FONTANA, Calif. - Jack Sprague has one chance left this season to take his ...
FONTANA, Calif. - Jack Sprague has one chance left this season to take his #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet to Victory Lane for a fourth time in 2000 - and for a record third-straight time at California Speedway. That opportunity comes during Saturday's Motorola 200 (ESPN2: 4 p.m. EDT) ojust utside Los Angeles. Noteworthy items include:
¨ History is on Sprague's side when it comes to "three-peating." The 36-year-old Spring Lake, Mich., native won here last year in dramatic fashion to claim his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title (overcoming a 21-point deficit in the process). ¨ Sprague also triumphed here in '98 by defeating then-Winston Cup regular Ernie Irvan by.364 seconds in a stirring stretch duel over the two-mile Fontana track. ¨ The #24 Team GMAC driver will try to match his own series record for most consecutive wins (three) at one venue, something he can accomplish Saturday at California Speedway; something he's already done at Phoenix International Raceway (1996-97); something no other NCTS competitor has ever done before. ¨ Sprague established the standard for the fastest race in NCTS history with an average winning speed of 141.844 mph in the '98 event at California Speedway. ¨ Sprague's average finish at California Speedway is 2.67 (see overall record below). Additionally, the Hendrick Motorsports driver is the only NCTS competitor to lead all three prior California events and his 33 laps led are also the most by any competitor in Saturday's field. ¨ Just by virtue of starting Saturday, Sprague will vault past the $100,000 earnings mark at California Speedway (the sixth track where he's won six figures or more!). ¨ Only one Bud Pole winner has gone on to victory in the final race of any given NCTS season. That was Sprague, who paved his way from the point to Victory Lane at Las Vegas back in 1998. ¨ GMAC rookie driver Ricky Hendrick was released from Pinehurst's Moore Regional Hospital Saturday evening after being diagnosed with a mild concussion stemming from a late-race accident in the Sam's Club 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. ¨ Hendrick, 20, has enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign in limited Busch Grand National and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. In addition to notching his first BGN top-five finish at Nashville in April (5th place), he's also been impressive in the Craftsman Truck Series. Hendrick's recorded four top-10 finishes in six starts while competing in the #17 GMAC Chevrolet Silverado including a 6th-place finish in his NCTS debut May 21 at Pikes Peak. ¨ As a precautionary measure, Hendrick will not compete in Saturday's Motorola 200 at California Speedway.
SPRAGUE'S THOUGHTS HEADING INTO SATURDAY'S EVENT AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY:
"I feel like a victory at California would be the perfect way to ease into the off-season," Sprague said. "But, knowing me, I'd want to be out running next week for another win."
Added Sprague, "When you're competitive, it's difficult to accept losing in any way. I'll tell you what though: When you look at the big picture and what we've done here at Hendrick Motorsports over the past five years, it makes you feel pretty good. What would make me feel even better in the short term is a third straight victory at California. That's the plan for Team GMAC on Saturday."