Nashville: Ted Musgrave - NASCAR spotlight

Musgrave a master of everything at Nashville but Victory Lane DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2005) -- For Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge), Nashville Superspeedway has been a case of close but no guitar. Musgrave has done everything except win...

Musgrave a master of everything at Nashville but Victory Lane

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2005) -- For Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge), Nashville Superspeedway has been a case of close but no guitar.

Musgrave has done everything except win Saturday's Toyota Tundra 200 and the traditional -- and much sought-after -- Gibson guitar trophy.

Ranked second in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings, Musgrave is four-for-four in top-three finishes on the 1.333-mile banked concrete oval. He finished second in 2001 and 2003.

Maybe this will be the year the 49-year-old competitor sheds the bridesmaid role. It wouldn't be a bad time, either, to re-energize Musgrave's championship bid.

"We need a couple of wins," said Musgrave, whose only victory came April 30 at Gateway International Raceway. "That's No. 1 on my list."

There's a reason why Musgrave is confident heading into the season's 16th of 25 scheduled races. He -- and Ultra Motorsports -- love concrete-surfaced tracks.

Musgrave has won at Dover International Speedway. Team owner Jimmy Smith has won at Nashville Superspeedway with Scott Riggs and at Dover with Musgrave, Riggs and Jason Leffler.

"I'm not sure I can give you an exact reason," said Musgrave of his performance on concrete in general and Nashville Superspeedway in particular. "I like (Nashville's) size and I like the layout. And the concrete surface hinders a lot of drivers."

Ultra Motorsports hit the concrete setup early and hasn't changed its approach over 10-plus seasons. Not only do numerous drivers and crew chiefs like it, but crew chief Gene Nead and Musgrave do, too.

"It has to do with springs and shocks," Musgrave said. "On concrete, it's a different feel and different shock harmonics. There's a lot of vibration going through the tires. That upsets the truck's handling."

Nead says the keys are shock bleed and low-speed rebound.

Musgrave has had an up-and-down season -- as have most competitors except current standings leader Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet). A win among five top-five finishes has been offset by finishes of 26th and 28th.

Last month's race at Memphis was a good example. Attempting to bounce back from a pit road problem, Musgrave was involved in a multi-truck tangle at the rear of the field that put him out of the event.

There's been a lot of that going on this year as fields become more competitive from front-to-rear.

"It's a real danger zone back there these days," said Musgrave, a 16-time series winner who never has finished worse than third in points during four seasons. "There is a lot of pressure to perform."

Musgrave already has proved able to perform at Nashville Superspeedway. He hopes this year's race will add the final piece of the puzzle. Oh, and that guitar, too.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Scott Riggs