Musgrave, Team Mopar Drafting A Winning Combination For Fontana
FONTANA, CA (October 29, 2001) - If experience is a key element for victory, then Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge have to be considered one of the favorites to win the Auto Club 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway.
"California Speedway reminds me of Michigan International Speedway," said Musgrave, who made his first career NASCAR Winston Cup start at Fontana's sister track in Brooklyn, MI. "California is very similar in a lot of aspects with a little bit of its own touch. It's also kind of a combination between Miami with the backstretch and turn three and a little bit of Kansas with the frontstretch mixed in."
Considering Musgrave scored his first-ever Truck Series win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished second at Kansas earlier this season, a victory at California for 46-year-old Ultra Motorsports driver doesn't seem far-fetched.
That's especially true considering Musgrave also has three Winston Cup starts at the suburban Los Angeles track, including a fourth-place finish in the 1997 California 500. Given that history, it's no surprise Musgrave is eager for the season finale to get underway.
"California is very nice racetrack," said Musgrave "It's wide and fast. There's going to be a couple of grooves to race in and if there's not, I'm going to try and make it that way. It's going to be very intense. Aerodynamics are going to be crucial. You'll see a lot of drafting, much like you see in a Winston Cup race at California."
Last week at Phoenix International Raceway, Musgrave started and finished sixth. The solid effort was Musgrave's 17th Top-10 of the season and moved the six-time Truck Series winner into fourth-place in the NCTS points battle.
"We struggled a bit a Phoenix," said Musgrave. "The track changed between Happy Hour and the race. It was a lot hotter during the race, so it got pretty slippery. The Mopar Dodge was bad loose to start out, but we worked on it and got it to where it would turn better and we worked our way back to sixth. I thought we had a truck capable of running in the Top-5, but I was pleased with a Top-10."
Musgrave enters the California NCTS season finale fourth in the championship chase, just 38 markers behind third-place Joe Ruttman. A solid run at California could propel Musgrave into a podium points finish at season's end.
"It's definitely not out of the question," said Musgrave of the rush toward third in the standings. "We need a good run and we also need Joe to have some trouble, so we'll see what happens. I know the championship is out of reach, but my teammate, Scott Riggs, is second and it would be great for Ultra Motorsports to have both trucks finish in the Top-3 in points.
"I really enjoy racing at California Speedway and we have our best Mopar Dodge ready to go for the last race of the season. I'd love to finish the year the year with one more win."
The Auto Club 200 at California Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, November 3 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 24th and final race of the 2001 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN Radio worldwide.
About Mopar Performance Parts:
For more than a quarter of 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.