Odessa O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 story

Odessa O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 story

JACK SPRAGUE BESTS DENNIS SETZER IN TWO-LAP SHOOTOUT TO BREAK SEVEN-RACE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK DROUGHT BY OWEN KEARNS JR. ODESSA, Mo. - Lightning didn't strike twice for Jack Sprague but it was on his mind as he defeated...

JACK SPRAGUE BESTS DENNIS SETZER IN TWO-LAP SHOOTOUT TO BREAK SEVEN-RACE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK DROUGHT BY OWEN KEARNS JR.

ODESSA, Mo. - Lightning didn't strike twice for Jack Sprague but it was on his mind as he defeated Dennis Setzer in a two-lap shootout to win Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 at I-70 Speedway. Just six days earlier, in similar circumstances, Sprague lost a one-lap lead and a sure victory at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The 1997 champion wondered, afterwards, if he'd ever win again. Sprague, a noted worrier, shouldn't have. Setzer, driving one of four strong Dodge Rams that finished among the top-eight positions, glued himself to Sprague's tailgate and - on lap 192 - cut the advantage to 0.28 second. But despite a seventh and final caution for Randy Tolsma's trip into the Turn 4 wall, which stretched the season's eighth event four serials past its 200-lap appointed distance, Sprague was able to drive away from Setzer. "The fastest truck did win this time," said Sprague, looking back on his bitter defeat in Colorado. "Today makes up for it a little bit (but) that finish last week is still a bit hard to take." The winner's 14th career victory broke a seven-race drought, extending to last season's Las Vegas finale. Worth $37,850, it also boosted Sprague into the NCTS championship lead, by a single point over Ron Hornaday, who finished 11th and off the lead lap for the second time in the past four races. Sprague, the season's sixth different winner, averaged a non-record, 70.208 mph as 49 laps were consumed by caution. Eighteen of those laps were the result of the turns three and four asphalt coming apart, which required attention from I-70's sweep crew. Non-track surface accidents claimed a number of competitors, including Tim Steele, whose HS Die & Engineering Ford apparently cut down a tire entering Turn 1 on the 28th lap and slammed hard into the wall, nearly overturning. Steele was transported to Independence Regional Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a bruised spleen and held overnight for observation. Eight teams managed to finish all 204 laps before a standing room only crowd. Andy Houston's CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet ran third, pretty much by himself in the waning laps, trailed by early leader Stacy Compton in the Royal Crown Cola Ram. Jimmy Hensley, with owner Richard Petty watching from pit road, led the most laps - 74 - before settling for fifth-place in the Dodge Motorsports Dodge. Kevin Cywinski claimed sixth from a 10th-place start, trailed by USG SHEETROCK(r) Brand Rookie leader Mike Stefanik and Tolsma, who came to grief as he attempted to wrestle a fourth away from Impact Motorsports driving mate Compton. Ninth and 10th, one lap behind, were Roush Racing teammates Mike Bliss and Greg Biffle, both of whom were ecstatic at escaping the 28- degree banked facility with top-10 finishes. Biffle was happy just to be driving, after severely spraining his left wrist in a Wednesday testing accident at Toledo, Ohio. The Ford F-150 the team planned to use at I-70 Speedway was demolished when the throttle stuck, sending Biffle hard into the wall. Saturday's fifth series race at I-70 Speedway broke into three distinct segments. Bud Pole winner Compton led the first two laps, followed by Hornaday who headed nine before a Turn 4 tangle with Sprague's GMAC Financial Services Chevy and the wall reduced his role to also-ran. Hensley then rocketed into the lead and had up to a straightaway in hand before the grip of his Goodyear Eagles began to fade and the 11th-starting Setzer muscled his way into the spotlight. The pair swapped the lead seven times between laps 71 and 108, before Hensley's Ram loosened up and no longer was a contender. Sprague, who'd been an interested bystander, went to the front on the 132nd lap, Setzer. From there, Sprague and Setzer went at it, never separated by more than a couple truck lengths as they zigzagged through heavy traffic. Following the sixth caution, to remove Marty Houston's wrecked Spears Motorsports Chevrolet from Turn 1; Setzer made his final charge, which reached its high-water mark on lap 192. Sprague still had power in reserve, then tossed a perfect restart at Setzer when the race's final green waved on lap 203. "These Hendrick trucks are lightning on restarts," he said. "I manhandled it to keep it on the bottom." Said Setzer, "We developed a push late in the race and we had the second fastest truck at the end." Series drivers take the Memorial Day weekend off before heading to Bristol Motor Speedway for the June 5 Coca-Cola Family 200. The results: Bud Pole Award - Stacy Compton, Dodge, 17.034 seconds, 114.759 mph (record, old, Tony Raines, 17.107, 114.269, 1998) O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 (204) -- 1. (7)Jack Sprague, Chevrolet, 204, 70.208 mph, $37,850; 2.(11)Dennis Setzer, Dodge, 204, $28,075; 3. (15)Andy Houston, Chevrolet, 204, $18,525; 4. (1)Stacy Compton, Dodge, 204, $13,175; 5. (2)Jimmy Hensley, Dodge, 204, $9,700; 6. (12)Kevin Cywinski, Ford, 204, $8,400; 7. (19)Mike Stefanik, Ford, 204, $9,100; 8. (5)Randy Tolsma, Dodge, 204, $8,350; 9. (9)Mike Bliss, Ford, 203, $7,450; 10. (6)Greg Biffle, Ford, 203, $8,200; 11. (3)Ron Hornaday, Chevrolet, 202, $8,000; 12. (20)Terry Cook, Chevrolet, 202, $6,975; 13. (4)Scott Hansen, Chevrolet, 202, $7,200; 14. (17)Jay Sauter, Chevrolet, 201, $6,925; 15. (23)Randy Renfrow, Chevrolet, 201, $6,150; 16. (13)Kevin Harvick, Ford, 201, $6,825; 17. (16)Mike Wallace, Ford, 200, $6,700; 18. (22)Lance Norick, Chevrolet, 200, $6,675; 19. (24)Ron Barfield, Ford, 199, $6,650; 20. (26)Butch Miller, Dodge, 199, $6,725; 21. (10)David Starr, Chevrolet, 199, $5,725; 22. (27)Rob Morgan, Ford, 199, $5,725; 23. (25)Bryan Reffner, Chevrolet, 199, $5,550; 24. (14)Jamie McMurray, Ford, 197, $5,525; 25. (28)Ryan McGlynn, Chevrolet, 193, $5,500; 26. (30)Marty Houston, Chevrolet, 171, accident, $6,475; 27. (8)Rick Crawford, Ford, 82, accident, $6,425; 28. (21)Lonnie Rush, Ford, 70, accident, $5,425; 29. (31)Randy Briggs, Chevrolet, 37, engine, $5,425; 30. (18)Tim Steele, Ford, 27, accident, $5,425; 31. (32)Tom Hubert, Ford, 5, transmission, $5,425; 32. (29)Phil Bonifield, Chevrolet, 3, rear end, $5,425 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Point Standings (Unofficial) - 1. Jack Sprague 1,261; 2. Ron Hornaday 1,260; 3. Stacy Compton 1,239; 4. Andy Houston 1,135; 5. Greg Biffle 1,095; 6. Kevin Harvick 1,093; 7. Dennis Setzer 1,085; 8. Mike Wallace 1,064; 9. Kevin Cywinski 1,062; 10. Jimmy Hensley 1,050. End

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-TRUCK