Jack Sprague claimed Chevrolet's 70th all-time pole position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series yesterday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but fell one position short of capturing Chevrolet's 88th victory, his fifth of the year and 24th of his...
Jack Sprague claimed Chevrolet's 70th all-time pole position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series yesterday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but fell one position short of capturing Chevrolet's 88th victory, his fifth of the year and 24th of his career by placing second behind Ted Musgrave's Dodge. Sprague dominated 104 of the 146 laps on the 1.5-mile circuit just north of the Las Vegas Strip, but a decision to not pit with some of the leaders on the final of four caution-flag periods may have cost him the race.
Although Musgrave also didn't pit on lap 126 when Joe Ruttman's spin brought out the caution, a fresh set of left-side tires for Sprague might have made the difference, as Musgrave sailed by him on lap 130 after the restart. Sprague pulled out all the stops in pursuit of Musgrave, the pair driving away from the field, but the two-time series champion had to settle for second, .906 of a second behind the Dodge driver.
Sprague extended his points lead in the championship today and now holds a 97-point margin over Joe Ruttman (who finished eighth), with two races left.
Rookie Travis Kvapil, alone in third for the final 10 laps, came in five seconds behind Musgrave, expanding his lead in the rookie-of-the-year points chase over Ricky Hendrick, who finished sixth, to 15 points.
Five Silverados finished in the top 10, including David Starr, in seventh, and Dennis Setzer, in 10th.
There were 10 lead changes among six drivers, including one lap led by Kvapil, for a total of 105 laps led by a Silverado.
JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 24 NETZERO SILVERADO (second): "It's really disgusting to sit here and know we didn't win this race. We definitely had their butts kicked all day. You got to take a different frame of mind when you're in a championship battle. That's the situation we're in. We're looking at the big picture. We gained points on the 18 (Joe Ruttman) and the 2 (Scott Riggs). We did what we had to do, but we're still a little bit disappointed because we killed them all day and we didn't win the race. We should have gotten left-side tires on that last caution. The rest of the leaders did and I wound up with 75 laps on the left-side tires. The truck just got too tight and wouldn't turn in the center of the corner. That's one of those calls that you have to make when you are leading. If we pit, we're back in 10th place. If it was the beginning of the year and you're trying to win the race, you pit in that situation and get tires. Bottom line is I'm trying to win this championship and so is this NetZero Silverado team."
TRAVIS KVAPIL, NO. 60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO: "We were not very good through practice and qualifying. We kind of reviewed the notes from Kansas City and Nashville, similar tracks to here. Through the combinations of those two tracks we were able to set up the Silverado. We were really good at the start of the race. I think more than anything we got a little greedy and we just tried to get the chassis real good and try to go for the win and the truck just got really way too loose. We were able to pit again and get the Silverado back to where we started the race with the same tire pressures and everything. The truck came right back. We were able to come back from 9th or 10th on the restart and drive all the way up to third."
ON THE POINTS CHASE: "Again, another good day. We gained a little bit more on Ricky (in rookie points). There's only two races remaining, we need to keep as much of a lead as we can. You don't know what will happen in the last couple of races. We lost a few points to Ted (Musgrave) in the championship, but we're still leading the rookie points and the Like a Rock standings ($50,000 from Chevrolet for completing the most laps). We're still real good in championship points also."
RICKY HENDRICK, NO. 17 GMAC SILVERADO (sixth): ON RACING THREE-WIDE IN TRAFFIC: "It was fun. I had to run high all day. Some of the trucks that were faster could run the low line. Towards the end (Rick) Crawford and I had to race each other and all of a sudden he ran the high line. There was nothing I could do. I tried to go low, I couldn't go low all day. I knew it was going to be a battle. Racing him is a battle. He doesn't give you a whole lot. I got inside of him once, then he got me back. That's the way it fell today. We will just head on to Phoenix and see if we can't be a little better there."
ON THE ROOKIE POINTS CHASE: "Travis from this point on has pretty much won the rookie battle. I think the only way we could win it now is if he blows up, and he's not likely to do that as he hasn't done that all year. If he gets some of the luck we've had this year, then maybe we have a shot. We made too many mistakes. If you take out the mistakes we would be leading it about as much as he is. It's one of those deals, it's part of racing. I'm happy for him, he's a great driver and he deserves it. We just missed it. We could never figure out the chassis to get it to turn down. I don't think we still know how to make it turn down. This is where experience plays a part. This is this team's first full season. We're the only ones in the top 10 with a rookie driver and a rookie team. It makes it a lot easier when you have been here and with a crew that's raced here. We're trying to groom ourselves and make ourselves a better team race by race for the future."
DAVID STARR, NO. 3 CHASCO CONTRACTING SILVERADO (seventh): "It was fun. Anytime you come to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it's fun. I just love to race. There was a lot of traffic in front of us, but racing is fun. I really enjoyed it. Our Chasco Contracting Silverado was real tight today, off corner 2 and especially off 4. But we adjusted on it and just couldn't get it where it would turn off the corners. We made the best of what we had. it was fun, nobody got hurt, no serious wrecks. It was a good day for Team Texas Motorsports. The other trucks in front of me were having a hard time too. I was trying to pass them and I would bring the Silverado down low in the corners, but it would kill the momentum. It would take the push out of it, but it would kill the speed off the corners and I couldn't pass them. We tried everything we could, but we came up short. The Silverado was in one piece, we couldn't be happier. Our goal is to win a race. We will just keep trying to win. We will try to keep running in the top five and one of these weeks we will get a win; that's one of our goals."