Bristol: Jack Sprague preview

Sprague depends on brother for more than just moral support. CONCORD, NC (March 18, 2003) - Racing families are nothing new to NASCAR with names like Burton, Labonte, Earnhardt, Wallace and these days, even the Parrott brothers, known by fans...

Sprague depends on brother for more than just moral support.

CONCORD, NC (March 18, 2003) - Racing families are nothing new to NASCAR with names like Burton, Labonte, Earnhardt, Wallace and these days, even the Parrott brothers, known by fans far and wide. The NetZero Racing team, new to Winston Cup this season after several years in the Busch and Truck Series, has its own sibling combo with Jack Sprague, driver of the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac Grand Prix, and his brother, spotter Jason Pasch, carrying their family colors into battle.

Sprague, a long-time NASCAR veteran, but a Winston Cup rookie this season, depends on Pasch both on and off the track. Pasch is an expert fabricator Haas CNC Racing in Harrisburg, NC during the week before keeping a sharp lookout from the spotter's stand on race weekends. Pasch, who bears an unmistakable resemblance to Sprague, has a tough job - to remain focused on the race at hand - while at the same time looking out for the safety and best interest of his brother and the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac Grand Prix.

Sprague, who many years ago took his stepfather's last name, is seven years older that Pasch and the two brothers are as close as can be. When Sprague packed up his belongings and headed to North Carolina after several successful years running street stocks in Michigan, Pasch followed in 1990 after graduation from high school. He has been Sprague's full-time spotter since 1994, guiding his brother to three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titles and a win and a fifth-place finish in the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series final standings.

"Like most spotters, I can tell how the car is handling every lap," says Pasch. "I can see where the NetZero Pontiac is good, and where we are getting beat. Spotting is not just about looking in front of the car for problems. It's also about knowing what your driver needs out there on the racetrack and effective communication, and in that respect maybe I have a little bit of an advantage over most."

While Sprague and Pasch are as tight as brothers can be, there's also room for 'discussion' when something doesn't go right on the racetrack.

"It doesn't happen very often, but things can get pretty heated out there sometimes," says Sprague. "No matter what might be said or done, he's always going to be my brother. We have to get over any hard feelings pretty quick. We don't just see each other on Sunday, you know?"

"It's a little more comforting for me to know Jason is up there," commented Sprague's wife, Rhonda. "I know he wants Jack to be as successful as possible each week and at the same time I also know he would never put his safety in jeopardy. They trust each other completely, and conviction like that is hard to find."

This weekend, the pair will head to Bristol, TN for the first Winston Cup short-track race of the season. Nowhere on the schedule, except maybe on the restrictor plate racetracks of Talladega and Daytona, does the interaction between a driver and spotter face a stiffer test . "I've been to Bristol and raced all day and had the car come out of there without a scratch,' said Sprague. "But, I've also been through races where the car looks like it just spent a couple of hours inside a pinball machine. There's rarely a time at Bristol when you don't have a car inside or outside of you. It's nerve-racking, really, and you have to depend on your spotter more than ever. I know that Jason is looking ahead of the NetZero Pontiac and behind and around it too. Things happen pretty quick at Bristol and its good to know its Jason up there helping me out."

Sprague, Pasch and the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac will take the green flag in the Food City 500 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Sunday, March 23. The event will be telecast live by FOX and broadcast as it happens on PRN Radio.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jack Sprague