MILLINGTION, TN (June 23, 2001) - Jack Sprague turned in the fastest practice times, qualified on the pole, and led more laps than any other in the Memphis 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The only thing he didn't do is win. Sprague's...
MILLINGTION, TN (June 23, 2001) - Jack Sprague turned in the fastest practice times, qualified on the pole, and led more laps than any other in the Memphis 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The only thing he didn't do is win.
Sprague's chances of winning came to a grinding halt on Lap 138 when an oil line failure sent his No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet Silverado hard into the Turn 3 wall. The crash destroyed both the truck and Sprague's chances of a second-straight NCTS win at the Memphis oval.
"Oil got on the rear tires and around she went," said Sprague, who was officially credited with 23rd in the final running order. "I tried to catch it but couldn't and ended up in the fence. That pretty much ruined our day. I'm really disappointed."
Sprague set an early tone for the weekend posting the fastest speed in Friday's two-hour practice session. The Spring Lake, MI driver then backed it up by winning his second pole position of the season with a 23.104 second (116.863 miles per hour) tour of the Memphis track. The top qualifying effort was the 15th pole of Sprague's Truck Series career tying him with Mike Skinner and Joe Ruttman for first all-time in that category.
At the drop of the green, Sprague's silver and blue NetZero Chevy was in a class by itself as he roared away to a 2.5-second lead after just 10 circuits. Sprague continued to pace the action until Lap 31 when he pitted for left-side tires and fuel during the first caution of the day.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver wasted little time getting back to the front reassuming the lead on Lap 42. He surrendered the lead to Greg Baffle for a handful of circuits before again dominating the action from Laps 62-103 when he again headed to pit road for service.
"The NetZero Platinum Chevrolet was awesome today," said Sprague. "We had a great shot at winning. I'm pretty sure we led the most laps. It just wasn't meant to be I guess."
Back under green at Lap 108, Sprague methodically moved back toward the front blasting past Baffle for second on the 137th circuit. With leader Dennis Seltzer in his sights, Sprague saw his bid for another Memphis victory end with a thud one lap later when the mechanical failure derailed the stellar performance.
"Dennis was strong, but we were at least a tenth of a second quicker," said Sprague, who had also won the most recent event on the NCTS tour, the O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway June 8. "."
The 23rd-place finish earned Sprague $12,190 in prize money. He also picked up 94 championship points, including 10 bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps in the contest. The 1997 and 1999 NCTS champion, Sprague now sits third in the points chase, 142 markers out of the top spot.
Next up for Sprague and his NetZero Platinum Chevrolet will be the GNC Live Well 200 at the famed Milwaukee Mile. The 200-lap event on the Wisconsin State Fair Park oval will take the green flag 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Saturday, June 30, and will be telecast live on ESPN. The event will also be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.