MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 5, 2001) - Over the first three races of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge have feasted on the competition winning two events in convincing fashion.
MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 5, 2001) - Over the first three races of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Ted Musgrave and his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge have feasted on the competition winning two events in convincing fashion. Musgrave will try to make it a trifecta of victories this weekend when he and his Ultra Motorsports mates head to the tricky .526 mile Martinsville Speedway oval for the Advance Auto Parts 250.
"The big thing about Martinsville is the qualifying," explained Musgrave. "It's really a tough place to get a good qualifying lap in. In that regard, it's similar to New Hampshire International Speedway where you can be really fast in practice, but if you slip just a little bit on your qualifying lap, you can lose a tenth (of a second) or two in the blink of an eye. At Martinsville, a tenth is huge. If you miss your lap by a tenth or two, you might be headed for the house."
The chances of Musgrave not qualifying well at Martinsville are slim. Musgrave won the pole for the 1994 Goody's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at the flat, Virginia half-mile finishing second in the race behind winner Rusty Wallace. Additionally, the Wisconsin short-track ace has been on a roll qualifying inside the Top-5 in NCTS every event this season, including winning his first career series pole position at the most recent event on the tour, the OSH 250 at Mesa Marin Raceway (Bakersfield, CA) three weeks ago.
"I've always run pretty decent at Martinsville," said Musgrave. "I haven't won there, but I have sat on the pole and had some really good runs. I was in the hunt for the win in the 1994 Cup race trying to chase down Rusty, but rain curtailed the event and we came up a little bit short. I almost feel like that place owes me one. A win at Martinsville would really mean a lot to me."
In any sport, momentum plays an important role heading into the next event. That said, Musgrave should have an extra edge at Martinsville after winning the past two series events at Mesa Marin and Homestead- Miami (FL) Speedway. Musgrave, who led much of the series lidlifter at Daytona (FL) in February, might have had three straight wins to open the season, but a faulty water pump relegated him to a 22nd-place effort after just 86 laps.
"A lot of people are saying Ultra Motorsports has nice momentum going after the good run we had at Daytona and our two-straight wins," Musgrave said. "You get the snowball effect rolling. You don't have to motivate the guys to do anything. They know that what we are getting them to do is the right thing. We've proven it. Everybody is really relaxed and it makes everything easier."
Musgrave is tied for third in the Craftsman Truck Series championship points chase, just 23 markers out of the top spot. A win at Martinsville would not only give Musgrave the distinction of being just one of four drivers to with three NCTS events in a row (Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Greg Biffle are the others), but would provide a huge boost toward the top of the season standings.
"I want to lead the points, just like everybody else," said Musgrave. "But, if we're not leading and we've done the best we can, as long as we are up near the top that's fine too. When we go to the race track, what's on our minds is to lead the most laps, win the race and gather as many points as we can. It has to be that way and we have already been successful at it a couple of times this season.
"However, this is only the fourth race of the season and a lot of things can happen between now and the end of the year - a lot of things," continued Musgrave. "We'll just keep going and do the best we can. Hopefully, the points will take care of themselves and when the season ends, the No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge team will be sitting at the head table at the championship banquet."
The Advance Auto Parts 250 at Martinsville Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, April 7 at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on ESPN and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio worldwide.
About Mopar Performance Parts
For more than a quarter of a 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 can provide factory designed, race-proven parts to meet the needs of even the most discriminating performance enthusiast. For more information on Mopar Performance Parts and the location of a dealer near you, please log on to www.mopar.com.