Germain Racing teammates Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave have been contenders since the first green flag of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season and the two veteran Toyota drivers are among the favorites heading into the May 19 Quaker Steak & Lube 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Musgrave certainly knows his way to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The native of Franklin, Wis., won the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile track in 2003. Bodine, meanwhile, will be relying on assistance from his teammate as he seeks his first Charlotte Motor Speedway victory.

"Being able to go to Ted for advice is what this team is all about," said Bodine, who drives the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota. "I've always seemed to run really well at Charlotte, but Ted's knowledge and experience level is going to help our team this year. It's pretty nice to have a strong team with a guy like Ted Musgrave on board with his experience and knowledge. The two teams really clicked right off the bat, so we've put together quite a formidable combination."

Musgrave, who wheels the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota, believes the working relationship with Bodine has been an added bonus for both drivers.

"It's been awesome, and Todd and I have really been bouncing ideas off one another so we can both get better," Musgrave explained. "I think it's helped Germain Racing quite a bit and we have a pretty good 1-2 punch. It's pretty cool that a team can come out with two trucks and be so competitive and run this well.

"It's not a matter of one team running 30th while the other team is winning all the races," Musgrave continued. "It truly is one team that has two trucks, and it's working out really well."

After claiming his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship last season, all was well in Musgrave's world-until he received word in January that team owner Jim Smith was closing his operation.

"It was unexpected and something that I never saw coming," Musgrave said. "I'd never heard of a team winning a major NASCAR championship, then shutting down like that before.

"The team closing down was a big blow when I realized it was true and not a joke," Musgrave continued. "I never would have believed something like that would have happened. I was at a loss for words because I knew I needed to look around and find something pretty fast."

Musgrave had a couple of offers to run Busch and NEXTEL Cup cars, but wanted to remain in the Craftsman Truck Series. He eventually placed a call to Mike Hillman Sr., team manager at Germain Racing.

"Mike then got in touch with all the Germain brothers and they all thought it was a pretty good idea and he went to all the guys on the team to see if they agreed that me coming on board would be good for them," Musgrave said. "He also talked to Toyota and everybody involved was in favor of it. When it got down to it, they asked Todd what he thought about becoming a teammate with me and he said they needed to make it happen."

"As soon as I heard about Ted's deal falling through, I didn't tell anybody about it but I immediately thought it would be a great opportunity for Germain Racing," Bodine explained. "Then I got the phone call from Mike Sr. that we had the chance to hire Ted if that was what I wanted to do. Mike told me that this was what they wanted to do, but they wouldn't do it if they didn't have my blessing.

"I was all for it and I told them that this was an incredible opportunity for our team to have a second driver as good as Ted Musgrave," Bodine continued. "He immediately put that truck in contention every week. Ted is obviously the defending champion and has won a lot of races-the list of his accomplishments goes on and on. To top it all off, Ted is just a great guy."

The Musgrave-Bodine combination is proving to be one of the most potent in truck series history. The duo combined for seven top-five finishes in the first four races, including a victory by Bodine at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March.

Their strong runs in the first four races had Musgrave and Bodine behind only part-time series competitor Mark Martin in the point standings.

Tickets for the May 19 Quaker Steak & Lube 200, which follows qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, start at $20 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online.