Back-to-back for Mile-track Jack? PHOENIX, Ariz. (Oct. 22, 1998) Jack Sprague is on the verge of winning his second consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. 'Mile Track Jack' leads arch-rival Ron Hornaday by 28 points heading...
Back-to-back for Mile-track Jack?
PHOENIX, Ariz. (Oct. 22, 1998) Jack Sprague is on the verge of winning his second consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. 'Mile Track Jack' leads arch-rival Ron Hornaday by 28 points heading into the final two races this season. The fact that Sprague is commonly known as 'Mile Track Jack' has much to do with his uncommon success at Phoenix International Raceway, site of Saturday's GM Goodwrench Service Plus/ACDelco 300.
Sprague, who is bidding to become the first repeat champion in series history, needs a combined total of 333 points in the last two races to claim a second-straight title. Saturday's event at the one-mile oval in Phoenix is followed by the season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 8.
"Team GMAC will be ready for battle at Phoenix; there's no need to worry about that," Sprague said. "Consistency is what wins championships in this business. We've got ourselves in good position because of what we've done over the last 25 races. There's no need to change our approach or the way we do business now. Everybody's focused on delivering a solid effort at Phoenix and hopefully that'll give us a little extra breathing room on our way to Vegas."
When Sprague won the Chevy Trucks Desert Star Classic at Phoenix in April 1997, the Spring Lake, Mich., native became the first driver in series history to win three consecutive races at one venue. It was the special dominance Sprague displayed -- in producing back-to-back victories at Phoenix in 1996 -- that helped him earn the well-deserved moniker 'Mile Track Jack.'
That year the Hendrick Motorsports driver ran roughshod on the longer ovals, winning five events at a mile (or longer) and placing second twice. The trend continued somewhat during Sprague's 1997 championship run, with two of his three victories coming on one-mile layouts at Phoenix and Nazareth. Sprague has turned the tables this season by leading the series in short-track victories (three) while also taking the checkers at two-mile California Speedway.
"I can't say that I approach each race any differently whether it's Martinsville, Phoenix or Texas," Sprague said. "We run to win, it's as simple as that. I like the fact that we've had so much success on the mile-and-ups, but we've done some good things on the short tracks this year as well. If other people think we're that much better at Phoenix, maybe that gives us an edge."
The real edge, as series insiders know, lies somewhere in the synergy between Sprague's driving and his crew's ability to consistently prepare a championship-caliber truck. It's a potent 1-2 combination that's spelled success throughout Sprague's four-year tenure on the truck circuit. Sprague's impressive year-by-year progression in the standings has yielded three consecutive top-five finishes (fifth in 1995, second in 1996 and first in 1997) including his first major championship a year ago.
Now, the best Sprague can do is maintain his hold on the top spot. And that's just fine for the driver of the No. 24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet truck -- a man who also goes by the name 'Mile Track Jack.'
Source: NASCAR Online