St. Louis: Round 17 preview

*Musgrave Hopes Gateway Return Will End Drought * Roush Fenway Leads Series In One-Two Finishes * Point Spread At Four-Year Low After 16 Races Gateway: Good Place To Win Again Daytona Beach, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2007) -- Speak of dry spells and Ted...

*Musgrave Hopes Gateway Return Will End Drought
* Roush Fenway Leads Series In One-Two Finishes
* Point Spread At Four-Year Low After 16 Races

Gateway: Good Place To Win Again

Daytona Beach, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2007) -- Speak of dry spells and Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota) would prefer not to.

But it remains that Musgrave's last win came 60 races ago at Gateway International Raceway which the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visits Saturday for the Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers 200.

Musgrave, a 16-time winner, might have ended the string at the 1.25-mile St. Louis-area facility last year except for one thing.

He finished second to Germain Racing teammate and 2006 series champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota).

Musgrave's 28-month dry spell, however, is only third-longest among active series winners. Ken Schrader (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) is 0-for-81 since 1995 and Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Chevrolet), the 2003 Ram Tough 200 winner, has gone 67 races since win No. 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in November of the same season.

"As far as winless streaks go, we've had opportunities to win," said Musgrave. "It's just that we haven't been able to capitalize.

"That St. Louis was the place of my last win doesn't enter my mind. We've had much success at the track ... in just about every race we've run well there. We ran second last year with a shot to win. We want the team to run that well again."

Multi-Truck Teams, One-Two Sweeps Rare Before 1999

Roush Fenway Racing pioneered the concept of multi-truck teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and, not surprising, scored the initial top two sweep in October 1997.

The top two finishing drivers at Phoenix International Raceway were Joe Ruttman and Chuck Bown.

Since then, the "sweep" has been accomplished on 18 different occasions, most recently by Bill Davis Racing's Johnny Benson and Mike Skinner last fall at New Hampshire International Speedway.

Roush Fenway Racing drivers have finished one-two on 11 separate occasions with 11 different drivers figuring in those equations. Greg Biffle was the most dominant, beating teammate and 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch three of four times they ran one-two in 2000.

Biffle also beat Mike Bliss (No. 4 Open Joist Dodge) twice in 1999.

Four teams have placed their drivers one-two: Roush Fenway, Ultra Motorsports (five times), Bill Davis Racing (once) and Germain Racing (once).

Victory Lane Fall-Off New Experience For Bodine

Hard to believe but Todd Bodine, the defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, has won exactly one race in the past 14 months.

That after setting the season on fire in 2005 with victories in the final three races and five overall.

While it hasn't exactly been a lean year -- Bodine is fourth in points with a win, seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes -- the 43-year-old champion is less than happy when he's not visiting Victory Lane.

But, looking at the bright side, the defending winner of Saturday's Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200, points to an increased level of competition in the series overall.

"The competition has kind of stepped it up and we are going to have to step it up and get that dominant edge again," said Bodine.

Six drivers who have won the past seven editions of the Ram Tough 200 are expected to compete in this week's 10th series race at the 1.25-mile speedway.

That's the most of any track on the schedule in 2007 -- one more than the winners of six races earlier this summer at The Milwaukee Mile.

Gateway's egg-shaped layout favors the best in the business -- drivers, crew chiefs and teams. So it isn't surprising that five Gateway winners count a combined six championships.

The past two winners of the Ram Tough 200 -- Ted Musgrave and Bodine -- went on to win the season's title.

How The Points Break Down

The point spread between first and second places after 16 races is the closest it's been in the last four seasons.

Year   Point Difference

2007 92
2004 96
2006 144
2005 178

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss
Teams Germain Racing , Roush Fenway Racing , Bill Davis Racing