MILLINGTON, TN. (June 22, 2001) - Jack Sprague, already the most prolific record holder in the history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, added another career mark to the ledger winning the pole position for the Memphis 200 at Memphis ...
MILLINGTON, TN. (June 22, 2001) - Jack Sprague, already the most prolific record holder in the history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, added another career mark to the ledger winning the pole position for the Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Sprague blasted his No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet Silverado around the .75-mile Memphis oval in a time of 23.104 seconds. The quick time was three one-thousandths faster than the lap turned in by Joe Ruttman and earned Sprague his 15 career NCTS pole position tying him for first all-time with Mike Skinner and Ruttman.
"We've been fast since we got here," said Sprague, who is the defending champion of the Memphis event. "Right off the truck, I knew we had a shot at the pole. We had a two-hour practice this morning and we were really strong. On our qualifying lap, I drove it down into the turn and it stuck like glue. On the second lap, I figured 'what the heck' and hammered it in there even harder. It paid off because I just barely beat Ruttman to put the NetZero Platinum Chevy on the pole again."
The top qualifying record is just another milestone in a long in a long list of career accomplishments for Sprague, the only driver to start every event in the history of the Truck Series (155 and counting). The Spring Lake, MI driver owns a pair of division championships (1997, 1999) and was the first man in series history to surpass both the $2 and $3 million in earnings plateaus. He is the division's all-time leader in laps led, laps completed, miles led and miles completed.
The Memphis pole was Sprague's second of the season. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was shut out on top qualifying honors in 2000 before breaking the streak with pole-winning run at Darlington (SC) Raceway earlier this season. Sprague also broke a 22-race winless streak in the series' most recent event, the O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway (6/8/01). The victory was Sprague's 20th-career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series triumph.
"We won this race last year and we won the last race at Texas," said Sprague. "We're starting up front, so I'd like to think our chances our pretty good in tomorrow's race. I've been saying all year long that our trucks are better than they have ever been before. We ran good in the early part of the season but because of some bad luck and bad breaks, we didn't have anything to show for it. Now we're finally starting to get the results to match the awesome effort this team has been putting out all season."
The Memphis 200 will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Saturday. The event will be televised live on ESPN and will be broadcast by MRN Radio.