CLERMONT, IN (August 4, 2002) The last time Jack Sprague raced at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the veteran driver took a trip to Victory Lane in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. With that kind of winning experience on his resume, you can ...
CLERMONT, IN (August 4, 2002) The last time Jack Sprague raced at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the veteran driver took a trip to Victory Lane in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. With that kind of winning experience on his resume, you can understand why the driver of the NetZero Chevrolet was disappointed with a 17th-place finish in the Kroger 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at IRP Saturday night.
"I am sick of these bad finishes lately," said Sprague, who owns two wins and a pair of runner-up Truck Series finishes at the track "Tonight's finish totally blind-sided us. We've done so well here in the past that we really believed we were going to have a car that could win. Thank goodness for our fourth-place finish at Gateway a few weeks back because that's the only decent finish we've had for quite a while. I don't even know what to say because I know I'm not the only one upset by it. We really believed we were going to have a shot at this race. The car was great in practice, but qualified and raced horribly. It was tight all night and nothing seemed to play into our hands."
Sprague's day was action-packed as he practiced his NetZero Chevy before catching a short flight to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in the final IROC Series race of the season. After finishing sixth and earning his fourth Top-10 finish in as many event IROC events this season, Sprague was transported back to IRP for qualifying. That's where things started to go downhill as the Spring Lake, MI native turned in a speed of 107.815 (22.906 mph) putting him 14th on the starting grid.
Sprague battled an ill-handling car from the start of the 200-lap event. On three separate occasions, he guided his NetZero Chevy into pits where his Hendrick Motorsports team made wholesale chassis changes in an effort to fix the problem. Unfortunately, the adjustments never fully corrected the problem and Sprague found himself fighting to stay on the lead lap with just 50 circuits remaining. Eventually he fell a lap down and soldiered to the 17th-place finish. Sprague earned $14,030 in prize money and now has 2927 points, 287 markers behind the front-running Greg Biffle in the 2002 NBS championship chase.
"I've always loved racing at IRP and still do," said Sprague. "It's just been so frustrating these last few weeks. We've got a weekend off next week. Maybe that will help. My guys have been working so hard with these cars and with our building and testing of the Winston Cup cars they've been putting in a lot of time. Maybe this break will be a positive for this team and go to Michigan rejuvenated and get back on the right foot."
Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be back in action in the Cabela's 250 at Michigan International Speedway Saturday, August 17 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on TNT. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live worldwide on more than 400 stations including the American Armed Forces Network.