SPRAGUE GUNS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE VICTORY FRIDAY AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FORT WORTH, Tex. -- As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series fast approaches the halfway point of its 1999 season, ...
SPRAGUE GUNS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE VICTORY FRIDAY AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
FORT WORTH, Tex. -- As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series fast approaches the halfway point of its 1999 season, #24 Team GMAC driver Jack Sprague is obviously where he needs to be in his quest to win a second series championship: First place in the point standings.
After impressive back-to-back victories at I-70 Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway during the past two weeks, Sprague will attempt to become only the third driver in NCTS history to win three consecutive races during Friday's Pronto Auto Parts 400k (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. EDT).
"It's funny how things go over the course of a season," said Sprague, who widely credited the #24 Team GMAC crew for his most recent trip to victory lane. "We couldn't buy a bit of luck -- or a victory for that matter -- earlier this year. But I think we're on to something; Team GMAC has really honed in on the set-ups for this new Silverado. And I can't say enough about what the guys on our crew did to put that truck back together so I could win at Bristol."
Sprague was referring to the remarkable 1¼-hour reconstruction job turned in by the #24 Team GMAC crew following a crash in Friday's practice session at the "world's fastest half mile." Operating under strict time constraints, crew chief Dennis Connor's guys pulled an eleventh hour miracle to get the newly repaired #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet through technical inspection on time. The fact that it was on time was incredible in itself, but Sprague didn't know how remarkable until realizing his was the strongest truck in the field.
Sprague, who now owns victories on 11 different tracks, boosted his career win total to 15 on the heels of Saturday's strong showing. The 34-year-old Spring Lake, Mich., native now enjoys a 37-point edge over Stacy Compton and 72-point advantage over Ron Hornaday in the NCTS Championship standings. But, as all NASCAR followers know, the sport's fickle nature means fortunes can easily be reversed in a matter of moments on the track. And for this reason, Sprague understands the importance of maintaining an "inch-by-inch, life's a cinch" outlook.
"Even though it's our number one goal, it's way too early to talk about another championship," said Sprague, who'll be in search of his first win at Texas Motor Speedway despite leading every NCTS event there since the track opened in 1997. "As a driver, I need to focus on taking the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet to the front at Texas. Anything beyond that is really just a distraction. Once you've been through that championship run -- like we had in 1997 -- it makes it easier to appreciate the importance of running one race at a time."
#24 TEAM GMAC EXTRAS:
JACK BE NIMBLE, JACK BE QUICK... In 1998, #24 Team GMAC driver Jack Sprague blazed the fastest single lap in series history at Texas Motor Speedway. Sprague's record-setting speed of 178.642 m.p.h. put him on the Bud Pole for last year's Pronto Auto Parts 400k, a race he led on four occasions for 96 laps before finishing sixth. Sprague also established the benchmark for all-time fastest race-winning speed last season (141.844 m.p.h. at California Speedway).