Musgrave Tests Ultra Motorsports Trucks at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Monday, March 22, 2004
Following Ted Musgrave¿s eighth-place finish in the March 13 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200, the only thought this veteran driver had was of coming back to Atlanta Motor Speedway to test ¿ as soon as possible.
¿I wanted to come back the next day, but that was the (NEXTEL) Cup race,¿ Musgrave said. ¿We ended up finishing OK, but we basically made something out of nothing, because we just weren¿t good all weekend. We knew we could have run much better if we¿d tested. So as bad as we were, we wanted to come right back to the track we had just raced on and try to improve.¿
Musgrave did just that almost immediately upon returning to the track Monday, turning a fast lap of 173.521 mph (31.95 seconds) around the high-banked 1.54-mile track in the morning hours. Musgrave tested both his own No. 1 Mopar Dodge and the truck of his teammate, Andy Houston.
¿This track is so much like others that we race on ¿ Charlotte and Texas especially ¿ that we¿re learning a lot right now,¿ Musgrave said. ¿Plus, this test will actually help everywhere we go, including the short tracks, because we¿re learning how the truck reacts to changes.¿
Musgrave said he had improved his speeds in the two Ultra Motorsports trucks by almost half a second over the times he turned just two weeks ago in the race at Atlanta. Both Musgrave and Houston qualified in the back half of the field for the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200, with Musgrave starting 21st and Houston 23rd.
¿We¿ve learned a lot today, but I can¿t tell you what, or it¿ll be all over the internet,¿ Musgrave said with a wicked grin. ¿I can tell you this: we¿re running a lot closer to what the leaders ran during the race, and the truck is real comfortable right now. I couldn¿t say that two weeks ago.¿
Musgrave said he knew going into the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 that his truck didn¿t have a shot at winning, but he was reluctant to make any drastic changes right before the race.
¿We were off all weekend, and we almost changed a bunch right after happy hour,¿ Musgrave said. ¿But that¿s risky. We could have been right on, or we could have been way off. Now I wish we¿d changed things, because the changes we were going to make have made the truck way better during today¿s test. But you learn.¿
And despite what he considers a poor finish for himself, Musgrave is still in awe over the inaugural truck race held at Atlanta two weeks ago.
¿That was an amazing show, and there was an amazing crowd here,¿ Musgrave said. ¿With the finish that we had, I could see all the fans standing and cheering as I came off the track after the race. We loaded up and came back out, and the fans were STILL standing and cheering. What a great race for our series; these fans in Atlanta are great.¿