SPRAGUE'S FINISH TO 2006 SEASON HAS HIM FOCUSED ON ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RUN 3-Time Champ, Team And Sponsor Head To Season Ending Banquet MOORESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (December 7, 2006) - With the checkered flag having waved on the 2006 NASCAR...
SPRAGUE'S FINISH TO 2006 SEASON HAS HIM FOCUSED ON ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP
3-Time Champ, Team And Sponsor Head To Season Ending Banquet
MOORESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (December 7, 2006) - With the checkered flag having waved on the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Jack Sprague and his No. 60 Con-way Freight team are preparing and already looking forward to bigger and better results in 2007.
Sprague and the Wyler Racing team scored two poles, two wins (Memphis and Martinsville) and 14 top-10 finishes en route to a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship point's standings. It is the 10th time in 10 full seasons in the truck series that Sprague has finished in the top 10 in the points.
"I am so proud of what this team accomplished this season," said three-time Series champion Sprague. "This was our first full year together as a team. At times, we really struggled, but we were able to overcome that adversity and get back out there and finish on a strong note. "We got two poles and two wins this season, and we are all geared up for a run at my fourth championship and Wyler Racing's first in 2007."
For the three time Series champion, the 2006 season was a test of his confidence and patience. Sprague started the season strong with a pair of top-five finishes at Daytona and California. The top-five finishes were followed up by two 17th-place finishes at Atlanta and Martinsville.
The first four races were just an example of the ups and downs that Sprague and his team weathered throughout the season. Sprague nearly scored his first win with Wyler Racing at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway, but he came up nine-tenths of a second shy and finished in the runner-up spot behind Ron Hornaday Jr.
After his runner-up finish, Sprague and the Wyler Racing team embarked on the Series' long summer stretch. Finally, at Memphis Motorsports Park, Sprague drove the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota to its first pole and victory.
The win came in Sprague's 19th start with Wyler Racing (14 in 2006 and five in 2005). The win was Sprague's 26th career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win and the first victory for Wyler Racing and sponsor Con-way Freight.
With the first win under their belt, the Wyler Racing team was already looking to get back to Victory Lane, but racing luck seemed to turn sour for Sprague and the team.
With the exception of a runner-up finish at Nashville, Sprague didn't score a top 10 finish in five of six races from August to October. That's when the Wyler Racing team finally hit their stride. It was also when Sprague and the Con-way Freight team added "Monkey" to the team roster at the fall Martinsville race.
"Starting with Bristol, we had four miserable races in a row, and in three of those we had a top five truck," Sprague said. "Anything that could go wrong did. We cut a tire. I spun out while running in the top five. Our motor broke while we were running second.
"After all the bad luck, the guys on the team decided we had to do something. So the guys thought if they befriended the monkey that it would all be good."
And it was.
Sprague scored the pole at Martinsville and then celebrated with "Monkey" and the Con-way Freight crew in Victory Lane after the 200-lap race. The win -- and maybe "Monkey" -- seemed to give Sprague and the team the boost they needed to finish the 2006 season on a high note.
In the final four races, Sprague scored a 10th (Atlanta), a fourth (Texas), a seventh (Phoenix) and a fifth-place (Homestead-Miami) finish.
The strong surge at the end of the season helped Sprague and the Wyler Racing team to secure a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings.
In all, Sprague scored two poles, two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. With only one DNF (Talladega) on the season, Sprague completed 97 percent of the season's laps.
"This Wyler Racing team has had a great year," Sprague said. "For a young team in our first full season together, I am very proud of what we have accomplished.
"We finished the season just how we needed to -- on a strong note. I think this will give us some momentum as we start looking ahead to the 2007 season and a championship run. Con-way Freight is coming back next year, and we're hoping to celebrate more wins and a championship with them."