MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 14, 2003) -Ted Musgrave has seen this scenario before. In 2001 the Mopar Dodge driver fell 73 markers shy of his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crown, and last year he was only 51 points out of the top spot. He knows...
MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 14, 2003) -Ted Musgrave has seen this scenario before. In 2001 the Mopar Dodge driver fell 73 markers shy of his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crown, and last year he was only 51 points out of the top spot. He knows that at this juncture in the season every single point is crucial. Musgrave once again sits 73 points out, behind current leader Brendan Gaughan and Travis Kvapil who trails by only 30 points.
"You hate to lose any points like we did at Texas," Musgrave said following the Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. "We only lost a few points but if you lose five points here or 10 points there it really starts to add up. We are still right in the middle of this championship race. There are four teams still with a good shot to win it and I am glad we are one of them. As long as we keep in check and stay in striking distance of those guys we will be okay. As a team we are doing all we can do and we will keep fighting. It is not like we are not trying. Everybody is working hard. We have gotten some luck. Hopefully it will come down to where somebody else has some trouble and really makes it tighter. I am just thankful that we are where we are in the points."
Musgrave knows he has an experience advantage at Martinsville Speedway. Years of NASCAR Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series racing at the .526-mile Virginia short track can't help but provide him with a slight edge over his more youthful competitors.
"I think my experience at Martinsville will help," said Musgrave. "We ran second there last spring and we are going to do some testing and change some things, make some improvements, and hopefully we can run well there again. Martinsville is a place where I hope I can pick up points on the 16 and the 62. Dennis Setzer won here earlier this year but maybe bad things will happen for someone and we will have good things happen for us. I don't want to wish bad luck on anyone; I like hard racing but I do want this points race to close up a little tighter."
The Franklin, WI native grew up racing on short tracks across the Midwest. The skills developed racing on a variety of different types of local tracks should help him in his quest for the NCTS championship. Knowing when to go and when to hold back will play a huge role in deciding who wears the crown. Martinsville is the style of track where Musgrave will have the chance to apply all the tools of his trade.
"The key to getting around Martinsville is patience," Musgrave said. "You have to have tire management and you have to be smooth. That is why Dennis Setzer wins a lot of these type races. Guys that are really jerky or aggressive or wild get in trouble there. You have to keep the fenders on the truck, you can't knock it out of line. That can happen a lot at Martinsville because it is a contact race. If you bend your truck up at Martinsville, then it is not going to be good in the latter part of the race. You have to be patient, give and take, but take all you can at the end."
Musgrave can easily gauge the importance of every point and every race. Lost opportunities never return. His "close but no cigar" experiences over the past two seasons have taught him not to take any race or any venue for granted.
"The way it is looking, every race is going to be a critical race," Musgrave stated. "It could come right down to the final race in Homestead and depend on who leads the most laps in that race. The racetrack in Homestead is brand new for everybody. There is no advantage for anyone. No one has done any testing and I think that is a pretty good deal because everybody is coming in blind, and that will be the real test of who is going to be the champion. Martinsville is going to have a little bit more excitement because of the short track ambiance. You have your beating and banging and a lot of things can happen there, whereas at a big track like Homestead, it will be wide and it will be big and you can make your destiny. At Martinsville you are not sure exactly what you got."