Musgrave, Team Mopar Dodge eager for PPIR return. FOUNTAIN, CO (May 10, 2002) - It's hard to imagine that after only one start, Ted Musgrave lists Pikes Peak International Raceway as one of his favorite racetracks. Given Musgrave was never...
Musgrave, Team Mopar Dodge eager for PPIR return.
FOUNTAIN, CO (May 10, 2002) - It's hard to imagine that after only one start, Ted Musgrave lists Pikes Peak International Raceway as one of his favorite racetracks. Given Musgrave was never really a contender for the win at last year's Jelly Belly 200 at PPIR, you have to wonder why the Franklin, WI native still holds the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series annual stop at the Rocky Mountain oval in such high esteem.
"Last year's Truck Series race was the first time I had ever seen the Pikes Peak racetrack, but I feel in love with it right away," said Musgrave, who steered his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram to a fourth-place finish. "It's a really neat little track. It's got some speed to it and it has two and sometimes, three racing grooves. It's seems a lot like a miniature Michigan International Speedway to me."
While Musgrave and his Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram didn't enjoy the measure of success the veteran driver would have liked last year at PPIR, much of his success in 2001 came on flat ovals. Musgrave scored wins at Homestead (FL), St. Louis (MO) and Milwaukee (WI) - all relatively flat tracks similar to Pikes Peak. In a day and age where high-banked superspeedways have become status quo, Musgrave appreciates the challenges of the flat tracks like PPIR.
"I noticed the Pikes Peak racetrack changes quite a bit with the temperature," said Musgrave. "The track is very temperamental, which is good because that keeps the drivers and crew chiefs on their toes. You have to set the truck up in kind of a two-stage deal for Pikes Peak. You have to be concerned quite a bit about handling, so you have to be careful where you're not focusing totally on aerodynamics. The nice thing about Pikes Peak is that there is so much corner. You're constantly turning the wheel. Even on the frontstrech, you're in a turn more or less. Getting the Mopar Dodge to handle in the corners is going to be very important because there's not much straightaway."
In the Truck Series last outing at Gateway International Raceway, Musgrave qualified his Mopar Dodge third, but a broken valve spring dropped him to 12th in the final running order. While Musgrave was disappointed with the finish, the 2001 championship runner-up knows it's not a sign of things to come.
"We've rarely, if ever have engine trouble," commented Musgrave. "We get all our motors from Joey Arrington and he builds awesome and reliable power. I have all the confidence in the world in Joey. Sometimes things happen that you just can't explain. We still held on to finish 12th at Gateway so that's not too bad. I guess if we're going to have some bad breaks, I'd rather get them out of the way now. We had the truck to beat at Martinsville and got wrecked and we struggled a bit at Gateway, so we'll put that behind us and try and win at Pikes Peak."
The Rocky Mountain 200 presented by Dodge will take the green flag Sunday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The fifth race of the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.
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For more than a half-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.