SPRAGUE'S VICTORY RUN SPOILED ON LAST TURN "Dominate Performance Excites Team" HAMPTON, GA (October 31, 2005) -- In only his second start with Wyler Racing and Toyota, Jack Sprague was poised and in position to bring home his 26th career win...
SPRAGUE'S VICTORY RUN SPOILED ON LAST TURN
"Dominate Performance Excites Team"
HAMPTON, GA (October 31, 2005) -- In only his second start with Wyler Racing and Toyota, Jack Sprague was poised and in position to bring home his 26th career win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. However, a dramatic finish on the last turn of the last lap relegated the three-time series champion to a fourth place finish in the running of the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"We simply got beat by tires and a badly timed caution today," said Jack. "We had a dominant truck all day and there in the second half of the race no one could keep up with us and I thought for sure I was going to win in only my second race in a Toyota. We had a pretty good sized lead there with less than ten laps to go and the caution came out -- not sure what it was for. A few guys came in and gave up track position to get tires and that proved to be the difference. My No. 60 Toyota was just awesome today -- this Wyler Racing team gave me a great handling truck and it was driving really well -- which was a lot of fun."
Sprague started the 130-lap event from the 12th position as a result of his qualifying effort earlier in the day on Saturday. With the Toyota Tundra very strong in race trim during the two practice sessions on Friday, there was a buzz of excitement in the Wyler Racing camp. And when the green flag flew on Saturday afternoon it didn't take long to see why there was that excitement. The No. 60 Toyota sprinted out of the blocks as Sprague had worked his way up to the seventh position by lap 20. He would remain in that position until coming down pit road under caution on lap 45 where his crew knocked off a strong stop for four fresh tires, fuel and pulling a spring rubber out of the right rear to help a loose condition.
Jack would return to the track in the eighth position and with his truck handling a little better from the adjustments he would march to the front of the field. The No. 60 Tundra would click off some of the fastest laps of the race as it moved to the lead on lap 75. Once out front of the field, Sprague would show the dominance of his truck and pull out to a three second lead. With a caution coming out on lap 88, Jack would come down pit road for the second and final time of the day for four fresh tires and fuel. Another strong stop by the Wyler Racing crew would return the No. 60 Toyota to the track with the lead.
The last 40 laps of the race would see Jack continue his dominant ways by sprinting out to a big lead and then saving his truck for the end. With only seven laps remaining, a caution came out for debris on the track. The caution wiped out the significant lead built up by Sprague and allowed some other truck to make a trip down pit road for tires. This set up a three lap dash to the finish which saw the No. 60 Tundra remain at the point until the last turn on the final lap.
"I am not real sure what happened there on that last lap," stated Sprague. "I knew some of those guys got tires and that it was going to be big. The last three laps there I ran wide open in turns one and two. I knew the No. 15 truck was coming strong and he would go to the high side -- so I tried to go to the middle of the track. He went on the outside of me and got me loose but I just stayed in it. There was nothing I could do -- I was on old tires and was trying to win. Somehow I got across the finish line in fourth. It is a shame -- we didn't need that caution to come out with seven laps to go as we dominated the second half of that race and had them covered up to that point. These guys gave me a great truck and I think our performance here this weekend is a sign of things to come for these last three races -- we will get one of these wins soon."
The dramatic finish in the last turn would relegate Sprague to a fourth place finish despite his dominate performance. Jack would end the race leading a total of 45 laps -- the most in the field. The finish moved Sprague up one spot in the overall driver's standings to 11th -- a mere ten points out of the top ten and only 72 out of the seventh spot.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next heads to the LoneStar state for the running of the Silverado 350K on Friday night at the Texas Motor Speedway. For more information on Jack and the team, please visit them at www.wylerracing.com and www.jacksprague.com