CICERO, IL (Saturday, Aug. 18) - Jack Sprague survived a spin and collision to post a solid ninth-place finish in the Sears Craftsman 175 at Chicago Motor Speedway. Sprague qualified second for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, ...
CICERO, IL (Saturday, Aug. 18) - Jack Sprague survived a spin and collision to post a solid ninth-place finish in the Sears Craftsman 175 at Chicago Motor Speedway.
Sprague qualified second for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the ninth-straight event where the No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet driver has qualified in the Top-3, Sprague led on three different occasions in the early stages of the race before a Lap-85 tangle with Rick Crawford completely changed his day.
"We were having a great race until I got together with Crawford," said Sprague. "He just crowded me a little bit going into Turn 1. I got down on the apron and I didn't have any room. We got together and I wound up spinning. Then I got hit a bunch and that was pretty much the end of it. That ended our chances of winning."
Sprague's NetZero Platinum mount suffered significant damage in the Turn 1 incident. A series of pit stops put the Spring Lake, MI driver back to 18th in the field, but still on the lead lap.
For the next 30 circuits, Sprague steamrolled his way back through the field on the one-mile, paper clip shaped Chicago oval. By Lap 120, Sprague was eighth in the running order and still may have had a shot at winning the race. During the extra stops for repairs, Sprague took on fuel while the leaders stayed on the track. That meant if the race stayed under green flag conditions to its conclusion, Sprague would not have to stop again while the rest of the field would have to head for pit road and a splash of gas.
Sprague's final hopes of victory went out the window when the caution flag flew on Lap 145. All of the leaders, including Sprague, came to pit road for one final stop. There, things went from bad to worse as Sprague ran over an air hose exiting the pits forcing a mandatory NASCAR stop and go penalty. The second trip to pit road put Sprague at the tail end of the lead lap in 16th place with just under 30 laps remaining.
Despite the damage and the penalty, Sprague was still able to rally to a Top-10 effort coming home ninth at the drop of the checkered flag. The performance garnered $10,175 in prize money and kept him in the thick of the 2001 NCTS championship chase. Sprague is currently third in the standings, 48 points behind division leader and race winner Scott Riggs.
"We got beat on and ping-pong balled around on those last laps," said Sprague. "At the end of the race, the fenders were knocked off my truck and the tow in was knocked way out. Somehow, we were able to stay on the lead lap and get a good points finish out of it."
Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Platinum Chevy will be the Chevy Silverado 200 at Nazareth (PA) Speedway. The event will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Sunday, August 26. The event will be telecast live on ESPN and will be broadcast by MRN Radio.