Sprague, NetZero Platinum Chevy Ready For Return To Nazareth Victory Lane NAZARETH, PA (August 20, 2001) - Most drivers would be satisfied with a fifth-place finish in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Then again, Jack Sprague isn't like...
Sprague, NetZero Platinum Chevy Ready For Return To Nazareth Victory Lane
NAZARETH, PA (August 20, 2001) - Most drivers would be satisfied with a fifth-place finish in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Then again, Jack Sprague isn't like most drivers.
"We were disappointed," said Sprague of his finish in the 2000 Chevy Silverado 200 at Nazareth Speedway. "We have the kind of team that's disappointed any time we don't win. That's especially true at a track like Nazareth where we've won in the past."
Sprague hopes he and his No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet can return to their winning ways when they take the track for this year's NCTS Chevy Silverado 200 Sunday. Sprague, who won the inaugural NCTS DeVilbiss 200 at the one-mile Pennsylvania track in 1996 and followed it up with a victory in the NAPA Autocare 200 the following year, knows a win this time around would provide a big boost to his 2001 NCTS title chances.
"We're getting down to crunch time," said Sprague, the 1997 and 1999 NCTS champion. "Including Nazareth, there are just seven races left this season. We're currently third in the points, just 43 out of first place. Another win at Nazareth would be a great kick-start to a strong run for our third championship."
Sprague has had an up and down 2001 NCTS campaign. The 37-year-old Spring Lake, MI native has won three events, the most recent at Indianapolis Raceway Park August 3. He has also four finishes of 20th or worse when mechanical gremlins or bad luck have hit his NetZero Platinum Chevy.
"We should have six or seven wins this season - easy," said Sprague. "We've just had some bad luck. Last week at Chicago, we get in a wreck racing for the lead and wind up ninth at the finish. That's a race we could have easily won."
While finishing at the front of the field has been a challenge for the Hendrick Motorsports driver, Sprague has owned qualifying posting five pole positions in 17 events. Sprague has not qualified out of the Top 10 all season and in the last nine races, has not timed outside the Top 3. His qualifying average over those nine events has been a blistering 1.77.
"This Hendrick Motorsports crew has really been on the beam in qualifying this year," said Sprague. "It's a real credit to everyone in the organization because that kind of performance starts at the shop. You're not going to be winning poles and qualifying in the Top 3 like we have been every week if you're not ready right off the trailer. They've had this NetZero Platinum Chevy ready to rock the minute it's rolled on to the track for practice all season. All I have to do is push the button and it goes like heck."
Sprague will be hoping for just that when he takes to the unique, multi-turn one-mile Nazareth track in Friday's optional test day.
"I kind of wish we weren't having that extra test day," Sprague stated. "We've got a great set-up for Nazareth and the more time everyone else has on the track, the better they get. We've been good at Nazareth ever since the series started going there in 1996. I really love racing at Nazareth. It's half oval, half road course. It's a very challenging place and we always seem to run well there. We've won there in the past and we know we can win there again."
Sprague's red, white and blue NetZero Platinum Chevy will take the green flag in this year's Chevy Silverado 200 at Nazareth Speedway Sunday, August 26. The 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time event will be telecast live on ESPN and will be broadcast by MRN Radio.
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