LOUDON, NH (July 15, 2002) - Ted Musgrave racked up wins at Homestead-Miami (FL), Gateway International Raceway (Madison, IL) and The Milwaukee (WI) Mile en route to a series-high seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories in 2001. Given New ...
LOUDON, NH (July 15, 2002) - Ted Musgrave racked up wins at Homestead-Miami (FL), Gateway International Raceway (Madison, IL) and The Milwaukee (WI) Mile en route to a series-high seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories in 2001. Given New Hampshire International Speedway is similar in configuration to those three tracks, the NHIS "Magic Mile" and the New England 200 is sure to be a welcome stop for Musgrave and his Mopar Performance Parts Dodge.
"New Hampshire is a flat, one-mile racetrack," said Musgrave, driver of the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram. "I think we're going to run well there - I've always run fairly well at Loudon and tracks like it."
Musgrave came up just short of Victory Lane in last year's New England 200 roaring his Mopar Dodge from the 12th starting position to a fifth-place finish. That left the veteran NASCAR chauffeur looking for more this time around.
"We had a little trouble with the Mopar Dodge last year, but we still ended up running fifth," said Musgrave. "We're just going to have to put our heads together when we get there and try and get a good finish this time. I had great runs last season on the flat ovals and that's really got me pumped up to go to New Hampshire. I've never won at Loudon, so we're going to try real hard this time.
"We ran fairly decent last year, but never really got the Mopar Dodge handling quite right," Musgrave continued. "Hopefully, this year we'll get the truck working good so we can be a threat for the win. My team owner Jimmy Smith has won just about everywhere we race except Loudon, so this is definitely a race Team Mopar and Ultra Motorsports is looking to win."
With 10 previous NASCAR Winston Cup starts at NHIS, Musgrave has a wealth of experience on a track where he, and the rest of the NCTS field, will face some new challenges.
"They reconfigured the track at Loudon, so there's going to be a new approach," said Musgrave. "It may somewhat be the same old Loudon. Then again, Bob Bahre and the boys up in New Hampshire put some pavement down on the inside of the track, so it's going to be kind of a guessing game at the beginning. We'll just have to see once we get up there and see what type of conditions they've created for us."
Musgrave's extensive experience at Loudon could be just what's needed to make the NHIS event one of the building blocks to this season's championship. At the very least, that experience is sure to help him figure out what adjustments will be needed to put his Mopar Dodge out front. In fact, he's already got a pretty good idea what's needed to be in the NHIS fast lane.
"You have to have a good balance of horsepower and handling at New Hampshire," explained Musgrave. "Basically, Loudon is two drag strips with two tight corners. You definitely need the horsepower for the straightaways, but you have to have a good handling package too. If you can't put the power to the ground, you won't be able to get up off the corner. If that happens, you'll get passed.
Last week at Kentucky Speedway, Musgrave qualified his Mopar Dodge an uncharacteristic 14th and came home ninth in the 36-truck field. While the solid Top-10 finish kept the veteran drive atop the NCTS championship standings, Musgrave comes into this week's event in search of his third Truck Series win of the season.
"We didn't quite have it at Kentucky," said Musgrave. "The track was pretty oiled down when I qualified, so we weren't able to post a time reflective of what we had practiced. We struggled a bit in the race, but still managed to finish in the Top-10 and hang on to the points lead. We had a strong truck at Milwaukee - the last flat one-mile we ran, so I'm looking for good things at New Hampshire."
The New England 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, July 20 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 12th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.
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