Michigan: Jack Sprague race notes

SPRAGUE MOTORS TO ANOTHER TOP-10 IN CON-WAY FREIGHT 200 "Three-Time Champ Earns Sixth Top-10 Finish Of Season" BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN (June 19, 2006) - To be his hometown track, Michigan International Speedway has never been exactly kind to Jack...

SPRAGUE MOTORS TO ANOTHER TOP-10 IN CON-WAY FREIGHT 200
"Three-Time Champ Earns Sixth Top-10 Finish Of Season"

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN (June 19, 2006) - To be his hometown track, Michigan International Speedway has never been exactly kind to Jack Sprague. In four starts prior to this weekend, Sprague had captured two top-10 finishes and still admitted to being confused about where he should run on the wide, multi-grooved track. But this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Sprague hoped it would be different as the sponsor of his truck was also the title race sponsor. More than ever, Sprague wanted to drive his No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota into victory lane in the Con-way Freight 200.

"We've brought a new truck to Michigan, and I just have a weird feeling that we are going to do good there," Sprague said.

Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota lined up in 15th-place for the drop of the green flag on Saturday afternoon. By Lap five, when the first caution of the day waved, Sprague had moved up three spots on the race track into 12th-place. Under the caution flag, Sprague told the crew that the truck was really tight behind other trucks. But with only five laps down, the crew and Sprague knew that condition could change. All in all, the truck wasn't too bad.

By Lap 20, Sprague had fallen one spot to 13th-place. He still complained of being tight behind other trucks. Six laps later, Sprague had another problem. He told Tony Furr the truck was loose when he was by himself on the track and it felt like he had no grip. When the third caution waved at Lap 36, Sprague was in 11th-place and needed some help on the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota to move into the Top 10. The Wyler Racing pit crew elected to bring Sprague down the pits for service. The crew made a track bar adjustment, an air pressure adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel before sending Sprague back on the race track. The quick as lightning pit stop moved Sprague up to sixth-place for the restart at Lap 39.

Sprague hung in the top 10 over the course of the next several laps. But the continuing loose condition on his No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota hampered him from making forward progress. At Lap 50, he reported that his sixth-place truck was better than it had been, but he still needed to be tightened up some more.

"I'm doing all I can do," Sprague told his crew. "I am bad loose."

A caution at Lap 67 was just what Sprague needed to help the truck. The No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota came in the pits in seventh-place. The Wyler Racing pit crew made an air pressure adjustment to help improve the truck's handling. They changed four tires and fuel. Again, the pit crew rattled off a quick pit stop and helped Sprague pick up four spots on pit road and return to the track in third-place.

Unfortunately, the quick work in the pits didn't improve the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota's loose condition. When the green flag waved at Lap 72, Sprague restarted in third-place. But the loose truck was difficult to handle, and Sprague began falling through the field. By Lap 84 when another caution flag slowed the race, Sprague was in 10th-place. Again, he told his crew that he was doing all he could to hold onto the loose truck and to stay in the Top 10. Sprague told his crew it was difficult because he was loose by himself and tight when bunched up behind other trucks.

A late race caution set up a green-white-checker finish. But Sprague's handling condition made it difficult for him to gain any ground on the field. Sprague finished in 10th place -- his sixth top-10 of the 2006 season. Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight team are currently fifth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings -- 135 points out of the top-three.

"I really thought that we had the truck to beat going into this race," Sprague said. "But we just couldn't seem to get the handling right all day. I was tight behind trucks and loose by myself and that makes it difficult to get a truck out front. I just wanted to win for all the Con-way people who were here to thank them for everything they have done to support our team."

Sprague continued: "Even though we didn't win, I have to say how proud I am of the Wyler Racing pit crew. They were on fire today. We picked up a ton of positions on pit road every time we came in today -- and that wins races. I know we are just beating on the door for our first win. We're leaving Michigan with a Top 10, and I can't complain about that."

For their quick pit stops, Sprague's crew was awarded the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge award at Michigan.

Sprague and the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota return to action at the Milwaukee Mile for the Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 on Friday, June 23. Race action begins at 8:15 p.m. CT on SPEED and MRN/XM Satellite Radio.

-win

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jack Sprague