MILLINGTION, TN (June 15, 2001) - Prior to last year, Jack Sprague didn't think much of the .75-mile Memphis Motorsports Park oval. That all changed, however, when Sprague rolled to a thrilling victory in the Quaker State 200 NASCAR Craftsman...
MILLINGTION, TN (June 15, 2001) - Prior to last year, Jack Sprague didn't think much of the .75-mile Memphis Motorsports Park oval. That all changed, however, when Sprague rolled to a thrilling victory in the Quaker State 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the 'Home of the Blues' track.
"It's funny how things work out," said Sprague. "I've never had that much luck at Memphis and frankly, it's never been one of my favorite tracks. Then you win a race there and all of a sudden, it's one of your favorites."
Sprague will certainly be considered one of the favorites to repeat his Memphis 200 victory after steering his No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet to a win in the most recent event on the tour - the O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"Winning at Texas was a big relief," said Sprague, who had gone 22 races without a series victory. "At least now it will get the reporters off my back saying 'when are you going to win again?' Texas is one of the few places that I really wanted to win, it's one of the few places that we hadn't won."
Last year, Sprague faced a similar situation having won an NCTS event at Gateway International Raceway the week prior to the Memphis race. Like Texas, Sprague's Gateway win was a dominating performance. His victory at Memphis - a last-lap shootout with Greg Biffle - was a different story.
"We had a great truck at Memphis last year," stated Sprague. "We qualified well and hung near the front of the pack all day long. At the finish, we were able to race Greg for the win and beat him to the checkered flag. It was awesome to race down to the wire like that and get the victory. The margin of victory was something like a tenth of a second (0.193-seconds).
It was easily one of the most exciting races of the year in the Truck Series, not only for us, but for the fans too."
Sprague knows that to repeat his Memphis victory, his NetZero Platinum Chevy Silverado will have to be tuned to perfection. Additionally, having Lady Luck along for the ride wouldn't be all that bad either.
"Memphis is a tough place to get around," said Sprague. "To win there, you have to have a good truck and some good luck. We had that there last year - a truck good enough to win and a late caution to close us up and allow us to race Greg for the win. Hopefully, we can make it two in a row at Memphis this year. Then it would really be one of my favorite race tracks."
Sprague's win at Texas boosted the Spring Lake, MI driver to third in the NCTS season standings, just 71 markers out of first place. The 1997 and 1999 Series champion will take the green flag in this year's Memphis 200 Saturday, June 23 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 10th event of 24 on the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule will be telecast live on ESPN and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio.