Martinsville Jack Sprague/Team GMAC; continuing to climb

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Patience, as it always is at Martinsville Speedway, will be at a premium when ...

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Patience, as it always is at Martinsville Speedway, will be at a premium when #24 Team GMAC driver Jack Sprague takes the green flag for Saturday's NAPA 250 (ESPN: 2 p.m. EDT).

Martinsville's .526-mile collision course is famous for its wear and tear on brakes and patience. Sprague, the two-time and defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, is seeking both his first career victory at Martinsville and continued upward mobility in the point standings this weekend. Items of note heading into Saturday's NAPA 250:

Sprague moved from eighth position into a tie for seventh in the point standings with Terry Cook on the heels of a 3rd-place finish in Bakersfield, marking his third straight upward movement since a 33rd-place finish to begin the season at Daytona.

Sprague matched his career-best finish last year at Martinsville by finishing third in the '99 running of the NAPA 250. The 35-year-old Michigan native also finished third back in 1996.

Sprague, along with Rick Carelli and Joe Ruttman, is one of only three drivers to compete in all five NCTS events at Martinsville.

While he doesn't own a win at Martinsville, Sprague is no stranger to short track success in Virginia. In 1998, he won the Virginia Is For Lovers 200 following a stirring stretch duel with the now-retired Ernie Irvan at Richmond International Raceway.

#24 TEAM GMAC DRIVER JACK SPRAGUE'S THOUGHTS ON THE NAPA 250:

"You have to pack a whole lot of patience any time you make the trip to Martinsville. It's critical to pick and choose your spots to pass - and then have the patience to make the pass - because it might take you five laps around the bullring to accomplish it.

Sprague added, "If you're a fan, it makes for exciting racing. If you're a driver, it can make for a long day. Rarely do you see a truck come out clean (undamaged) after 250 laps at Martinsville. I just need to hang around and put myself in a position to win in the end. And the we'll take our run at it."

#24 TEAM GMAC CREW CHIEF DENNIS CONNOR'S THOUGHTS ON THIS RACE:

"You can't attack the turns at Martinsville and that's contrary to Jack's driving style. It's hard to change something that is that inherent. His best performance (at Martinsville) came early in his career when (Jeff) Gordon was on the radio with him for a lot of the race. I'll be on the radio with him this time. Jack has matured a lot and learned a lot over the last year and I'm looking forward to a good finish at Martinsville."

<pre> Martinsville Speedway (0.526 miles)

Year    Event           Start   Finish  Laps            Money Won       Status
1999    NAPA 250        10      2       250/250         $15,875         Running
1998    NAPA 250        11      10      250/250         7,825           Running
1997    Hanes 250       8       10      256/256         7,925           Running
1996    Hanes 250       10      3       255/255         14,225          Running
1995    Goody's 150     6       20      147/150         2,950           Running

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Jack Sprague , Terry Cook , Joe Ruttman , Rick Carelli