Talladega: Ted Musgrave race report

Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 25th at Talladega Superspeedway Talladega, AL (October 9, 2007) Ted Musgrave and his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota crew introduced a brand new truck at Talladega Superspeedway that was plenty capable of winning...

Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 25th at Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega, AL (October 9, 2007) Ted Musgrave and his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota crew introduced a brand new truck at Talladega Superspeedway that was plenty capable of winning the Mountain Dew 250. The new Tundra exceeded driver expectations and a solid seventh-place qualifying effort put Musgrave in position to capture an elusive victory on the massive 2.66-mile superspeedway, the fastest track in NASCAR. Musgrave would challenge for the lead early, rebounding from a flat tire, only to be caught up in a six-truck wreck that would force the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion to settle for a disappointing 25th -place finish.

"We were off just a little bit in qualifying, but the truck was handling real well. It was a brand new truck, something that we never even had a racetrack before. Right off the hauler, we were really happy with our No. 9 Team ASE Toyota. It drove great in the draft; it could suck up behind other trucks and lead a draft, something we couldn't do with our other truck. We figured our seventh place qualifying effort wasn't all that bad. We were near the front with all good trucks so a win with this new Toyota Tundra was definitely doable," said Musgrave.

Musgrave's first setback occurred on the backstretch while bump drafting early in the event. The No. 9 Team ASE Toyota sustained moderate damage with a punched in front nose section. Musgrave and his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota crew decided to bolt on four fresh Goodyear Wranglers and a full load of fuel while other teams elected to change only two tires, relegating Musgrave mid-pack after the initial round of service stops on pit road.

"We took on four tires and fuel. Some of the guys only took two tires and got out ahead of us off of pit road. That kind of hurt us because the race transpired in a way that you couldn't do a lot of passing. The guys on the bottom lined up and it was hard to get by them. I don't like to follow in line so I stayed on the outside and worked our way up to the front and challenged for the lead with our teammate and race winner Todd Bodine," explained Musgrave.

Musgrave's next visit to pit road came sooner than planned, but an opportune caution flag would have to bring his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota truck in for an early pit stop. "We had a tire going down and we had to make an early pitstop. Thankfully, the caution came out and we were able to stay out on the lead lap but had to start further back in the pack again."

Musgrave's shot at victory was all but over when his Team ASE Toyota got caught up in a six-truck crash when eventual third-place finisher, No. 23 Johnny Benson, had no where to go and spun Jack Sprague's ailing No. 60 Toyota in the tri- oval.

"When Jack's (Sprague) tire blew and collected a bunch of trucks, that knocked the radiator out of our Team ASE Toyota - we were pretty much done. We had to replace the radiator and that took some time to repair. We got back out at the end and were able to make up a couple laps. We are trying to do everything to get into the Top-5 points but after Talladega it's going to be really tough to make that up,"

Musgrave continued "We were one of the only trucks that could make moves on the outside; we could actually pull a train up to the front." Musgrave and his No. 9 Team ASE Toyota crew are hard work testing their Martinsville truck in New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, the same truck the team took to ORP and Loudon. Musgrave is seventh in the 2007 Championship point standings, 320 points behind Rick Crawford in sixth.

-credit: gar

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Rick Crawford