Atlanta: Jack Sprague race report

Sprague, NetZero Pontiac run into misfortune in Atlanta. HAMPTON, GA (March 10, 2003) - A hole in the radiator of the NetZero Pontiac during the closing stages of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 abruptly ended driver Jack Sprague's run resulting in...

Sprague, NetZero Pontiac run into misfortune in Atlanta.

HAMPTON, GA (March 10, 2003) - A hole in the radiator of the NetZero Pontiac during the closing stages of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 abruptly ended driver Jack Sprague's run resulting in a 34th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday.

"The NetZero Pontiac was good most of the day," said Sprague. "The car started out loose and we made a bunch of adjustments that ultimately made us pretty tight during the last half of the race. The guys noticed a hole in the radiator during the last pit stop and did a good job of getting it changed without losing too many laps. After a lap back out on the track though, I knew we had bigger problems in the engine. Our day was over at that point."

Sprague started the NASCAR Winston Cup event in the 43rd spot after posting a speed of 185.897 mph during qualifying Friday. In the early going Sunday, Sprague battled handling problems with his black, red and white NetZero Pontiac. Crew chief Dennis Conner and the NetZero team made changes to the car, including track bar, air pressure and spring rubber adjustments, over several pit stops allowing Sprague to slowly move up the leaderboard. Sprague steered down pit road on Lap 268 for a scheduled routine stop when the crew noticed damage to the radiator. Sprague was forced to take the NetZero Pontiac to the garage area, where the team quickly went to work to replace the damaged part. Able to make the change in just over 10 laps, Sprague made his way back out to the track. It took only one lap, however, before Sprague knew his problems were terminal.

"It's disappointing, but things like this happen," noted Sprague. "The good news is we were able to make adjustments to the car that made a difference, which means we're headed in the right direction. I definitely think we're gaining on it."

Sprague, who holds down third place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle, and his NetZero Pontiac team will next travel to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 Sunday, March 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The fifth NASCAR Winston Cup event of the season will be telecast live on FOX and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.

-gh-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jack Sprague