FORT WORTH, Texas - Hendrick Motorsports driver Jack Sprague, who pilots the ...
FORT WORTH, Texas - Hendrick Motorsports driver Jack Sprague, who pilots the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet, finds himself leading the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship chase by 24 points. And while there's nothing too, too strange about that coincidence, the superstitious side of Sprague had cause to wonder last week at Louisville's airport when he deboarded his plane at Gate 24. Superstitions aside, here are some real items of interest heading into Friday's O'Reilly 300 (the 24th event of the season) at Texas Motor Speedway (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. EDT): * Sprague's 24-point lead over Greg Biffle (3,437-3,413) with two races remaining is the closest margin in the five-year history of the truck series. Last year at this point, Sprague held a 28-point advantage over Ron Hornaday.
* For the second time in as many trips this year, Sprague heads to Texas on a serious high. In June, the #24 Team GMAC driver was coming off back-to-back wins at Odessa and Bristol. Now, as he makes his way back to the Lone Star State, Sprague enjoys his first lead in the NCTS Championship standings since August.
* Sprague blazed the fastest single lap in series history at Texas Motor Speedway. His record-setting speed of 178.642 mph put Sprague on the Bud Pole for last year's Pronto Auto Parts 400k, a race he led on four occasions for 96 laps before finishing sixth. Sprague was fifth in the Pronto 400k this year.
* Sprague has carried the #24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet to 18 top-10 finishes this season, the most of any competitor on the NCTS circuit.
* Team GMAC received 500 Pole Night tickets from the Dallas Morning News and donated them to the Scottish Rites Hospital who distributed them to its patients and their families. As part of the promotion, Sprague will be signing autographs at the newpaper's midway tent on Friday from 3 to 3:30 p.m. and the first 100 people who subscribe to the Dallas Morning News at the track will receive a free Team GMAC hat.
Sprague's thoughts heading into Friday's event at Texas Motor Speedway:
"When I think about Texas, one word comes to mind: fast," Sprague said. "You can really get around that track, and to me, it's one of the nicest places we run. From a fan's perspective, it has to be a great race to watch because of the speeds we run and because there's plenty of room to pass. That makes for some side-by-side racing under the lights and it just doesn't get any better than that."
Sprague on superstition: "I don't think I'm the most superstitious guy in the garage area, but flying into Gate 24 in Louisville was kind of a weird deal. Who knows? Maybe we are meant to win this thing again, but I know one thing's for sure: you don't win championships by reading into things or by talking about it. They only come with a good deal of hard work and a little dose of luck. And fortunately for Team GMAC, we've had enough of both this year to put us in this position."
Jack Sprague's Career Record at Texas Motor Speedway
Year Event Start Finish Laps Money Won Status 1999 Pronto Auto Parts 400 6 5 179/179 $15,225 Running 1998 Pronto Auto Parts 400 1 6 167/167 16,050 Running 1997 Pronto Auto Parts 400 33 31 78/167 9,050 Engine