Mopar Speed news 2005-05-02

Mopar Speed Monday, May 2, 2005 ncts Musgrave Captures First Win, Makes History at Gateway Plain and simple, Ted Musgrave dominated Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Dodge Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, ...

Mopar Speed
Monday, May 2, 2005

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Musgrave Captures First Win, Makes History at Gateway

Plain and simple, Ted Musgrave dominated Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Dodge Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Musgrave captured the pole with a track record speed of 135.159 mph and led all but two laps en route to his first win of the 2005 season. In addition, with his winnings, Musgrave reached the $3 million mark in NCTS earnings in the fewest starts of any driver in the history of the circuit. And, for a little icing on the cake, the win catapulted the No. 1 Ultra Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram team to the top of the NCTS points standings, leading fellow Dodge driver Bobby Hamilton by 13 points.

"I never had a truck so dominant before," said Musgrave. "As soon as we started I thought, 'Man, I'm set.'"

The challengers had plenty of chances to catch Musgrave, as a series of cautions brought the pack together. Each time, Musgrave drove away from the crowd on the re-start, as he notched his 16th career Truck Series win.

With the victory, Musgrave became the only NCTS driver to repeat at Gateway, with his first win at the track coming in 2001. Teammate Jimmy Spencer also posted an impressive outing in his No. 2 Team ASE Dodge Ram, clocking in at third.

"As dominant as we were, I knew it wasn't over until it was over. Last year I was leading the whole race in Phoenix and blew a tire with 20 laps to go. So I wasn't taking anything for granted."
    Ted Musgrave

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Scelzi Masters Bristol, Notches First 2005 Win

"If I ever decide to pull the pin [and retire from drag racing], I want to have won at every venue that we've been at, and Bristol has always been a tough one for us. I don't think I've ever been past the semifinals and that was during the Winston Showdown days. To win this one is incredible. This place is one of the neatest state-of-the art places that we go to."
    Gary Scelzi explains his drive to win at every track at which he competes.

There was no May Day signal coming from the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car camp last weekend at the Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals, only high-fives, hugs and kudos, as Gary Scelzi finally mastered Bristol Dragway.

Bristol was one of only four pro NHRA tracks at which Scelzi had not won in his illustrious NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series career. The only venues left for Scelzi to conquer now are Denver (Colo.), Englishtown (N.J.) and Gainesville, Fla.

Scelzi's win against Jeff Arend in the final round marked his 30th career win, his fifth in Funny Car, and his first of the season, all while setting a track record of 329.26 mph. Scelzi's 4.815/329.26 beat out Arend's 4.971/282.42.

The three-time Top Fuel champion, who is seeking his first Funny Car crown, moved into fourth in the points, and trails his teammate and points leader Whit Bazemore by 63 points.

As for Bazemore, it was an ugly Funny Car opening round but, fortunately, it was also ugly for John Force and Robert Hight, all three of whom lost in the first round of eliminations.

With the top three in points eliminated early, Bazemore, in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T, held onto the No. 1 spot in the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points, with a 58-point margin over Force. Cruz Pedregon, who lost in the semifinal, moved into third, and Hight dropped to fifth.

"It was amazing the way it transpired. Two of our main competitors also lost in the first round," said Bazemore, who had qualified 11th, and remains the only two-time Funny Car winner this year.

Ron Capps helped entertain the fans in a pedaling match against Eric Medlen in the first round. Capps took off first at the starting light in the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, posting a .095 reaction time to Medlen's .104. Both cars, however, struck their tires at the hit of the throttle and it was a pedal fest to the finish, as heavy tire smoke blocked the view for fans and competitors alike. When the smoke cleared, Medlen was awarded the victory, with a 9.209/178.78 pass to Capps' losing 9.804/187.00.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series moves to the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., May 13-15.

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Drake Wins at Eldora, Leads Points Battle

Jay Drake and the No. 21 Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises team notched their first win in the 2005 USAC National Sprint Car Series Saturday night on the high banks of Eldora Speedway.

Drake took the lead in the feature event officially on lap 29 after race leader Levi Jones caught a rut in turn one and flipped. With a green-white-checkered finish, Drake held off a hard-charging pack to earn the win.

Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises' Josh Wise also had a strong start to his '05 dirt track campaign in the No. 20 machine. Wise drove to a fourth-place finish in the third heat to lock the No. 20 in to the feature event. Riding near the front of the pack throughout the feature event, Wise maintained his composure after hooking a turn one rut during the event. When the race restarted for the finish, Wise fought his way to a fifth-place finish.

Hoffman Auto Racing also kicked off their dirt track effort at Eldora Speedway, debuting a new Gaerte Mopar power plant with driver Jerry Coons Jr. Coons piloted the No. 69 machine to a solid third quick qualifying effort and won the third heat race event prior to picking up a seventh-place finish in the feature event.

Rain washed out the first leg of the USAC "Border Wars" series on Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. Drake will defend his "Border Wars" championship title on the June 3 rain date event at the facility. He will also have his name noted in the Eldora Speedway history book as the first USAC National Sprint Car Series feature winner under Tony Stewart's ownership.

