KANSAS CITY, KS (July 2, 2001) - Kansas Speedway is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour that Jack Sprague doesn't dominate the record book. Of course, the fact that Sprague and his No. 17 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet...
KANSAS CITY, KS (July 2, 2001) - Kansas Speedway is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour that Jack Sprague doesn't dominate the record book. Of course, the fact that Sprague and his No. 17 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet Silverado haven't raced there yet might have something to do with it.
"There's something special about the first time you go to a new track," said Sprague. "Everything is new and it really levels the playing field for all the teams. The team that will adapt the quickest will have the best shot at winning. Hopefully, we'll be that team. You always want to be the first one to be listed as a race winner in the record book."
Should Sprague win the first-ever major NASCAR event, the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, it would be just another in a long list of NCTS accomplishments for the Spring Lake, MI driver. The only driver to compete in every Truck Series race since the inception of the series in 1995, Sprague is divisions leader in laps led, laps completed, miles led, miles completed, money won, Top-5 and Top-10 finishes. At the most recent event on the tour, the GNC Live Well 200 at Milwaukee, WI, Sprague captured his 16th career pole position to notch that all-time series mark as well.
"I'm going to have some records just because of the amount of time I've spent in the Truck Series," Sprague stated. "Some of them will be tough to break and others won't. I've been really fortunate to be with a great Hendrick Motorsports team led by Dennis Connor. It's like a big family. There's highs and lows to everything, but when you're with a good team and surround yourself with good people, I don't care what you do, you're going to look good. You're going to look better than you are. In that regard, I've been very fortunate."
Sprague hopes to keep a recent hot streak intact when he takes the green flag on the new, 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval this weekend.
"We've had some dominant trucks recently," said Sprague, who led the most laps and finished second last week at Milwaukee. "We had a great truck and won at Texas. Then we won the pole and led the most laps at Memphis only to have an oil line problem and crash. If that doesn't happen, we win that race easy.
"At Milwaukee, I wasn't even pushing it and we led all but something like four of the first 170 laps. The last set of tires I had just weren't as good and we wound up running second to Ted Musgrave. I was disappointed, but we still had a great truck. It's been like that all year. We only have one win to show for it, but I really think we've had the best truck in at least half the races this season."
At Kansas Speedway, Sprague will have to adapt to a new track. With a front stretch of more than 2,700 feet and a back straight in excess of 2,200 feet, Sprague knows he'll have to have plenty of horsepower if he expects to wind up in Victory Lane.
"No doubt about it, you'll have to have some ponies under hood to get around Kansas," said Sprague. "It's definitely a horsepower track. You'll also have to handle well in the corners, but the engine will be the big difference here. I'm hoping it will be a lot like Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I love that place and have had a lot of success there. They are both wide, sweeping 1.5-mile tracks that will be plenty fast. That's the kind of track I like and the kind the team is used to doing well at. I don't see why we can't put this NetZero Platinum Chevy into Victory Lane at Kansas."
The 167-lap O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 will take the green flag Saturday, July 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The 12th event will mark the halfway point of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season and will be telecast live on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast live by MRN Radio.