TED MUSGRAVE (No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Musgrave, who drives the No. 1 Mopar Motorsports Dodge Ram for owner Jim Smith in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will drive Smith's second Dodge Intrepid R/T in the Brickyard 400...
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Musgrave, who drives the No. 1 Mopar Motorsports Dodge Ram for owner Jim Smith in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will drive Smith's second Dodge Intrepid R/T in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August and also attempt to compete in other selected NASCAR Winston Cup Races this season. Musgrave has 299 NASCAR Winston Cup starts and hopes to make No. 300 at the Brickyard.
"I'm pretty excited about coming back and getting an opportunity to run the 07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge. We talked about it last year and I never really got a chance to get going because all the dedication was put into the truck series. We want to get together and run a few races this year, start it out at the Brickyard 400 and run about four more races. The guys back in the truck series, the 1 team and 2 team are working together building a new car. This car here is actually a 7 car that Tony Furr gave us for a backup. It might even be faster than what we're building at home. I'm not sure. We're going to go test. I'm proud to be with these guys. Casey Atwood has done a pretty good job over there and Tony Furr came on board and straightened everything out. I'm just hoping I can utilize some of their knowledge and some of the things they're learning and both of us can make each other a little stronger. The Brickyard is going to be a tough race. We'd like to go there and run good. We've had some good luck in the truck series so far this year. Hopefully we can continue this in our little debut here in Winston Cup. I'm not sure. I might make some of the Winston Cup guys mad. I'm not running for points. I'm running for wins so I don't care what happens on the race track. I've just got to make sure I win the truck championship (currently holding a four-point lead after nine events).
"I feel really honored that Jim Smith and everybody back at Sirius has taken my commitment to the truck series. This is a little opportunity for a little fun to come back and run. Hopefully we can put it up front at the Brickyard and have a sunny day and make everybody behind me blinded. It's a great opportunity. I really want to do this. I wanted to do this last year and couldn't do it and I finally got an opportunity.
"I've got to look at the truck series schedule. I have the weekend off for Darlington and everybody knows how much I like Darlington. It's looking like I'm going to be doing the Brickyard, Darlington, Phoenix, Atlanta, Homestead and maybe in between there could be a few other races. I could kick in a few other ones if things go well, but right now those are the top five.
"Race cars are race cars. I know aerodynamics are a little bit different, but I was out of the Winston Cup Series for almost a year and jumped in the car at Pocono for the 7 bunch and did well over there, so you don't lose the feel for the cars. Aerodynamics will be a little bit different, but seat time, no, not yet. We have two days of practice at the Brickyard. We should be there in two and a half weeks. We'll run this car against the new one. If I need any more seat time than that, we'll run somewhere else, but I don't think after 11 years of Winston Cup you'll forget what you need to do.
"The engines will come from Ray Evernham. It'll be a real spinoff of the 7, 9 and 19. Between Casey, Tony Furr and myself and my crew we'll have assembled between the two truck teams, we'll have the best of the best, and Gene Nead will be my crew chief. He's the crew chief on the 1 truck. He'll crew chief this car with help from anybody over at the 7 bunch. That's what it's all about. It's about combining the efforts to make both of them good. I think Casey qualified third last year at the Brickyard, so he must have some pretty good notes. The boy has done fairly decent there. I'm hoping with the two combinations both of us will run up front.
"We were going to do this last year with Jim Smith. We didn't have a sponsor at the Brickyard, even though we were going to try it. My first year with Jim Smith we were trying to get the truck program running good and running for the championship. We've got enough hardware back home now with the trucks so we can go out and do this. I'm not trying to audition for a full time Winston Cup ride. I told Jim Smith I was going to run the trucks for three years with sponsorship from Mopar. I'm committed to do that, and I'm not going to back up on my word. He just kind of said, 'OK, here's something back for you. Let's run some Winston Cup races.'
"Sirius and Kenwood came on and we can run five races and don't have to finance a whole season of racing. It's a neat little deal. I'm not auditioning for a full time ride. Jeff Gordon is safe. Maybe we'll do this again next year. If I run the trucks next year, we'll look for some off weekends and do it again. We're just finally got our stuff together and we have this opportunity.
"The pace of the truck series is a neat little deal. One thing I like about it, the thing I think about is how can I win this race. When we unload that truck, that's the only thing on my mind and the crew's mind, winning that race. It's gotten to the point now where I think Winston Cup has lost focus of that. You've got these drivers jumping through hoops. You've got a lot of things going on where I think it may take away from some of their performance. What they've given me there is a focus on winning races and making that team stronger. That's what I'm going to do right here. I'm going to try to keep that thing up front as much as I can. I'm not running for points. I'm running to win. I'm 100 percent focused on trying to win that race.
"I run the truck for Mopar Motorsports and this is a Dodge Intrepid so that doesn't interfere. Last year I drove the 7 car one time at Pocono and kind of got in trouble. This is a perfect match. It's going to be a real fun effort for me."