LAS VEGAS - Jack Sprague loves everything about Las Vegas. But his favorite part of this diamond-in-the-desert is Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With two wins and two runner-up finishes in four starts, Sprague is the most successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver ever at LVMS. News that the series will return in 2001 after a one-year absence was music to his ears.
"This is my track," said Sprague, who joined 13 other Chevrolet drivers on Monday at LVMS to test their trucks in preparation for the Oct. 14, 2001, event. "I don't know what it is, but this track has been great to us. I love the town, and I love coming here. It pays a lot to win here, the sponsors love it and the trophies are really nice."
Joining Sprague for the three-day test at LVMS were veteran Trucks Series competitors Dennis Setzer, Randy Tolsma, Brian Reffner, Lance Norick, Coy Gibbs, Rick Ware, Jim Inglebright and Rob Morgan. There also were several newcomers testing including NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series champion Matt Crafton, former Re/Max Challenge Series standout Travis Kvapil, Billy Bigley Jr., Ricky Hendrick and David Donohue, the son of the late Mark Donohue.
"I can't tell you how much everyone missed being here this year," Tolsma said. "This is a great race track for the drivers, and is there a better city in the world for the fans to visit than Las Vegas? Everything here is first class. It's a phenomenal facility and
the world's greatest destination city."Setzer was the only car to make contact with the concrete on Monday. He lost control in turn one and smacked the outside wall.
"I think we got some liquid on our tires," Setzer said. "It was a brand new truck and we tore it up pretty good."
But even the disappointment of crashing didn't dampen Setzer's enthusiasm for returning to LVMS in his Chevrolet Silverado.
"There will be a lot of lead changes and a lot of good racing," Setzer said. "I know every driver was disappointed not to have come here last year. Seeing Las Vegas back on the schedule for 2001 is certainly a highlight for all of us."