DOVER, DE (May 31, 2002) -Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Team Mopar Dodge Ram turned in a dominating performance to win the MBNA America 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday. Musgrave led 135 of the 200 laps ...
DOVER, DE (May 31, 2002) -Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Team Mopar Dodge Ram turned in a dominating performance to win the MBNA America 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday. Musgrave led 135 of the 200 laps contested in cruising to his second victory of the season and his ninth in just 33 career NCTS starts, a 27 percent winning average.
"It's a pretty good story when you're able to dominate like we did today," commented Musgrave. "The Mopar Dodge wasn't very good on the short run, Rick Crawford, and my Ultra Motorsports teammate Jason Leffler, were able to get away from me during the first 15 or 20 laps of a run, but then their speeds would stabilize and our truck would come on strong. That's how we set the truck up, for the long run and that's what wins races. It paid off big today. We led the most laps and won the race."
Musgrave scorched Dover's infamous "Monster Mile" in Thursday's qualifying session turning in a lap of 24.083 seconds (149.483 mph), good enough for second in the 36-truck field. At the drop of the green flag Friday, Musgrave slid back to third before assuming the lead for the first time on Lap 35. From there on out, it was pretty much follow the leader as Musgrave paced the most of the event, thanks in great part to solid pit work by his Team Mopar "Ultra Bad Boys."
"After I got out front, the truck started to get a little snug," said Musgrave in describing his truck's tight handling condition. "We came in right about halfway and the boys gave me four fresh tires and made an air pressure adjustment to free the truck up. After that, it took a few laps for the truck to come in, but we were back out front before too long."
Musgrave took the lead for the final time on Lap 123 and held off a belated charge by Robert Pressley in the late going to become the first repeat Truck Series winner in six 2002 events. Musgrave blistered the old Dover NCTS race record coming home in an average speed of 104.545 mph over the 200-lap distance. He earned $49,785 for the victory.
The win was a return to form for Musgrave, who had finished no better than 12th over the last three NCTS events after winning at Darlington, SC in the second race of the season. More importantly, the victory propelled the veteran Franklin, WI driver to third in the NCTS championship chase, just 15 points behind leader David Starr.
"I've run a lot of races at Dover and never won, so it really felt good to finally win here today," said Musgrave. "I've had opportunities to win here in the past, but something always seemed to happen. I had never won at Darlington and we were able to capture that earlier this year and now finally I got one here at Dover. Maybe we're on a roll for racetracks we've never won on before. We're going to Texas next week and we have a chance to win there, no doubt about it. We're taking a really good Mopar Dodge to Texas and if we play our cards right, hopefully we'll be in position to make it back to back wins for Team Mopar."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 presented by Valvoline DuraBlend at Texas Motor Speedway will take the green flag Friday, June 7 at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The seventh race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.