SPRAGUE BATTLES GREMLINS IN ATLANTA "Driver And Team Make The Most Of Rough Night" HAMPTON, GA (March 20, 2006) -- Jack Sprague returned this week to the track that snatched victory from him on the final turn of the race last year. His...
SPRAGUE BATTLES GREMLINS IN ATLANTA
"Driver And Team Make The Most Of Rough Night"
HAMPTON, GA (March 20, 2006) -- Jack Sprague returned this week to the track that snatched victory from him on the final turn of the race last year. His hopes for a repeat of the strong performance were plagued by an unknown handling issue which relegated his No. 60 Con-Way Toyota Tundra to a disappointing 17th place finish in the running of the John Deere 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"We had something wrong with our truck and we could not figure it out tonight," Sprague said. "Our truck was pretty strong all day during the practice sessions and it felt real good in our qualifying run. But when that green flag dropped it was like I was driving a totally different truck. We had a snap loose condition and to me it felt like something had broken on the truck -- but we could not figure it out. Then we got caught up in that last lap accident and we basically destroyed the truck and now we will probably never know what was wrong with the truck."
In fashion similar to the season's first two races, the No. 60 Con-Way Toyota was very strong off the trailer as it posted the fifth fastest time during both practice sessions leading up to qualifying. A solid qualifying run put Sprague in the 12th position on the starting grid and a good handling truck provided much optimism as race time approached. However, once the green flag dropped it didn't take long for Jack to radio back to his Wyler Racing crew that the truck was loose and getting worse with each passing lap.
Sprague and his Con-Way Tundra would hang around the top-10 as the Wyler Racing team anxiously waited for the first opportunity to come down pit road for necessary adjustments. That opportunity finally came under caution on lap 32 when the Wyler crew bolted four fresh Goodyear's on the Con-Way machine, made an air pressure adjustment and pulled a rubber out of the right rear spring. The changes did not seem to help as Jack radioed back to his crew on lap 44 that something was wrong with his truck.
Another trip down pit road on lap 67 allowed for more changes and a good stop would gain Sprague a few spots in the field. Sprague restarted in 13th position, but that would not last long. The truck began to slide back through the field, and Sprague again radioed his crew -- this time to tell them that the truck was broken.
The last 50 laps of the race found Sprague racing smart and taking whatever he could get with his wounded Con-Way machine. When a late caution presented a green-white-checker finish, the No. 60 Con-Way Toyota came down pit road for some major last minute adjustments, so Sprague could make a two lap run to pick up valuable positions on the track. This move worked to perfection as the truck seemed to be the best it was all night and Sprague was moving up through the field until disaster struck on the last turn of the last lap. A fellow competitor appeared to lose control of his truck on the last turn and started a chain reaction wreck that swept up the No. 60 Con-Way Toyota.
"I am not a fan of the last turn at this track," stated Sprague. "It has caught me the last two races here and this time we tore up a good truck. Also, we may never know what the problem with our truck was now since it is all destroyed. Our Con-Way Toyota has been so strong here at the start of the season and this is really a mystery of what was the problem tonight. We just need to put this behind us and move on to Martinsville."
The finish dropped Sprague two spots to sixth in the overall driver's standings -- just 63 points out of the top three.