HUNTERSVILLE, NC (June 2, 2003) - A promising run at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Jack Sprague and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team quickly turned into bitter disappointment when, on Lap 211 of the 400-lap event, Sprague lost...
HUNTERSVILLE, NC (June 2, 2003) - A promising run at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Jack Sprague and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team quickly turned into bitter disappointment when, on Lap 211 of the 400-lap event, Sprague lost control of the No. 0 entry and smacked the frontstretch wall. The contact caused terminal damage to the machine, cutting the event short for the team and resulting in a 41st-place finish in the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 Sunday.
"The NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac was awesome," said Sprague following the incident. "It was a little bit tight in the middle and off [the corner], and they loosened me up on that last pit stop. I went into Turn 3 outside of Matt [Kenseth] and behind Jeff [Gordon]. I saw Matt wiggle underneath me and it scared me a little bit, so I jerked right and jerked left to move up and give him some room. When I did that, I lost traction with my own car and just lost it. One of these days we're going to put it all together."
After posting quick times in the first practice session Friday, Sprague took to the track to post his qualifying run and got a quick reminder of just how hard the outside wall at Dover can be. The NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac sustained minor damage as Sprague brushed the outside wall during his first lap, resulting in a provisional starting spot for the race. The crew spent Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning repairing the cosmetic damage and returning the car to its original state. Sprague was once again quick in the final practice session and was set to start the event in 41st place.
Clouds and rain threatened the Dover area Sunday, but the race began as scheduled. Two laps into the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 Sprague saw trouble brewing ahead and without any place to go to avoid the incident, made light contact with another vehicle. Following several pit stops made to repair front-end damage and several caution laps due to rain, Sprague restarted the event in the 39th spot. Though he encountered a tight-handling racecar in the early stages of the race, Sprague was able to steadily move through the field. By Lap 100, the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac Grand Prix had broken into the Top 20 and was running some of the quickest times of the field.
Sprague continued to work his way through traffic and made his way into the Top-10 by the midway point of the 400-lap race. Additional help from the NetZero pit crew came in the form of lightning fast pit stops every time Sprague drove down pit lane for service. A caution lap on Lap 202 and an ensuing pit stop on Lap 204, during which Sprague picked up two positions on pit road, enabled him to line up in seventh place for a restart on lap 208. Unfortunately, several laps later, Sprague lost control of his Pontiac on the frontstretch and made heavy contact with the wall. Though the crew spent over 100 laps in the garage area making repairs to the front, back and right side of the car, Sprague was unable to safely return to the track. The team was credited with 41st place.
Following a two-day test at Michigan International Speedway this week, the NetZero Racing team will travel to Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for the running of the Pocono 500. Qualifying for the event will take place Friday, June 6, with the drop of the green flag scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on FX and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.