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Musgrave gets better of teammate

9/9/2004

RICHMOND, Va. -- Ted Musgrave led all but 10 laps and held
off teammate Jamie McMurray in an aborted two-lap sprint to the
finish Thursday night to win the Kroger 200 Craftsman Truck Series
race.

The race, forced to go extra laps when a caution came out with
two laps left, appeared to set up as a classic duel between the
teammates, but McMurray's chances ended when Matt Crafton spun on
the first lap of the restart, bringing out another caution that
ended it after 209 laps.

Under series rules, one attempt must be made at a two-lap finish
under green, but a caution during that dash allows it to end under
the yellow.

"Everything kind of fell my way,'' a relieved Musgrave said.

It was Musgrave's second victory this season, the 15th of his
career and may have been twice saved by the flags signaling trouble
on the track.

Musgrave, a truck series veteran, led 188 of the first 198 laps,
but seemingly was about to lose the lead to McMurray until Jimmy
Spencer blew an engine at the other end of the track, bringing out
a saving caution.

"It was pretty scary when I looked and saw that No. 2 truck
coming,'' Musgrave said of McMurray's Dodge, which beat him out for
the pole.

"He was right there,'' Musgrave said. "... He could have
forced the issue really, and probably would have taken the lead.''

Musgrave seemed more in control on the last restart on lap 207,
pulling away quickly and leading by a truck length when the race
ended.

McMurray, making his 22nd start in the series, said he knew
Musgrave was racing for the series title and didn't want to take
any chances.

"More than likely, if it had been anybody else, I would have
won the race,'' he said after posting his top career result in the
series.

Musgrave won by 0.193 seconds on the three-quarter-mile Richmond
International Raceway oval and climbed two spots to fifth in
points.

Two-time defending champion Tony Stewart, who started 10th
seeking his third victory in four career starts in the series,
moved his Chevrolet to third with about 45 laps to go, but couldn't
challenge the leaders.

"I had a blast,'' Stewart said after finishing third. "These
guys love a little competition and the level of talent for the
drivers just keeps going up. ... They don't make it easy on you,
that's for sure.''

Todd Bodine finished fourth, the top Toyota.

The race was rough from the outset for points leader Bobby
Hamilton. He ran through some fluid on the track after just three
laps and hit the wall in the fourth turn, pitted frequently and
limped home in 26th.

Hamilton did retain the points lead over Dennis Setzer, who was
13th, but had his margin trimmed from 96 ahead to 57 with eight
races remaining.

Carl Edwards, the top Ford in fifth, remained third, 76 points
back.