Sprague Makes Strong Bid For Second Straight Win "Three Wide Encounter Late In Race Turns Costly" HAMPTON, GEORGIA (October 30, 2006) - Coming off their second win of the season at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, Jack Sprague and the No.
Sprague Makes Strong Bid For Second Straight Win
"Three Wide Encounter Late In Race Turns Costly"
HAMPTON, GEORGIA (October 30, 2006) - Coming off their second win of the season at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, Jack Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight team were hoping that their magic would hold out for another strong finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Easy Care Service Vehicle Contracts 200.
After all, Sprague and the No. 60 Toyota had dominated the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta last fall only to finish fourth.
"Atlanta owes me," Sprague said before the race. "Our trucks have been right on the money the past few weeks, and I think that this week could be another good one for this Wyler Racing team."
Starting 21st, Sprague would have his work cut out for him. But with Atlanta being one of the fastest tracks on the circuit and a track that was conducive to four-wide racing, Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight team were up to the challenge.
At the drop of the green flag, Sprague lost a couple quick positions and told the team that he was too loose off. So when an early caution came out at Lap three, Tony Furr told his driver to bring the truck down pit road.
The Con-way Freight pit crew made several adjustments to help tighten up the truck and improve its handling. After inserting a spring rubber in the right front, and making a track bar adjustment and fuel, the Wyler Racing pit crew sent Sprague back on the track in 31st place.
When the race restarted on Lap six, Sprague went to work to make up ground on the field. By Lap 12, when the second caution of the day waved, Sprague had gained five positions and was in 26th place.
Under the caution period, Sprague told his team the No. 60 truck was now a little tight off, however he was going to work with it. Because the No. 60 was under a different pitting sequence than many of his competitors, Sprague restarted in 18th place on Lap 18.
Over the course of a long green flag run, Sprague was able to pick up eight spots and move into 10th place. Under the caution at Lap 40, Sprague said the truck was now a little loose off and pushing as he got into the corners.
Sprague brought the Con-way Freight Toyota to the attention of his pit crew for a small air pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel. Quick work in the pits helped Sprague gain five spots, and he returned to the track in fifth place for the restart on Lap 47.
The three time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion held his position in the top five over the course of the next few laps. As the laps ticked off the board, Sprague told his crew that the truck was a little snug especially in turns one and two -- despite being the fastest truck on the race track.
When the caution flag waved at Lap 77, Sprague came down pit road for help with his tight handling condition. The pit crew went to work -- making an air pressure adjustment, a track bar adjustment, and adding four tires and fuel. Again, the Con-way pit crew made fast work in the pits, which helped Sprague to return to the race track as the leader with less than 50 laps remaining.
Sprague raced side-by-side with rookie Erik Darnell and driver David Reutimann, switching spots one, two and three, over the course of the next several laps. But at Lap 101, Sprague would lose his battle for the lead.
As Sprague, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and a throng of other trucks were mixing it up for the top spot, Sprague came up on the losing end of a three wide battle. Sprague got loose in the battle and slapped the wall. The contact caused Sprague to fall back to eighth spot.
Despite the damage to the race truck and a loose handling condition, Sprague remained on the track for the final 29 laps of the race. Sprague brought home the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota home in 10th spot -- the team's 11th top-10 of the year.
"When the No. 18 got on the outside of us, it sucked me around," Sprague said. "I was in the middle of a three wide group, and I just got loose. Luckily, I was able to save it. We hit the wall with our right side, but it didn't really hurt the truck.
"We're really fortunate that the damage wasn't worse than it was and that we were able to finish the race with a good top-10. Monkey was sitting on top of the pit box again this weekend, so maybe that it our good luck charm."
Following the race at Atlanta, Sprague sits eighth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings. Sprague is 418 points behind leader Todd Bodine and 139 points outside of the top five.
Next week, Sprague and the Con-way Freight team head to Texas Motor Speedway for the Silverado 350K on Friday, Nov. 3 at 9:05 p.m. ET. The race can be seen on SPEED and heard on MRN and XM Satellite Radio.
-credit: wyler racing