CONCORD, NC (April 14, 2003) - Jack Sprague and Team NetZero Racing scratched their way to a 29th-place finish in the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway Sunday. "If we could have started the race halfway through, we'd...
CONCORD, NC (April 14, 2003) - Jack Sprague and Team NetZero Racing scratched their way to a 29th-place finish in the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway Sunday.
"If we could have started the race halfway through, we'd have been pretty decent," commented Sprague afterward. "The NetZero Pontiac was really loose all day, but we kept adjusting on it and it got a little better there at the end. We got a couple laps down and there wasn't much we could do after that. We finished as high as we could have of the cars on our lap."
Sprague posted the team's best qualifying effort of the season turning in an average speed of 93.074 miles per hour on the tight .526-mile Martinsville oval Friday, good enough for 14th-place in Sunday's 43-car starting grid.
The green flag flew under perfect skies Sunday, but Sprague's car proved to be anything but perfect as he radioed new crew chief Tony Furr the NetZero Pontiac was experiencing handling problems and wanted to spin out in the corners. The team countered the condition by making tire air pressure, track bar and chassis wedge adjustments to the car all day in an effort to make it more drivable for Sprague. The adjustments did the trick in the latter stages of the race, but by then, Sprague's luck also needed attention after he pitted only to have the yellow caution flag fly on lap 240. That cost the Spring Lake, MI driver two laps to the leaders, a deficit he would never be able to make up on the hard-to-pass Martinsville track.
The stroke of bad luck dropped Sprague to 36th in the running order, but he managed to fight his way back to 29th over the remaining laps to salvage the respectable finish. Sprague and his NetZero Racing team will take a well-deserved break as the 36-race Winston Cup schedule takes just one of three weekends off for the Easter holiday. The team will stay active this week heading to Kentucky Speedway on Thursday to test. Next up on the agenda will be the April 27th running of the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Qualifying for the event will take place on Friday, April 25, and the race will take place at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on FOX and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.