The Weekly Newsletter of Team Mopar Monday, November 10, 2003
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Musgrave can win first NCTS championship at Homestead-Miami
Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram team from Ultra Motorsports look to erase a 26 point deficit this Friday at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway and earn themselves their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.
Musgrave has a very strong record at Homestead. In his first two years with Ultra Motorsports, Musgrave won the season finale there in 2001 and finished second last year.
The No. 1 Mopar team hopes to continue its strong showings at Homestead. They also look to build on the most recent series event at Phoenix International Raceway, where Musgrave set the track record while qualifying, earned the pole position, and finished the race second.
"Last weekend was our typical type of race: very solid," Musgrave said. "We were right back in form, and we hope to bring that into Homestead. Luck will have a lot to do with it at Homestead. But if everything goes right Friday, we'll be the champions."
Musgrave chases current point leader and fellow Dodge Ram driver Brendan Gaughan. The teams of drivers Travis Kvapil and Dennis Setzer are close at the their heels and within 34 and 39 points of the lead, respectively.
The crucial race will be televised this Friday LIVE on Speed Channel at 3 p.m. Eastern.
"It's just business as usual -- that's what got us here. If there's a change in the plan, you have a chance to stumble.
"Everybody on this Mopar team will definitely be better focused, but
we're just gonna approach it like we have each and every race this
-- Ted Musgrave, on his team's approach to Friday's NCTS finale.
"It will be the best finish of my career in points. We have a great Mopar team, and I have a great Mopar teammate in Darrell Alderman. We have to be happy overall.
"We have three months to revamp, find about 30 horsepower, and make
things better for next year."
-- Allen Johnson, the top finisher for Team Mopar in the final 2003 NHRA point standings.
Scelzi sets another track record as Team Mopar closes out NHRA season
Team Mopar put three drivers into Pro Stock elimination rounds of the 2003 NHRA season finale yesterday at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway.
Gene Wilson led the drivers courtesy of his ninth-place qualifying position with a time of 6.780-seconds at 204.23 mph. His team owner, Larry Morgan, drove another Mopar Dodge Stratus into the tenth qualifying position. Allen Johnson qualified his Mopar Dodge into the 16th spot.
None of the drivers advanced past the first round: Wilson had a great reaction-time but lost traction, Morgan came up just six feet short at the line, and Johnson red-lighted by .007 seconds to the eventual event winner.
Johnson finishes the season ranked sixth in the point standings, just four markers out of fifth, for the best season of his career. Morgan ended his strong second-half by vaulting into 11th, closely followed by Mopar teammate and three-time Pro Stock champion, Darrell Alderman. Wilson concludes 2003 ranked 17th.
In the Funny Car ranks, Gary Scelzi picked up his sixth track speed record of the year when he blazed across the Pomona line at 328.38 mph in his Dodge Stratus during Saturday qualifying . Scelzi holds the national top-speed record of 329.18 mph, which he set earlier this year.
Scelzi drove the Stratus into the semifinals yesterday. He finishes the season sixth-place in the standings. His Schumacher Racing teammate Whit Bazemore had a banner year, winding up a career-best second in points.
It's got a Hemi®: Last week at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, it was announced that in 2004 Scelzi will pilot a Dodge Stratus Funny Car that will blend its current Oakley paint-scheme and sponsorship with fierce Hemi graphics. The scheme will celebrate the long history that the Mopar Hemi-based engine block has had in NHRA nitro-powered competition.
Scelzi and the rest of the NHRA national competitors are scheduled to kick off the 2004 season in February.