NASHVILLE, Tenn. - ...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - #24 Team GMAC driver Jack Sprague gained quite a reputation for his prowess on superspeedways early in his career. It wasn't until August of 1997, a year that saw Sprague capture his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship by the largest margin (232 points) in series history, that "Mile Track Jack" finally won on a short track.
That milestone victory came at .596-mile Nashville Speedway USA, the site of Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 250 (ESPN, 8 p.m. EDT). A slew of short-track conquests followed for the driver of the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet. Other items to consider:
Sprague is coming off a victory-caliber performance at Indianapolis Raceway Park, where a flat tire in the waning laps of the Aug. 3 event left him in 17th place after he challenged for the win. The #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet driver led his 3,500th career lap in the Indy race. Sprague's led 14.1% of the 24,759 laps that he's completed in 140 career starts dating back to 1995. That's second only to Ron Hornaday (22.2%). The 36-year-old Michigan native has registered eight of his 19 career wins on short tracks including victories at Evergreen and Memphis this season. In 1997, when he picked up his first short strip win at Nashville, Sprague led the series in short track wins that season with three. Nashville Speedway is one of 13 tracks that Sprague has won on during his accomplishment-laden career. Sprague, who established and still holds the race record for the Federated Auto Parts 250 (79.226 mph; 1 hr. 55 min. 33 sec.; Aug. 16, 1997), also won the pole here in '96.
Sprague's thoughts heading into Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 250: "You always want to be known as a complete driver, someone who can win on any track regardless of the size, surface or whatever. And the win at Nashville helped me really believe that I was that type of driver. Since then, many of our wins have come on short tracks. So yeah, Nashville is a special place to me."
Ricky Hendrick will also compete in this Saturday's NCTS event at Nashville Speedway USA, the site of his first-ever top-five finish in Busch Series competition. On April 8, Hendrick carried the #24 GMAC Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a fifth-place finish in the BellSouth Mobility 320. This time around, the 20-year-old talent from Charlotte, N.C., will be piloting the #17 GMAC Chevrolet Silverado. <pre> Nashville Speedway USA (0.596 miles) Year Event Start Finish Laps Money Won Status 1999 Federated Auto Parts 250 8 5 250/250 $12,795 Running 1998 Federated Auto Parts 250 5 11 250/250 7,895 Running 1997 Federated Auto Parts 250 3 1 256/256 43,275 Running 1996 Federated Auto Parts 250 1 3 255/255 15,400 Running