Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 9th at Daytona International Speedway Daytona, Florida - Ted Musgrave kicked off the 2007 season with a solid top-ten finish in the season- opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona...
Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 9th at Daytona International Speedway
Daytona, Florida - Ted Musgrave kicked off the 2007 season with a solid top-ten finish in the season- opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, piloting the No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Motors Toyota to a ninth-place finish. Musgrave was one of five Toyota drivers to finish in the top ten, led by winner Jack Sprague. Racing the same Truck that he drove to a third-place finish at Daytona in 2006, Musgrave started the event in the eighth position and spent much of the event again dicing for position in the lead pack.
In the first lengthy green flag run of the race, Musgrave drove through the pack to snatch the lead on lap 18 before settling back and logging laps, setting up for the later stages of the event. Musgrave and his Germain Racing teammate Todd Bodine spent the middle stages of the race working together, staying out of trouble, and getting in position for the final sprint to the checkered. While he was in the same truck he drove last season, the handling characteristics were slightly different, giving him an additional challenge as he worked to the front.
"Todd and I got separated there late in the race and we just could never get back together," Musgrave said. "My truck never seemed to work too well on the outside but we kept getting bounced out there. It was just so hard to make a pass and make it stick.
"We had to cut the nose off for 2007, and we're still learning how the truck handles with the new nose. Last year the truck was a little slow by itself but it was good in the draft. We were still a little slow by ourselves but we're a little out of control too. We tried everything we could within the rules to make it better, but we never got it right where we wanted it. We're going to build a new truck to take to Talladega."
With handling always critical at Daytona, it was even more important in 2007 with new a new aero package and a new tire compound.
"The tires were so hard here that handling really came into play," Musgrave said. "For the first time you really had to lift to make it through the corners. You saw that a lot more in the Cup race than you did with the Trucks but it was still an issue."
With several accidents in the late stages of the event, Musgrave faced a lack of green flag laps to make the final charge to the front. The race concluded with a six-lap sprint to the checkered, and with the action heating up with each lap, Musgrave and Bodine couldn't find each other in the draft to work together. Bodine made a move on the last lap but dropped to fifth, while Musgrave's move was blocked leaving him ninth at the stripe. With the five bonus points credited for leading a lap, Musgrave leaves Daytona sitting ninth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings after the first of 25 races.
Musgrave's 143 points are 47 behind leader Jack Sprague and just three behind Ron Hornaday for the seventh position. "We got up and led a lap so we got the bonus points," Musgrave said. "You never want to leave Daytona in a big hole. It's too early to count the points, but we're in a good position. That's one thing we're going to try to do more of this year, get more bonus points. We're happy to come out of here with a top ten because it's good for us in the points, but we were hoping to get up and get a top five."
The next race for Musgrave and the No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Motors Toyota is Friday February 23 at California Speedway.