Martinsville II: Dodge - Ted Musgrave

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Musgrave, a 46-year-old driver from Franklin, Wis., will be making his 302nd NASCAR Winston Cup start on Sunday. A former pole winner and two-time race runner-up at ...

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)

NOTE: Musgrave, a 46-year-old driver from Franklin, Wis., will be making his 302nd NASCAR Winston Cup start on Sunday. A former pole winner and two-time race runner-up at Martinsville, Musgrave will be making his third Cup start of the season in the Ultra Motorsports Dodge. He qualified 19th Friday.

"I had the track record here for quite a while, but I've had some good runs and some bad runs here, too. We've run second to Rusty Wallace and second to Bobby Hamilton. Those were in Roush cars, but I came back in Butch Mock's 75 car and qualified in the top 10, and the truck series has been good here for me, too. I had a pole here in the spring. We've had some really good trucks here with chances to win, so Martinsville has been a really good track for me. Sometimes you get swept up in something or have a mechanical failure. Other than that, we've always done well here.

"It's a type of race track you kind of grow up on. It's a half-mile-beat-and-bang track. You don't have to have the aerodynamic package and all the engineering to get a good lap here. That's why you see more tight racing here. It's more equal for everybody. A good driver and chassis setup is what you need here. We've run Indy and Darlington this year, so this will be our third start. We're planning on going to Phoenix and Homestead, also. That was pretty much the plan. Jim Smith (car owner) and I talked about it. We were going to build a car to run Indy. We just didn't want to run one race. That would be kind of silly. The schedule with the trucks is pretty spread out, so that gives us some time off. This will keep the guys sharp. We'll see what's going on out here in the Cup world and maybe it'll help us out in the truck series. It's a good gesture by Jim, and it helps us out, too.

"We've got a mixture of the two Ultra Motorsports truck teams working on this car. Most of the 1 truck team (Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram) is here and some of the 2 truck team (ASE/Carquest Dodge Ram) got involved to help us out on pit stops. The guys just raised their hands and volunteered to help us out with this. We do pit stop practice back at the shop, but to mix them all up shouldn't be a problem. The guys that came from the 2 truck are actually the tire carrier and tire changer that work together on the 2 truck. It's not like they're strangers, and they work really good. We had some good stops at Indy and Darlington. We never lost a position. We maintained, and any time you can do that in the pits, that's good. I think we may get together and practice together a little later just to get coordinated. I've got a lot of faith in them.

"Joey Arrington is the engine builder for the Cup car. He's the same guy who builds our engines in the truck series. Joey has proven his motors run good and are very reliable and durable. We used his motors at Darlington and had one of the fastest cars there. No regrets using his motor there. We had lots of power. We know what kind of plumbing it requires. It's just like our trucks, so we decided to keep everything flowing smooth.

"This might be a truck team, but it's a bunch of dedicated people who want to show their stuff. We had some trouble at Indy with a suspension part. We had a flat tire on the track at Darlington, but all-in-all that was a pretty good run. The stops were good. I think it was a really good effort by everybody there. It's just something to fill in the time. This is actually one of the cars from the 7 team. They never actually raced it. They put it together about halfway and started building new cars, so they gave us this one. We took it over to the truck side, finished putting it together and tested it at Greenville-Pickens to shake it down. We ran some good laps. It feels good.

"This isn't an audition for me. All the guys look up to the Cup guys, and now here we are rubbing elbows with them. The guys on the crew feel better doing this. We're having a lot of fun in the truck series. We're always trying to win the championship, but things keep creeping up each year. Running six or seven Cup races a year fulfills your quest for it. We want to do it right. Do run Cup full time, you've got to have a top-notch team. You've got to have a top-notch sponsor. You've got to have everything right nowadays. Otherwise you're just going to go out and ride around. I don't want to just go out and ride around. I want to do well.

"Sponsorship is so hard to find these days. Good help is so hard to fine. It's hard to get one team up and running. Look at the owners out here that have successful multi-car teams. I don't see how they do one team, much less two or three. The mental stress and financial support is very tough. I'm fine with running trucks full time and five or six Cup races a year.

"We're not points racing. We're not here to make any friends. It doesn't matter to me. We're all out. If there's a six-foot hole and we've got a seven-foot car, we'll try to put it in there. We've got nothing to lose. Don't get me wrong. I'm going to respect the guys running for the championship. I'm not going to get in the way. I was a lap down at Darlington, but I was up there with Bobby Labonte and Little E. They were running for points, so I had to get out of there. I won't mix myself up in that type of situation, but I'm going to do whatever I can to get up front and take chances if I have to.

"We've got a Southern All-Star car and Teddy Jr. runs that. We've got a NASCAR Late Model car that my son Justin runs. They 23 and 21 year-old kids and they're running out of my garage in the back yard, so we've got to keep them going. I help them out and give them direction. We build their cars at the shop. I build the motors and keep things running and keep the costs down. If I'm not running trucks or Cup, I'm at home being a car owner. If you remember back years ago, that's how everybody started. You owned your own car and drove it to the track, did your own motor program. I'm just back into that. I enjoy doing that. I enjoy building the motors and working on the cars and working on the setups with the kids.

"A lot of times I'll let the kids set up the cars themselves and just give them suggestions. Sometimes you see mistakes and you know it isn't going to be right, but you let them go on and do it so they can learn by their mistakes. If you show them all the right things, they'll never know all the wrong things that should be taken away. They learn by mistakes, and I did the same thing when I was growing up.

"I look through the garage area and there are some guys I raced with a few years back. I look at them and can't believe how they've aged. It must be the pressure here or something. I want to race for quite a while longer. That's all I've ever done and all I've ever wanted to do. Until I feel that I'm not competitive, I'll keep racing. Right now, I feel just as competitive as I have the past 10 years. There's no sense in giving it up. We're in the truck series and we're winning races and we're running for the championship. We run these Cup races and if we stay competitive, we'll keep on doing that. When I'm not competitive, I'll tell them to put somebody else in the seat. If I don't think I can get the job done, I'll step down, but I don't see that happening any time in the near future. If a top Cup ride came open and they wanted me, I'd have to look at that seriously. I don't want to go out there and fill a seat and run 28th or 30th. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it right and run hard in each and every race."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Ted Musgrave , Jim Smith