No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 8th at Nashville Superspeedway Lebanon, TN (August 13, 2007) -- Ted Musgrave looked certain to continue his streak of consecutive top-five finishes in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series action at Nashville Superspeedway, but a miscue on a pit road and resultant penalty forced the 2005 series champion to fight his way from the back with just 37 laps remaining in the Toyota Tundra 200. Forced to come from the tail of the longest line on the final restart, Musgrave's No. 9 Team ASE Toyota proved up to the task as he was able to knife his way through the pack and climb back to eighth at the finish.
"We had a tire roll away from us on the last pit stop and NASCAR penalized us to the tail of the longest line on the restart," Musgrave said afterward. "Nashville can be a tough place to pass and it was hard work to come from the back of the field on the last restart. But the Team ASE truck was one of the strongest trucks in the field and we could make some passes. Of course the closer you get to the front the harder it is to pass those guys. And once they get spread out it takes time to close those gaps. I think we had a truck that was one of the three best here, we just had a little misfortune on pit road and it ended up costing us another top five. You know every once in a while you're going to have a day when you have a problem on pit road, but it's a lot easier to swallow when you're running for 20th rather than racing for the lead."
Early in the going, Musgrave looked like he would be a contender to pick up his first Nashville victory. He moved into the top five by lap twenty, and picked up the runner-up position by the fifty lap mark. With an $8,000 bonus available from series sponsor Craftsman at the 80-lap mark, Musgrave started to close the gap on leader Mike Skinner. From lap 70 to the money lap, Musgrave was never more than a truck length off Skinner's rear bumper but could never find the opening to make a pass.
"Yeah it would have been real nice to get that bonus money," Musgrave said. "The guys told me with a couple of laps to go that the money lap was coming up and I told them I was already doing everything I could do. It could be for $10 and I would want to get up there and lead. Mike was strong but he had to keep his truck right on the bottom. That didn't give us a lot of room to try to get around because the lower groove is definitely the preferred line. Mike is a smart racer and he knew I was getting a little aero tight behind him. I tried the outside once and it didn't work too well so I got back in line behind him and was hoping we could pressure him into slipping up. I don't know if we had anything for Travis or not but we're all pretty bummed out that we didn't have a chance to find out."
Musgrave charged from the back on the final restart and with aide of a caution might have been able to make a charge to continue his streak. In six previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Nashville Superspeedway, he had never finished lower than fifth.
"Nashville has always been good to me but we've never been able to get that win," Musgrave said. "This is a very unique place and I drive it a little differently than everyone else does. Every year we're a contender for a top five and we were this year too. Maybe the streak had to be broken so we can go back there next year and get that win. If it means we leave there with a Gibson guitar next year, I'll be glad to break the streak this year and start a new one with a win next year."
With his tenth top-ten finish of the season Musgrave now unofficially sits eighth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, 636 points behind leader Mike Skinner but just ten points behind Jack Sprague in seventh. Next up for Musgrave and the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota is the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. SPEED will have the 16th race of the 2007 season live starting 7:30 PM Eastern on Wednesday August 22, 2007.
-credit: team ase