Sprague, NetZero Platinum Chevy Gunning For Second RIR Victory, Third NCTS Title RICHMOND, VA (August 31, 2001) - Go fast, turn left. Jack Sprague has made a career out of following that mantra, a quest that has seen the driver of the No. 24...
Sprague, NetZero Platinum Chevy Gunning For Second RIR Victory, Third NCTS Title
RICHMOND, VA (August 31, 2001) - Go fast, turn left.
Jack Sprague has made a career out of following that mantra, a quest that has seen the driver of the No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet Silverado rack up a host of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series records. While Sprague will be looking to win the next race on the 2001 tour, the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway, his sights will be set on a much bigger goal - winning a record third NCTS season championship.
"Winning the championship is what this team has been about all season, every season," said Sprague, the 1997 and 1999 NCTS titlest. "We've had an up and down year and we're still only 20 points out of the lead with six races to go. We want that third title, that's something no one else has done in the Truck Series. We've got two, Ron Hornaday has two. It's time to break the tie."
It would be hard to bet against Sprague given the stretch run will see the Spring Lake, MI native visit some of his favorite racetracks. Of the six events remaining, Sprague has previously won at four of venues that comprise his drive to the title.
"We've had a lot of success at those tracks over the years," said Sprague. "We won at Richmond in 1998 and at Texas earlier this year. I'm thrilled to be going back to Las Vegas. It's one of my favorite tracks and we've won there two times. I got my first career Truck Series win at Phoenix (1996 Desert Star Classic) and have won there a total of three times. Those are all great tracks for us."
Sprague hopes to get a running start on a third crown in this year's Kroger 200 at Richmond. The 37-year-old driver lists the .75-mile Richmond oval as one of his favorite tracks, posting second (1997) and fifth-place (1999) finishes there in addition to his 1998 victory.
"We probably should have won a couple more races at Richmond," said Sprague, the only driver to compete in all 164 events in the history of the Craftsman Truck Series. "We should have won the 1997 race and we had the 1996 race all locked up until we got wrecked. Richmond has always been a good track for us. I expect it will be that way for us this year too."
In last year's Kroger 200, Sprague qualified an uncharacteristic 17th and charged through the field to finish sixth. Given Sprague has not qualified out of the Top-3 in the last 10 NCTS events (four poles and a 2.00 qualifying average over that span), expect him to start much closer to the front in this year's Kroger 200 clash.
"This Hendrick Motorsports team has really had the NetZero Platinum Silverado dialed in for qualifying this season," said Sprague, who has five poles this year equaling his single season-best set in 1997. "That's all about preparation. The guys at the shop have done an outstanding job of getting these trucks ready before we ever hit the racetrack. We haven't had a single race this season where we've backed the truck off the transporter and have been out to lunch. We've been close every time and our qualifying results prove that."
While qualifying will be a priority for Sprague at Richmond, he leaves no doubt where his focus will be once the green flag drops on the Kroger 200.
"We'll be looking to be at the front and dominate the race," Sprague stated. "We want to win everything - practice, qualifying, lead the most laps and win the race. That's our goal every week. It will be the same at Richmond. If we can do that, the championship deal will take care of itself. Obviously, our biggest goal is the championship. It would be great to win that third title, give NetZero a championship in their first year in the series, and add to the collection of championships at Hendrick Motorsports. That's what we're shooting for."
The Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway will take the green flag Thursday, September 6, at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 19th of 24 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events this season will be telecast live on ESPN2 and will be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.
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