AP Photo/Larry Papke
Musgrave Joins HT MotorsportsAt Daytona testing Jan. 11-13, Ted Musgrave was simply offering a helping hand to HT Motorsports. The team needed someone to drive its No. 59 Toyota and provide feedback, and Musgrave didn't have a seat yet for the upcoming Craftsman Truck Series season after leaving Germain Racing last season. Ten days later at the second testing session at Atlanta, the driver and team worked together again. Then, in a way, it turned out somewhat like the last unattached guy and gal standing on the dance floor. "Weird things happen," Musgrave said. "Things weren't going well with them with sponsorship and drivers, and I couldn't find enough sponsorship for mine, so we said, 'Maybe we ought to get together and make this one work.' It worked out pretty good." Musgrave and his Team ASE sponsorship made it a marriage with HT Motorsports, putting together the last cog of sorts in the truck series lineup for 2008. The 2005 champion was the last top driver to not have a ride, but now 13 of the top 14 in last season's points are ready to race Feb. 15 in the season opener at Daytona (only Travis Kvapil is gone, running in a Yates Racing Sprint Cup car). And five others along with Musgrave are in different trucks than what they drove a year ago at Daytona: • Jack Sprague: Ninth in points last year in a Toyota for Wyler Racing, he signed with Kevin Harvick Inc. late last season in the series' biggest driver move. • David Starr: Finished 10th as Rick Crawford's teammate at Circle Bar Racing, now returning to Toyota and Red Horse Racing, his employer in 2006. • Brendan Gaughan: Thought his 11th-place run might have been his last in the series until stepping into Starr's vacated Circle Bar Ford in December. • Dennis Setzer: Began 2007 with Spears Motorsports, only to be released at midseason. His 13th-place season ended with Bobby Hamilton Racing and the team signed him full-time for '08. • Terry Cook: Signed with Wyler Racing to drive the No. 60 Toyota, gaining one digit from the No. 59 at HT Motorsports that Musgrave now claims. Finished 14th in 2007. For the first time in his truck career, Musgrave won't have a teammate, but he says driving as a one-truck operation doesn't exactly leave him on an island considering how Toyota teams share information with each other. So in a way, he'll still have Germain Racing's Todd Bodine as a mate, like last year, plus the likes of Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson and the other Toyotas that dotted the top 15 in 2007 and are all but certain to do so again. "You always see that the same group of guys near the front, in the top five, top 10. You name off the veteran drivers that have been in there a while, they're always at the top of the list at the end of the day," Musgrave said. "I can see the same situation this year with the same group of people." John Schwarb is a freelance journalist covering motorsports and a contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.