Milwaukee Sprague Preview

Sprague seeks victory and vindication WEST ALLIS, Wis. (July 1, 1998) The good news for No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports/1-800-MARROW-2 Chevrolet driver Jack Sprague is that no competitor in the four-year history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck ...

Sprague seeks victory and vindication

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (July 1, 1998) The good news for No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports/1-800-MARROW-2 Chevrolet driver Jack Sprague is that no competitor in the four-year history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has taken a bigger points lead into the circuit's annual event at The Milwaukee Mile.

The bad news is that no driver has entered or left Milwaukee with the points lead and gone on to win the championship. Last season, Rich Bickle held a 44-point advantage over Sprague heading into the July 5 running of the DieHard 200, but Sprague stormed back to win his first truck title by a commanding 232 points -- the largest margin in series history -- over Bickle.

Sprague will attempt to alter the aforementioned historical trend and erase the memory of last year's event, a race he appeared destined to win until a late caution helped relegate him to a fourth-place finish.

"Milwaukee is a real good race track for this Hendrick Motorsports/1-800-MARROW-2 team," said Sprague, who took the checkered flag at the Milwaukee track in 1996. "And we've got all the incentive in the world after coming so close last year. I'm looking to vindicate myself and do what I should have done in '97 -- and that's win."

Sprague etched his name into the series record book again following his second-place performance in the Loadhandler 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway back on June 20.

The runner-up effort at Bristol marked the 21st consecutive top-10 finish for the talented 33-year-old driver from Spring Lake, Mich. That was good enough to beat rival Ron Hornaday's old benchmark of 20 straight top-10s.

Sprague, who describes The Milwaukee Mile as "Martinsville Speedway on steroids," has been known to flex his own muscles at the one-mile venue. History shows that no series driver has led more times (12) at Milwaukee than Sprague, who also established the track's qualifying record (119.178 mph -- 30.207 seconds) last year. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Sprague start from the Bud Pole again in '98.

"Qualifying is so important. I want to be seen as somebody who can succeed on all types of tracks," said Sprague, who spent part of his 'off' weekend posting an impressive sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race Sunday at Watkins Glen. "But these one-mile layouts have been very good to us in the past. It's an honor to be known as 'Mile Track Jack' and come Saturday I'll try to live up to that billing."

Sprague has produced seven of his nine career victories on tracks one-mile or longer, including his 1996 win at Milwaukee. This time around, the man known as "Mile Track Jack" has his sights set on victory and vindication. And that means if you happen to be his competitor in the 34-truck field, Sprague will do his best to make sure that July 4th feels like anything but a holiday.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague