Phoenix is Home for Sprague

Phoenix is home to Sprague PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 14, 1998) Jack Sprague, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports/1-800-MARROW2 Chevrolet, calls Phoenix International Raceway his home track, and with very good reason. The defending...

Phoenix is home to Sprague

PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 14, 1998) Jack Sprague, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports/1-800-MARROW2 Chevrolet, calls Phoenix International Raceway his home track, and with very good reason. The defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion may hail from Spring Lake, Mich., and reside in Concord, N.C., but if a successful track record is any measure, Phoenix has a new native son. It was this time last year (Apr. 20, 1997) that Sprague won the Chevy Trucks Desert Star Classic at PIR and established a series record in the process, becoming the first driver in circuit history to win three consecutive races at one venue. Sprague, whose desert victory streak was finally snapped by a third-place performance in the GM Goodwrench Delco Battery 300 last November, will look to regain his winning ways in the 1998 version Chevy Trucks 150 on Sunday. And he will do so as the favorite and frontrunner after a strong second-place showing in the Apr. 4 running of the Florida Dodge Dealers 400. Despite being winless in two outings this year, Sprague assumed the top position in the point standings, narrowly outdistancing 1996 series champion Ron Hornaday following his runner-up effort to Rick Crawford at Homestead. "It felt good to actually get out there and run again," Sprague said. "We've got the lead in points for now and Phoenix is next up on the schedule, so there's a lot to be excited about. I like the distance, I like the configuration and I love the fans in Phoenix." Sprague has displayed a special dominance on one-mile (and longer) tracks that dates back to 1996, a season that saw him earn the well-deserved moniker "Big Track Jack" after the Hendrick Motorsports driver ran roughshod on the longer ovals. In seven races that year at a mile and up, Sprague won five of those events and placed second twice. The trend continued in 1997, with two of Sprague's three victories coming on one-mile layouts (Phoenix and Nazareth). "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 my first short-track win at Nashville (last season) was just as sweet. If other people think we're that much better at Phoenix, maybe that gives us an edge." The real edge lies somewhere in the synergy between Sprague's driving and the No. 24 team's ability to consistently prepare a championship-caliber truck. It's a potent one-two combination that's spelled success throughout the three-year history of the truck series. Should he bring "home" another title in 1998, the only question for Sprague might be where exactly to bring it: Spring Lake, Concord or Phoenix? In other news, Sprague's No. 24 team is still in the process of securing a primary sponsor for the 1998 season. Meanwhile, the defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion is proud to carry 1-800-MARROW2, the distinctive decal that's become a symbol of success on and off the race track. A toll-free information hotline, 1-800-MARROW2 provides vital information on how to become a marrow donor while helping to create public awareness in the fight against leukemia and other blood disorders.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Rick Crawford
Teams Hendrick Motorsports