Sprague, Netzero Chevy suffer through tough day at Nazareth.
NAZARETH, PA (May 19, 2002) - Things didn't pan out for Jack Sprague and his NetZero team during Sunday's Stacker 2 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at Nazareth Speedway. Sprague, who led the field to the green flag having high hopes, wound up with a 26th place finish.
"It's frustrating to start on the pole thinking it just might play out for us and having it all taken away," said Sprague. "I wasn't able to lead the first lap and Jason Keller passed me. It seems like a broken record with us at the start of every race, but the car's usually always loose no matter what we've done to prepare for it. I needed a lot of green laps to shake it, but never had the opportunity to get any in before I got hit."
For the third time this season, Sprague's red, black and silver NetZero Monte Carlo started from the top spot based on points as qualifying was canceled Saturday due to rain. It was the first time Sprague started from the pole at the one-mile Nazareth oval.
"I'm not ashamed to start at the front because of rain," Sprague said. "I don't think anyone out there would say they'd rather run a lap for a shot at it, so I don't get a plague. I got something better - a better chance of staying out of trouble and winning the race. I'm hoping we'll be on the front row this year on our own talent, but for now, the pole because of rain is okay with me."
Sprague's front row starting spot didn't help as a he fell back in the pack before contact from behind sent his NetZero Chevy spinning on Lap 10. Sprague was able to control the 360-degree pirouette and not damage his car, but his tires were flat-spotted forcing him to pit road for fresh rubber. Now in the 33rd position, Sprague raced his way threw traffic moving into the 16th spot when the caution again came out on Lap 61.
"The NetZero Chevy wasn't too bad and I was getting to the front faster than I thought I would," said Sprague. "When the caution came out, I was hoping to come in and get on the same sequence as everyone else, but I guess when I flat-spotted the tires, the guys brought the tires over the wall before Goodyear got a chance to look at them and give us a new set, so we were left with only one set for the rest of the race."
Sprague's day went from bad to worse on Lap 90 when he was involved in yet another incident. This time, contact with another car resulted in a busted radiator. A new radiator cost Sprague 19 laps and any chance of a top finish. It also cost Sprague the NBS points lead.
"I can't believe how our day went," said Sprague. "It seems like we either do really good or really bad. We need to find a happy medium somewhere. I hate that we lost the points battle, but Jason (Keller) and I seem to be doing that a lot lately. The guys did a good job switching radiators and getting me back out there to run laps. That's what counts. We'll fight back at Charlotte next week."
Keller, who went on to win the race is now 31 points ahead of Sprague in the NBS title chase.
Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The event will take the green flag Saturday, May 25 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The race will be telecast live on FOX while PRN Radio will broadcast the race as it happens.