Jack Sprague Texas II race report

FORT WORTH, TX (October 5, 2001) - If Jack Sprague and his NetZero Chevrolet should win the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, he can point to the Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway as a key moment in the title run. ...

FORT WORTH, TX (October 5, 2001) - If Jack Sprague and his NetZero Chevrolet should win the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, he can point to the Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway as a key moment in the title run. Sprague battled an ill-handling truck throughout most of the race while Scott Riggs, one of his chief rivals in the championship chase, ran away with the event. Just six laps from the finish, however, Rigs suffered a flat tire derailing what was a sure victory. Sprague, meanwhile, bulldogged his way past his problems to finish third. "He certainly had our butts kicked tonight," said Sprague of Riggs. "We've had races this year where we should have won and didn't too. It was a lucky night for us, so we'll just take it and go on to the next race at Las Vegas." Sprague started the 219-mile event from the ninth position after touring the Texas oval in a time of 30.449 seconds (177.336 miles per hour). The qualifying effort was sub par by Sprague's recent standards and marked the first time in 12 races that he qualified outside the Top-3. Over that span, Sprague captured five poles and posted a 1.81 qualifying average. Sprague's uncharacteristic performance continued at the at the drop of the green flag as the Spring Lake, MI driver battled an "evil" truck that wanted to spin out from under him at any second. "This is the same truck we won with here in June, but it was way out to lunch when we started the race tonight," said Sprague. "It was miserably loose and I could hardly drive the thing. I could hardly get it into the corner without spinning it out. I felt like I was going to wreck the thing almost any minute, so I just found a spot and rode there for most of the race. I was just hanging on." Sprague pitted twice in the early going, first taking on right-side tires on Lap 44 and lefts at Lap 52. In each instance, crew chief Dennis Connor made wholesale chassis changes in an effort to get Sprague's NetZero mount in top racing trim. "Dennis made some good calls and the guys worked their tails off to make the truck better," said Sprague. "I did what I had to do to get to the next pit stop and some adjustments. We made a lot of changes and by the end of the race, I wasn't loose going into the corner at all. We certainly didn't have a third-place truck. I would have been ecstatic with a fifth-place finish. We just got lucky tonight." That luck came in the form of a flat right-front tire on Riggs' truck in the final laps. Instead of seeing his slim points lead cut in half, Sprague gained 31 points on Riggs, who eventually finished 13th. Sprague now leads Riggs by 88 markers while Joe Ruttman, ninth at Texas, fell to 64 points behind with three races remaining. "Like I said, we got lucky tonight," said Sprague. "We should have lost points to both of those guys based on what our truck was like at the start of the race. Everyone stuck to it and we were able to miss some of the trouble the other guys had. I've had more than my share of bad luck this season. Tonight, it was someone else's turn." Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be the Orleans 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event, which takes the green flag Sunday, October 14 at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, marks a return to the 1.5-mile LVMS oval after a one-year layoff. In four previous NCTS races at Las Vegas, Sprague owns two victories and a pair of runner-up finishes. "Las Vegas has been a great track for us over the years and I'm really excited it's back on the Truck Series schedule," Sprague stated. "It's down to crunch time for the championship and going back to a place like Las Vegas where we've had a lot of success in the past can't hurt."

-HM-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jack Sprague , Scott Riggs , Joe Ruttman