Sprague Focused on Championship at Louisville

Sprague focused on championship LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 27, 1998) Jack Sprague isn't exactly where he wants to be in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings, but the 34-year-old driver of the No. 24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet is very...

Sprague focused on championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 27, 1998) Jack Sprague isn't exactly where he wants to be in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings, but the 34-year-old driver of the No. 24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet is very much in contention to become the circuit's first-ever repeat champion.

Sprague currently resides in second place, trailing perennial rival Ron Hornaday by just 52 points (2,759-2,707) heading into Saturday's running of the Kroger 225 at Louisville Motor Speedway, considered by many to be the toughest short track on the series schedule. After battling to a fourth-place finish (and his 50th career top-five) last Sunday over the sun-splashed road course at Heartland Park Topeka, a glance at the updated standings showed Sprague had pared Hornaday's lead by 18 points.

"It's still a little early to be talking about deciding any championships," Sprague said. "But I thought our team did exactly what it needed to do at Topeka -- to grind out a top-five finish. If you're asking me if I like our chances to repeat, well honestly I'd have to say yes. My job now is to put Team GMAC in good position heading into those final two races at Phoenix and Las Vegas."

The truck series has completed two-thirds of its 27-race schedule with nine events left for Sprague to do his damage. Last year, it was during this portion of the schedule that Sprague hit his stride and left the competition reeling in the wake of a 232-point championship run, the largest margin of victory in the four-year history of the circuit.

"What we did last year isn't going to help put the No. 24 GMAC Financial Services/GM Protection Plan Chevrolet truck in victory circle at the end of 1998," Sprague said. "Our focus needs to be on winning each and every race along the way. This Team GMAC outfit has had a lot of success on short tracks this year. And even though Louisville might be the most demanding, I feel confident about picking up our third short track win on Saturday."

Sprague has three victories this season and two of those checkered flags have come on short tracks (Evergreen Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park). Those winning performances have helped quell some of the doubts about 'Mile Track Jack's' ability to succeed on a short strip. Sprague, who didn't collect his first short track victory until last August at Nashville Speedway USA, actually leads the circuit in victories in that category this season.

Sprague, who finished eighth at the 7/16-mile paved speedway in Louisville last year, has the distinction of being the only series titlist not to win this race during his championship season.

That historical fact -- and Hornaday's lead -- are two things that the driver of the No. 24 Team GMAC Chevrolet truck will try to erase on Saturday.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague