MADISON, IL (May 5, 2002) - A potential winning effort turned into a survival exercise for Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge in the Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway. "Right after the last caution, I made a...
MADISON, IL (May 5, 2002) - A potential winning effort turned into a survival exercise for Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge in the Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway.
"Right after the last caution, I made a move and picked up a spot behind my teammate," said Musgrave. "All of a sudden, they started driving away from me and sure enough, we dropped a cylinder about five laps later. Right there, you switch your mind to how am I going to finish without exploding this motor and get some points. We just rode the rest of the day and took it easy on the motor and made the Mopar Dodge survive until the end. We had to do that for points."
Musgrave eventually rolled home 12th, a major disappointment considering Musgrave led during the early stages of the race on the 1.25-mile Gateway oval.
"The Mopar Dodge was really good when we started the race," said Musgrave, who took the green flag from the third spot. "Some of the other trucks squirted away from us at the start and I knew that when everything settled down we would be better. Sure enough, as time went on I caught up to Dennis Setzer after his tires started to go away, my truck was coming to me. I passed Dennis and once we got out front we ran some pretty good laps and maintained the lead."
Musgrave surrendered the top spot on Lap 41 when he headed to pit road for routine service under yellow flag conditions.
"When we came in the pits and had a very bad stop because some of the lug nuts fell off the right-front tire and we lost a lot of positions," said Musgrave, who returned to the track in the fifth position. "Track position means a lot here. When you get out front like I did, you can really put in some good laps, but in traffic you can't."
Musgrave managed to stay in the Top-5 before coming to pit road again on Lap 105. Shortly afterward, Musgrave's Dodge began to sputter, courtesy of a broken valve spring.
Slowly, the Franklin, WI driver began to fall back in the field eventually settling for the 12th-place finish. Musgrave earned $11,290 for the effort and managed to stay second in the 2002 NCTS championship chase, just five points behind leader David Starr.
Next up for Musgrave and his Mopar Dodge will be the Colorado 200 presented by Dodge, Sunday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The fifth race of the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.