Musgrave, Team Mopar dialed in for Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS, NV (October 4, 2002) - After a trio of troublesome races, Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram are chomping at the bit to turn their luck around when the NASCAR ...
Musgrave, Team Mopar dialed in for Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS, NV (October 4, 2002) - After a trio of troublesome races, Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram are chomping at the bit to turn their luck around when the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series returns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Las Vegas 350.
"I'm actually getting pretty excited to go to Las Vegas," said Musgrave. "Las Vegas and racetracks like it are places I really love to run on. It's flat, real wide and there are two really good grooves to race on. Fuel mileage and drafting will also play really big roles at Las Vegas. Throw it all in there and you've got the makings for a really fun weekend. The only thing I'm a little concerned about is our fuel mileage because it hasn't been the greatest recently. But, our motors have been very durable and the handling package on the Mopar Dodge has been pretty decent on those types of speedways."
As the defending champion of the 2001 NCTS event at LVMS, Musgrave has proven he knows the fast way around the 1.5-mile desert oval. Last year, Musgrave won after being forced to fall to the rear of the field prior to the green flag following a post-qualifying motor change.
"Last year we did very, very well at Las Vegas," explained Musgrave. "We changed motors before the race and we had to fall to the rear of the field by rule, but we were able to come from the back and win the race. It was a really strong showing for us. Hopefully we'll be able to do it again this year. Our strongest racetracks are places like Las Vegas, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. We're going to take the same truck we ran at Dover, Nashville and Texas and historically it's performed very well. Every time we've raced this truck we've led laps with it or won with it."
As one of six tracks on the NCTS schedule measuring 1.5-miles in length, Musgrave knows aerodynamics and handling will be at a premium when the field takes the green for the 145-lap event.
"The Mopar Dodge is going to have to be fairly neutral throughout the entire race at Las Vegas," said Musgrave. "It can't be too tight because then you won't be able to get enough speed out of it and you'll also lose too much fuel mileage. You can't be loose because you have to be able to get back in the gas in the corner and maintain your speed. You've got two things at Las Vegas. You have to have a good aerodynamic package and have to work on the handling of the truck. It's a balance issue. A well balanced truck is going to win the race at Las Vegas."
Musgrave also knows solid performances in the last four races of the year are a must to propel him towards his first NASCAR points title. As the defending race winner at three of the four tracks remaining on the schedule, Musgrave is currently third in the championship chase and poised to make a charge at the Craftsman Truck Series crown jewel.
"We're not counting ourselves out of the championship by any means," commented Musgrave who comes into LVMS 112 points behind leader Mike Bliss. "Our last race at South Boston turned out to be a pretty bad deal for our championship hopes. Not that we can't overcome that set back. We're not giving up. When the checkered flag flies at Homestead we'll give up, but not before then. It's gotten harder and a little further out of our grasp, so we're going to have to work hard and try and get everything that we can. We'll try and win the pole and lead the most laps everywhere we go until the season is over.
"We've won on racetracks this year that we didn't win at last year and we've had tracks where we won last year and didn't even finish in the Top-10 this year," continued Musgrave. "Going into places were we've won in the past are situations we can't bank on. Anything can happen right now, but we can't bank on it. We have to make it happen ourselves."
The Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will take the green flag Sunday, October 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 19th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.
About Mopar Performance Parts:
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.