RICHMOND, Va. - In two years, #24 Team GMAC driver Jack Sprague has come a long way on short tracks. Sprague, who owns back-to-back short track wins this year at Odessa and Bristol, will look for a series-leading third during Thursday's Virginia Is For Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway (ESPN2: 8 p.m. EDT). Items of note include: * Sprague carried the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado to victory lane at Richmond last year, winning the Virginia Is For Lovers 200 by .299 seconds over Winston Cup regular Ernie Irvan.

* The win at Richmond helped Sprague lead all NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors last year with three short track victories. Prior to 1998, he had only won once on a short strip (Aug. 1997, Nashville Speedway).

* In 1999, the 35-year-old Michigan native has continued his impressive run, sharing the series lead in short track wins with two through eight of ten "short" events.

* If you wipe away his Indianapolis finish (34th - engine), nobody has been better than Sprague when it comes to short track performance this year. Through the first seven short track events, the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet driver averaged a fourth-place finish.

* The Virginia Is For Lovers 200 is the 21st of 25 events on the 1999 NCTS schedule. Sprague, currently second in the Championship standings, trails series leader Greg Biffle by 105 points (3,052-2,947) with a handful of races remaining.

Sprague's thoughts heading into Thursday's race at Richmond International Raceway: "It always feels good to go back to any track as the defending champion in that race," Sprague said. "It's been an up-and-down kind of season and we're at the point now where we need another one to hang our hat on."

Added Sprague, "Short tracks have been real good to us this year for the most part and running under the lights at Richmond is always a big thrill. Winning always provides the biggest thrill and there's really no substitute for that feeling you get, whether it's after a race or at the end of the year. (Crew chief) Dennis (Connor) and the guys will have something up their sleeves for this Richmond set-up. We've got a nice blueprint to go on from last year, so I feel good about our chances of winning again."