in distance, but in speed as well. Two weeks ago in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas, the pole speed was in excess of 180 mph. This week when the Truck Series heads to Memphis, pole speeds are expected to be near 120 mph.
For Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram, the O'Reilly 200 at Memphis will be a welcome stop not just for the difference in speed, but for the familiar challenges presented by the .75-mile suburban Memphis oval. "Memphis is a neat little racetrack," commented Musgrave. "It's more or less like Richmond (VA) International Raceway. That's the same mode that I'll drive the track. I've had a fair amount of success at Richmond. That's why I enjoy going to Memphis. There are two grooves, so you can run high or low. Memphis is the total opposite of Texas. Aerodynamics is not going to be a big issue. Chassis handling and tire management will win the race at Memphis."
As a former stand-out on the short tracks of Wisconsin and the Midwest, Musgrave feels right at home on the 11-degree banked Memphis oval. As one of only six tracks on the NCTS tour measuring less than one-mile in length, the Franklin, WI native will be among the favorites to win when the green flag drops on his second career Truck Series start at MMP.
"We're going to have a Mopar Dodge specifically built for the short tracks," explained Musgrave, who comes into Memphis third in the NCTS championship chase. "The chassis, the body and brakes will all be a little bit different. It's going to be a lot like my old late model days where you drive it hard down in the corner, stop the thing, and stand on the gas coming off. You dive into the corner and you really have to get on the binders to whoa the truck down and set yourself up for a good exit. It's my kind of racing. That's the way half-mile, quarter-mile and three-eighths mile racetracks are. Memphis is just a little bigger with faster speeds. If you're a good short track racer, you will get around Memphis really well."
Last year at Memphis, Musgrave started his Mopar Dodge 21st after his brakes locked up during qualifying. He quickly rocketed his way into the Top-10 less than halfway through the event, before his brakes went the opposite way and Musgrave was forced to finish the race with limited and no stopping power. While mechanical gremlins plagued Musgrave all weekend, he was still able to soldier home to a sixth-place finish.
Last week at Texas, Musgrave started fourth in the 35-truck field and posted an NCTS career-best fifth-place finish at the ultra-fast Ft. Worth Oval.
"Texas wasn't the best of races for Team Mopar, but then again, it wasn't the worst either," commented Musgrave. "We had a good truck, but something was happening in the right-front, that just made the truck way too tight. I'm pretty sure we bent something in the suspension, but we still managed to finish fifth. That's what we need to do to win this championship, take a bad day and turn it into a Top-5. Hopefully, we'll have a good day at Memphis and get our third win of the season."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park will take the green flag Saturday, June 22 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The eighth race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.
About Mopar Performance Parts:
For more than half a 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.