Sprague, NetZero Chevy take back NBS points lead at New Hampshire. LOUDON, NH (May 11, 2002) - Jack Sprague entered the Busch 200 with several questions about his No. 24 NetZero and managed to answer all of them with a strong third-place finish...
Sprague, NetZero Chevy take back NBS points lead at New Hampshire.
LOUDON, NH (May 11, 2002) - Jack Sprague entered the Busch 200 with several questions about his No. 24 NetZero and managed to answer all of them with a strong third-place finish in the NASCAR Busch Series event at New Hampshire International Speedway. The solid effort, Sprague's eighth Top-10 performance in 11 NBS races this season, pushed him back to the top of the division point standings.
"I'm surprised and very happy with the way it all turned out," said Sprague. "Considering how our final practice session went and all the changes the guys made to the car before the race, we really didn't know what we were going to have today. Dennis Connor (Sprague's crew chief) and I talked last night about what we were going to do and I basically told him he better go to sleep and dream something up that would work and he must have. We changed 23 things on the car and it was the best it had been after struggling all weekend with it. We brought a brand new car here that wasn't that great at first, but we wound up making it a lot better and getting a great finish out of it."
Sprague opened the weekend by posting the 12th quickest time in qualifying rolling to a lap of 127.491 miles per hour on the tricky one-mile NHIS oval. While the run was a solid effort, Sprague was disappointed with the qualifying run after his morning practice session.
"I definitely wasn't happy with starting 12th," said Sprague who won last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at New Hampshire. "I thought we had a shot at the pole or at least close to it. The track just got real slippery for everyone during qualifying. It was the nightmare trying to figure out what to do for the race, but things worked out for us in the end."
Sprague remained just outside the Top-10 early in the 200-lap event but worked his way into contention before pitting for four fresh tires and chassis adjustments during the second caution period of the day on Lap 78.
There, Sprague's NetZero pit crew ripped off a 15.97-second pit stop boosting him to fourth-place in the running order on the restart.
"My NetZero Chevy was extremely loose at the beginning of the race, but the car got better on longer runs," said Sprague. I didn't want any cautions to come out, but when they did, the guys in the pits did a great job to help me pick up spots on the racetrack."
After his final pit stop on Lap 136, Sprague waged a spirited battle over the final 60 circuits eventually slipping by Shane Hmiel for third in the late going. The solid run was Sprague's fourth Top-5 finish of the season and catapulted him back into the series' points lead.
Sprague earned $26,190 for the top effort and his 1613 points are 64 markers better than Jason Keller, runner-up in the NBS season championship chase.
Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be the Stacker 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at Nazareth Speedway. The event will take the green flag Sunday, May 19 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 12th of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season will be telecast live on FX. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live worldwide on more than 400 stations including the American Armed Forces Network.