Drake currently leads the USAC National Sprint Car Series points chase, with Mopar driver Tom Hessert in third position and Coons Jr., currently seventh.

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Lasoski Continues Winning Ways at Knoxville Raceway

Danny "The Dude" Lasoski once again proved why he's the reigning king of Knoxville Raceway, as the No. 20 Tony Stewart Motorsports team earned a victory in the preliminary feature of the Knoxville Raceway Spring Nationals. Lasoski qualified sixth and drove a nearly flawless race to earn his first series win since January of this year. The No. 20 machine had caught race leader Brooke Tatnell just before Tatnell bobbled and got into another car. Lasoski assumed the lead on lap 19 and went on to collect the checkered flag.

In Saturday night's event finale, Lasoski won the dash event to put himself on the pole for the A-main. With its win on Friday night, the No. 20 team was locked into the A-main event. "The Dude" went on to wrap up the weekend with a solid second-place finish in the A-main finale.

Forbrook Motorsports and Sammy Swindell also posted a top-five finish at Knoxville Raceway, as Swindell drove the No. 5 machine to a third-place finish in Saturday night's A-main finale. He also picked up a heat race win on Friday night en route to an 18th-place finish in the preliminary feature.

Lasoski's efforts moved him solidly into fifth place in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series points chase. "The Dude" and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series will move to Lake Ozark Speedway on May 6 and Tri-City Speedway on May 7 for this week's action.

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Stevens Powers to Final Round Appearance in Bristol

Don Schumacher Racing's Richie Stevens Jr. knocked off reigning two-time champion Greg Anderson as he bulldozed his way through the Pro Stock field into the final round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

Stevens Jr. clocked a pass of 6.754/203.98 in his new Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus to knock out Anderson, then defeated Dave Connoly, who was the Pro Stock points leader upon entering the event. Next up was a HEMI vs. HEMI matchup in the semis, with Stevens besting the Stratus of V. Gaines. However, a win was not in the cards for the final round, with Stevens Jr. red lighting as Warren Johnson took the win.

"We were real consistent all day," said Stevens Jr. "Luckily, we got in, and I'm just glad to make it into the final. We got back in the top 10 in points, and we gained some ground and hopefully we'll get a win soon."

Stevens Jr.'s teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified the Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T in the fourth position last weekend at Bristol Dragway, but he lost in the first round of eliminations to Jim Yates with a 6.778 et to Yate's 6.763. Coughlin Jr. is currently 11th in the point standings.

Allen Johnson, who presently sits 10th in NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Series points, was also eliminated in the first round at Bristol. Johnson, driving his Dodge Stratus R/T for J & J racing, pushed his dragster to an et of 6.796 but was beat by Warren Johnson's 6.749.

Next up in NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Series racing is the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., May 13-15.

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Francis Fights for Fourth-Place Finish at Lernerville

Steve Francis and the No. 15 team drove to a fourth-place finish in the "Showdown @ Sarvertown 50" at Lernerville Speedway before rain shortened the 50-lap event to only 25. "The Kentucky Colonel" had been the class of the field, as he brought the No. 15 machine from the 18th starting position to the top-five before the event was cut short. Francis' effort also moved him into the ninth position in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series point standings.

The "Stanley Schetrompf Memorial 50", which was scheduled for April 30 at Hagerstown Speedway was canceled due to rain. A makeup date will be announced in the near future. In the meantime, race fans can catch all of the action from Lernerville Speedway on Speed Channel on May 14 at 3 p.m. EST.

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Hubinette Seeks Win at Atlanta This Weekend

Samuel Hubinette and the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper team will return to action this weekend at Road Atlanta in the Need For Speed Formula Drift Championship. Hubinette and company are set to return to the site of their first series victory, as "The Crazy Swede" swept the Drift Atlanta event in 2004.

Hubinette kicked off the 2005 season at Wall Speedway in New Jersey just three weeks ago, where the team turned in a solid performance. Hubinette qualified the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper in 13th position and advanced to the elimination rounds before ending his event after the "Sweet 16." The team was able to gain ground with the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper and Yokohama Tires, and after testing well last week, they will be ready to tackle Road Atlanta.

"Drift Atlanta" kicks off this Friday, May 6, at the legendary Road Atlanta course. Qualifying and final rounds for Round 2 of the Need For Speed Formula Drift Championship will commence on Saturday, May 7. For more information regarding Hubinette or the Need For Speed Formula Drift Series, log on to www.toxicdrift.com or www.formulad.com.

-mopar

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About this article
Series NASCAR , NHRA , SCCA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Tony Stewart , Jeg Coughlin , Richie Stevens Jr. , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Ted Musgrave , Cruz Pedregon , Sammy Swindell , Tom Hessert , Jay Drake , Allen Johnson , Levi Jones , Jerry Coons , Josh Wise , Brooke Tatnell , Jeff Arend , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Steve Francis , Samuel Hubinette