Jack Sprague, Team Netzero Stoked For Return To Milwaukee WEST ALLIS, WI - (June 23, 2001) When you combine a legendary driver with a legendary racetrack the results typically speak for themselves. As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls ...
Jack Sprague, Team Netzero Stoked For Return To Milwaukee
WEST ALLIS, WI - (June 23, 2001) When you combine a legendary driver with a legendary racetrack the results typically speak for themselves. As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls through the heart of the season, Jack Sprague and Team Netzero couldn't feel better about their chances at grabbing another checkered flag at the GNC Live Well 200 at "America's Legendary Oval"
"I've always liked racing at The Milwaukee Mile," Sprague stated. "It, a big, flat, fast place where in year's past you've always lost grip pretty quickly. You used to slide around pretty good, but with the new Goodyear tires we have now, I don't think that's going to happen. That's too bad because when everyone started to slide around, that's when we got strong and went to the front. Hopefully, we'll still be able to do that."
The record indicates Sprague has indeed run well on the one-mile Milwaukee oval posting a ninth in the inaugural 1995 NCTS event before winning the 1996 Sears Auto Center 200. Sprague followed that up with a fourth-place effort in 1997 and a third-place finish in 1998. His progression toward the front continued in 1999 with a second-place finish before notching an eighth in last year's Milwaukee NCTS classic. Sprague's overall finishing average in six Truck Series events at Milwaukee is a sterling 4.5.
"We were running second or third with five laps to go and cut down a right-rear tire," said Sprague of last year's race. "We had to finish on a flat tire and that dropped us down in the final running order. I don't think we had a chance to win, but it was going to be a good finish for us. We had a good race, it just didn't end up as well as it might have."
As strong as Sprague was in the 2000 NCTS event at Milwaukee, the veteran driver counts the 1997 Sears Die Hard 200 Truck Series race at State Fair Park in the "one that got away" column.
"We had all but about five trucks a lap down and over a half a lap lead when the caution flew with a couple laps to go," said Sprague. "We were pretty much out of tires and that allowed everyone to catch up. We still finished fourth, but that caution definitely cost us the race."
Sprague's luck was much better in the 1996 event when he rolled to his only Truck Series win to date at the Milwaukee Mile.
"We broke a valve spring with about 20 laps to go, but we had such a big lead that we still won the race," said Sprague. "That's one of those times where luck was on my side."
In reality, Sprague has been very "lucky" at Milwaukee over the years. He is the all-time series leader at the Fair Park oval in pole positions (two - 1997, 1998), laps led (15 times for 279 laps) and money won ($103,025). Sprague also shares two records with Ron Hornaday, Jr. The first, laps completed (925), will be Sprague's alone when he completes the first circuit of this year's GNC Live Well 200. The second, Top-5 finishes (four), will be Sprague's as well if he can post another solid effort. Given there has never been a repeat NCTS winner at Milwaukee, Sprague will be the only driver in this year's field with a shot at that accomplishment as the other previous victors (Mike Skinner, Hornaday, Mike Bliss, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch) are no longer active in the series.
"Milwaukee has always been a good place for us," said Sprague modestly. "You've got to handle well in the flat corners and you have to have a lot of horsepower to get down the long straights. We always seem to have that and it's translated into some very good runs for us over the years. With any luck, that's going to continue for us at Milwaukee this time as well. As good as the NetZero Platinum Chevrolet has been running, we're gunning for nothing less then another win."
The GNC Live Well 200 at The Milwaukee Mile will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Saturday, June 30. The 200-lap contest will be telecast live by ESPN and broadcast live on MRN radio worldwide.
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