Musgrave, Team Mopar Dodge looking forward to NCTS return to Michigan. BROOKLYN, MI (July 22, 2002) - After a two-year hiatus, Ted Musgrave returns to Michigan International Speedway, not in a Winston Cup car, but in the No. 1 Mopar Performance...
Musgrave, Team Mopar Dodge looking forward to NCTS return to Michigan.
BROOKLYN, MI (July 22, 2002) - After a two-year hiatus, Ted Musgrave returns to Michigan International Speedway, not in a Winston Cup car, but in the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry. Musgrave has plenty of fond memories and a solid on-track record at Michigan and is looking forward to adding to both in this year's Michigan 200 NCTS event.
"Michigan is the very first racetrack that I competed on in NASCAR, so it's definitely one of my favorites" said Musgrave. "I got my first Winston Cup start at Michigan back in 1990, so it holds a pretty special place with me. The track itself is very similar to tracks like Las Vegas and California - semi-banked, really wide and really fast. Fuel mileage, aerodynamics and drafting all come into play. A lot of things can happen. Sometimes, the fastest truck doesn't win the race because of those very reasons. You have to utilize all of your skill and make every lap count at Michigan."
A veteran of 19 Winston Cup starts at MIS, Musgrave has seen just about every situation play out on the Irish Hills oval. When the green flag drops on the Michigan 200, the Franklin, WI driver anticipates he'll have plenty of room to mix it up on the wide two-mile oval.
"You can run easily two- and three-wide at Michigan," said Musgrave. "There are a lot of grooves out there, so you don't really have to root a guy out of the way to get the position. You can pass with ease and leave a lot of room between you. There aren't very many caution flags at Michigan because there is so much room to race. That means you really have to watch fuel mileage. In just about every division that races at Michigan, fuel mileage always plays a big factor.
"Aerodynamics are going to be a huge part of the equation also," continued Musgrave. "Too much drag will slow you down and too much downforce will cause you to use too much fuel. It's a fine line getting your Truck aerodynamically balanced for Michigan."
As with any aerodynamic situation on a big track like Michigan, drafting will also play a major role. As the top winner in the Truck Series with seven victories a year ago and a pair of wins this season, Musgrave has proven he knows how to get to the front and stay there. To do the same at Michigan, Musgrave knows he'll have to have a little help from his 'friends.'
"I'm definitely looking to draft with my Ultra Motorsports teammate, Jason Leffler, and see if we can't just run away from the field," Musgrave stated. "At Michigan, drafting is going to be very important. Our two trucks handle well together in the draft and they don't disturb the airflow around each other. That's one of the big benefits of having a two-truck team. If we can draft together, we'll run a lot faster than just one truck by itself and that will also help both of us conserve fuel."
Last week at New Hampshire International Speedway, Musgrave qualified his Mopar Dodge 14th and brought the No. 1 Ultra Motorsports entry home fourth, his eighth Top-5 of the season.
"We fought hard all day at Loudon," said Musgrave. "We struggled in practice and qualifying, but when it came time to race, the truck was pretty good. We didn't win, but got another Top-5 and padded our points lead. We're looking at the big picture, but it's been awhile since we've been to Victory Lane. I've got a lot of laps around Michigan, so I plan on being up front when they drop the checkered flag."
The Michigan 200 at Michigan International Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 13th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.
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