Musgrave’s Mistake Means Victory For Sprague

Ted Musgrave led the most laps in Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway but a driver error with less than 65 laps to go handed the victory to pole winner Jack Sprague. When most of the field hit pit road under caution on Lap 32, Musgrave stayed on the track with the intention of going the distance and giving his pit crew the day off. The strategy was working to perfection for the Germain Racing Team right up until Musgrave was black-flagged for not maintaining speed as he led the field to green after the seventh caution of the race.

Sprague reclaimed the lead when Musgrave served his penalty and from there he was never seriously challenged for the victory. “Ted (Musgrave) was tough,” said Sprague. “I'm not sure I could have passed him at the end. The outside was working for me and it would have been a pretty good race. To win at Martinsville is unbelievable. I'm terrible here, so this is really cool."

After winning the race in April, David Starr rolled into Martinsville seeking the season sweep. He managed to wrestle second place away from rookie Eric Darnell with 17 laps to go but ran out of time before he could run Sprague down.
"Just because you won a race here in the spring doesn't me you're going to do it again,” Starr noted. “ But, I'm confident because I have Jamie Jones (crew chief) on my side. Every time we unload at a short track, we are always a contender. I knew if I could do my job, we would be one to contend with here. But to come here and repeat I knew we had our work cut out for us.”

Darnell was able to hold off Mark Martin as he hung on for third and his second top five finish of the season. “I mean, it’s Mark Martin coming up behind you,” said Darnell about the closing laps. “He’s one of the best out there. But at the same time I know I’m fortunate to have him as a teammate and I know he’d come up behind me and run me clean, and I was fortunate for that. He got there and raced me hard a couple of times, but I was able to stay in front of him.

Championship contender Johnny Benson rounded out the top five and shaved another 34 points off of Todd Bodine’s advantage in the standings. Bodine had a strong run interrupted by a cut tire that required an unscheduled pit stop and even though he salvaged a 14th place finish, he saw his points lead dwindle to 79 points over Benson with four races to go. "We did what we had to do,” said Bodine. “We were going to have a top-five finish, when someone ran into me and I cut a tire down. We dodged the bullet at Talladega two weeks ago but it grazed us here.”

Next weekend the Craftsman Truck Series makes a return visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway where Bodine beat Mark Martin to record his first victory of the season.