FOUNTAIN,CO (May 12, 2001) -- Last week, Ted Musgrave was the man to beat in the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Darlington Raceway. With 22 NASCAR Winston Cup starts at the famed "Lady in Black", Musgrave was one of few ...
FOUNTAIN,CO (May 12, 2001) -- Last week, Ted Musgrave was the man to beat in the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Darlington Raceway. With 22 NASCAR Winston Cup starts at the famed "Lady in Black", Musgrave was one of few veterans in a field dominated by Darlington rookies.
As the series heads to Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Jelly Belly 200, just the opposite is true. Musgrave, pilot of the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram, will be one of the few drivers without experience on the PPIR oval.
"I haven't got a clue," quipped Musgrave. "I've never seen the place before. Next week, I'll try to get a copy of last years race, watch it a couple of times and see what I can learn. But right now I have no idea what to expect."
So far this season, Musgrave has feasted on his NCTS cohorts dominating the Truck Series since the green flag dropped at Daytona in February. After leading much of the season-opener, Musgrave was relegated to a 22nd-place finish after a mechanical failure at 2.5-mile, high-banked superspeedway. The Winston Cup veteran promptly redeemed himself, winning the next two races at Homestead (FL) and Bakersfield (CA). Ultra Motorsports teammate Scott Riggs followed up Musgrave's wins with a trip to the Winner's Circle at Martinsville (VA). After nearly a month off, Musgrave drove his Dodge Ram to another win at Gateway International Raceway giving team owner Jim Smith four wins in a row.
Much to his competitors chagrin, the last time Musgrave went to a track he hadn't seen before was at Bakersfield where the Franklin, WI native won the race from the pole position. Fortunately for Musgrave, Team Mopar crew chief Fred Wanke has plenty of experience at the flat, one-mile Colorado oval.
"Pikes Peak is wide, flat and really fast," explained Wanke. "We're not too worried about Ted's lack of experience there because, like at Bakersfield, Ted proved how quickly he can adapt. I've been there before and most of our guys have been there before, so we'll go off old notes and work on our set-up from there."
"The truck will be very similar, set-up wise, to Homestead (FL) or St Louis," Wanke continued. "Considering we won both of those races, I think we will be in goodshape."
Last week at Darlington Raceway, Musgrave struggled. The Winston Cup veteran started ninth in the 36-truck field and finished 31st after being caught up in a mid-race melee.
"We just couldn't get a break at Darlington," said Musgrave. "The window net fell down early in the race and it just got worse from there. I guess it really is feast or famine for us, but we'll keep our heads up and try and win the race at Pikes Peak."
For most of the season, teammate Scott Riggs has relied on the tutelage of the three-time NCTS winner. This time out, student will become the teacher as Musgrave looks to Riggs for guidance at PPIR.
"I'll ask him about the set-up he ran last year," Musgrave said. "I'll also ask Scott about what to expect. People are telling me how wide and flat and fast the racetrack is, but Scott will be able to give me an idea of what I'm supposed to do. Fred has been there before. Fred is the key. He's seen the place, been a crew chief there before, so as much as I'm going to rely on Scott, Fred's experience is going to be huge for me taking this Mopar Performance Dodge to Victory Lane."
The Jelly Belly 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway will take the green flag Sunday, May 20 at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The seventh race of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast live 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.