SPRAGUE GRINDS OUT 11TH PLACE FINISH IN BLUEGRASS STATE "Three-Time Champ Makes The Most After Battling Handling Issues" SPARTA, KENTUCKY (July 10, 2006) - Jack Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota team had one goal going to Kentucky...
SPRAGUE GRINDS OUT 11TH PLACE FINISH IN BLUEGRASS STATE
"Three-Time Champ Makes The Most After Battling Handling Issues"
SPARTA, KENTUCKY (July 10, 2006) - Jack Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota team had one goal going to Kentucky Speedway -- to put the No. 60 into Victory Lane for the first time at the home track for co-owners Jeff and David Wyler.
Unfortunately, an ill-handling truck would prevent Sprague from making a run for the team's first victory.
"Jeff and David Wyler have put together a tremendous race team in just a year's time," Sprague said. "They have given us top notch equipment; we have a great group of guys working on the truck and a tremendous sponsor with Con-way Freight.
"We have all the elements in place to have a winning race team. We just want to get our first win."
After a day of practice, in which Sprague couldn't get the handle on the truck that he liked, the team qualified for the Built Ford Tough 225 in 25th place. It would be a long drive to the front of the field for Sprague, but the three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion had come from deeper in the pack to win races before and the team really wanted to notch a victory at Kentucky Speedway.
The first caution flag waved at Lap two, and Sprague had moved up one spot on the track to 24th. With such a short green flag run, Sprague told the team it was difficult to say what the truck was doing, but he thought he was a little loose.
By Lap eight, Sprague reported to the team that he was "bad loose in." He began to lose spots on the race track, and he was in 28th place when the caution waved at lap 18.
Sprague brought the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota to the attention of his pit crew with hopes that they could change the tides of the truck's handling problems. The team added fuel, made an air pressure adjustment, a track bar adjustment along with adding wedge to the truck.
Sprague returned to the track in 31st place for the race's restart at Lap 23. The adjustments the pit crew made seemed to work as Sprague slowly began to pick up spots on the track.
"The changes are helping. It seems decent," Sprague said at Lap 27, when the third caution of the night waved. "It's still twitching, but I'm tighter than I was."
As many of the leaders pitted under the caution at Lap 29, crew chief Tony Furr decided to use a different strategy and elected for Sprague to stay on the race track. Sprague moved up to eighth place for the restart at Lap 32.
Sprague hung in the top 10 with the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota, but he reported to the crew that he continued to be loose getting into the corners. In fact, Sprague said the truck was horrible in turns one and two.
When the caution flag waved at Lap 49 for debris, the Wyler Racing team pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Sprague returned to the track in 19th place for the restart at Lap 54.
Again, the changes helped Sprague's handling problems as he began to move up through the field during a long green flag run. By Lap 84, Sprague had moved into the Top 10, and he was continuing his forward progression.
The No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota moved into the Top five by Lap 100. Sprague reported to the crew that he was now a little tight in the center. Despite the problems, the No. 60 truck was one of the fastest trucks on the track.
With the long green flag run the No. 60 Con-way Freight pit crew was challenged to make a quick yet solid pit stop under the green flag. At Lap 113, Sprague gave up fourth place on the race track and brought the truck to the attention of his team. The crew changed four tires, added fuel and made an air pressure adjustment. A quick stop helped Sprague not to lose too much ground on the race track. He returned to the track in 20th place.
By Lap 121, Sprague had moved up to 13th place -- but an ill-timed caution put the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota one lap down to the leaders. Only eight trucks were posted on the lead lap.
When the green flag waved at Lap 125, Sprague was in 13th place and had reported to the crew that he was bad loose again. Luckily for Sprague, another quick caution at Lap 128 for a wreck between the leaders helped Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota to get back on the lead lap.
Now on the lead lap, Sprague pitted at Lap 130 for a wedge adjustment to help his ill handling truck. Sprague returned to the track in 12th place for the restart at Lap 136.
Sprague was able to pick up one more position before the checkered flag waved on the 150-lap event. He brought the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota home in 11th place. Sprague retained his ninth-place position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings -- 335 points behind leader Todd Bodine and less than 100 points out of the fourth spot.
"We'll definitely take this finish tonight," Sprague said following the race. "We struggled with handling in the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota all weekend long, but the calls that Tony Furr made in the pits and the adjustments that the guys made during the race really helped us to get a decent finish. I wish we could have gotten one more position for a top 10, but we'll go out and get them next week in Memphis."
Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota return to action next Saturday, July 15, at Memphis Motorsports Park. The O'Reilly 200 begins at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED and MRN/XM Satellite Radio.