Las Vegas: Team ASE preview

Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 15th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas, NV (September 25, 2007) Ted Musgrave used a setup that carried him and his Germain Racing team to second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2006. The logic was that...

Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 15th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, NV (September 25, 2007) Ted Musgrave used a setup that carried him and his Germain Racing team to second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2006. The logic was that a tried-and-true combination would be a good way to get back into the top-five. However, last year's setup that carried the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota to a second place finish made it difficult to drive in traffic with this season's aero package. Musgrave was forced to hang-on rather than race for the checkers, leaving the former truck series Champion in 15th at the finish.

"We used the same setup we finished second with here at Vegas last year thinking that it was the way to go," Musgrave said. "It's the first time we tried something that worked well last year that didn't this year. With the new front splitter, every time we were in traffic the springs raised the front of the truck up and I was just holding on. It was good by itself but we'd get in traffic and it was a real handful. I know a lot of guys were trying the coil-bind setup, and some of them had tire problems from being too aggressive, but when they made it work they were fast. We were just holding on."

In the past, drivers and crew chiefs could consult years' worth of previous setup information to find a combination that would work. With the evolution of the aerodynamics and mechanical setups the sport has seen in just the past two years, sometimes even the best information can become obsolete. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to find that out is in racing conditions.

"This is really the first time we went back to our notes from last year and had something not work," Musgrave continued. "We went to New Hampshire and used last years notes and I think you saw we were a top-five truck there. So we tried the same thing here and it just didn't work. I talked to Rick Gay (crew chief) after the race and we just looked at each other and went 'well, that didn't work.' Sometimes you get upset when you try something and it doesn't work, but that's not the case here. It worked in the past but with the new splitter and aero package it didn't work at all this year."

The obvious downside to the setup was not being a contender to race up near the front. However comforting it may or may not have been; there was a little silver lining in the cloud for Musgrave and his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota crew. "We knew we weren't going to have any tire problems at all with the setup we were running," Musgrave said. "A lot of the guys that were getting into trouble with the tires were running really aggressive setups and that put a lot of stress on the tires. There wasn't a tire issue at all this weekend other than some of the really aggressive setups some of those guys were trying. We were able to bring the truck home in one piece, and that's more than some of those guys can say."

Musgrave remains seventh in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship standings, now 35 points ahead of Erik Darnell in eighth. Musgrave is 233 points behind Rick Crawford in seventh. Next up for Musgrave and the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota is the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 6. SPEED will have live coverage of the 20th race of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season starting at 3:30 PM Eastern Time and MRN Radio will have the live call on selected affiliates nationwide.

-credit: team ase

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ted Musgrave , Rick Crawford , Erik Darnell
Teams Germain Racing