Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 5th at California Speedway - First Top-5 Finish in 2007 Ted Musgrave drove the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota to a fifth- place finish in Friday night's San Bernardino County 200 NASCAR Craftsman ...
Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 5th at California Speedway - First Top-5 Finish in 2007
Ted Musgrave drove the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota to a fifth- place finish in Friday night's San Bernardino County 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway. Musgrave, a three-time California winner, picked up his first top-five finish of the season and combined with a ninth-place effort in the season opener last week at Daytona, is currently sixth in the series championship standings.
Fellow Toyota driver Mike Skinner won the event. Musgrave rode out the early stages of the race with a truck that was slightly off, but the Team ASE crew made adjustments on the first pit stop that allowed him to get back in the fight late going at a racetrack that he enjoys racing on.
"It was off a little bit in the beginning, but we just kind of rode it out," Musgrave said. "We made some adjustments. We could never really get it where we wanted, but it was a happy medium, and that was all we had. But we picked up a top five out of it with some good, smart decisions on pit road and some smart moves on the track. I love this place. It's a track I really enjoy racing on. I just wish we could come here every week."
Musgrave spent the final stages of the race locked in combat with a group of several drivers fighting for a top-five finish.
"Carl (Edwards) and I had a heck of a battle," Musgrave said. "I did make it up to fourth on that last lap. Carl and I were side by side, and I came up on the high side trying to take away third, but I got a push in turn three and ultimately Carl got by. I was really hoping for more laps because the truck was really coming in late in the race as we ran more. We weren't going backwards -- we were going forward. But it's the age-old story, you never lost a race, you just ran out of laps."
In the vast majority of instances, it's much safer to stay at the front of the pack. If there is going to be trouble on the track, it's much more likely to happen mid-pack than it is in the top five or even the top ten. That was not the case on a restart with four laps remaining. Musgrave had to make evasive maneuvers to avoid leader Mark Martin, who spun after contact from behind.
"It made for an exciting finish, didn't it," Musgrave mused. "Things were rolling along fine and then there's a caution, and you're like 'Darn, everything was running so good and now the whole field's going to be bunched up.' Trouble happens, and it happened right at the front. I was just trying to keep myself in a safe position and get the best finish we could get."
Musgrave unofficially sits sixth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings, eight points behind his Germain Racing teammate Todd Bodine for fifth. He is 57 points behind leader Jack Sprague. Next up for Musgrave and the Germain Racing No. 9 Team ASE Toyota is the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, March 16.