SPRAGUE KICKS OFF SEASON WITH TOP-FIVE DAYTONA FINISH "Late Race Save Highlights Strong Run" DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 20, 2006) -- Three time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Jack Sprague and his Wyler Racing team put together a...
SPRAGUE KICKS OFF SEASON WITH TOP-FIVE DAYTONA FINISH
"Late Race Save Highlights Strong Run"
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 20, 2006) -- Three time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Jack Sprague and his Wyler Racing team put together a solid performance as they guided their No. 60 Con-Way Toyota Tundra to a strong fifth place finish in the series season opener at the Daytona International Speedway.
"Our Con-Way Tundra was awesome out there tonight and this Wyler team put me in a position to be there at the end," said Jack. "We battled a loose truck for the first half of the race but Tony Furr (crew chief) made the right adjustments to the truck and my pit crew was awesome as we gained track position every time we came down pit road. Of course I wanted to win the race and I had a good shot at it, but a top-five finish at Daytona along with taking our truck home without a scratch on it is a good start to the 2006 season."
Sprague started his Con-Way Toyota for the 100-lap event from the 7th position despite having a tire go down on him during his qualifying run. With a strong truck under him and many Con-Way employees in attendance, Sprague took the green flag and quickly moved inside the top-three. However, after a few laps he radioed back to his crew that his Con-Way truck was extremely loose. Jack would back off from the lead pack and ride until the first opportunity to come down pit road -- which would come on lap 28.
With a few adjustments made to his truck, Sprague returned to the track and quickly radioed back that the truck was a little better but he needed more. Another trip down pit road on lap 44 allowed for further adjustments which proved to be just what the No. 60 ride needed. Back to green flag racing, Sprague darted towards the front of the field and was in the second position within 10 laps. The Con-Way Toyota had actually become a little snug for the 3-time champion but that seemed a little to his liking.
A caution on lap 73 saw Jack come down pit road for the last time for four fresh tires and fuel. Another great stop by the Wyler Racing crew would return Sprague to the track in the fifth position. The field would go back to green flag conditions with just over 20 laps to go in the 250-mile event. Jack would once again show his strength by shooting out to the lead on lap 86 before falling into line in the third spot. With anxieties running high and the laps dwindling down, Sprague would make a strong move for the lead with four laps to go. He placed his No. 60 Con-Way machine down to the inside but only to have the air taken off his spoiler which resulted in Sprague hooking the apron -- what ensued was no question the best save of Speedweeks 2006.
"Well that was just something pretty darn exciting," stated Sprague. "I am not sure how I was able to save our truck -- I think I had some help from up above. I knew I had to be aggressive if I wanted to have a chance at the win and with all of those Con-Way folks in attendance supporting us I owed it to them to make a move for the win."
Sprague would save his machine and lose only a few spots on the field. As other trucks scrambled with Jack's save, a few trucks got together and brought out the fourth caution of the evening. With a green-white-checkered finish in store, the No. 60 Con-Way Toyota was presented with one last opportunity to make a run to the front. Unfortunately, a quick caution would end the drama of the season opening race -- and give Sprague a fifth place finish.
"We came down here to Daytona with a very strong truck and we leave with a very strong truck," summarized Sprague. At Daytona that is always a good feat. This is the best I've ever finished at Daytona and I will take it. We leave here getting the season off to a solid start and a little momentum heading into California next week."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series heads west to the California Speedway for Friday night's running of the California 200.