Cruise control is not an option on Jack Sprague's NetZero Platinum Chevy Silverado racing pickup truck, but you wouldn't know it from his performance tonight in the 167-lap O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sprague collected Chevrolet's 81st...
Cruise control is not an option on Jack Sprague's NetZero Platinum Chevy Silverado racing pickup truck, but you wouldn't know it from his performance tonight in the 167-lap O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sprague collected Chevrolet's 81st win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, more than any other manufacturer (52 percent), but it was the first win of the season for the two-time series champion and for Chevrolet.
Sprague passed fellow Chevy Silverado racer Travis Kvapil on the 123rd lap and never looked back, as he handily held off Brendan Gaughan's Dodge and David Starr's Chevy Silverado to take his first win since June of 2000 and Chevy's first victory since last fall's race here in Texas.
Points leader and "polesitter" Dodge driver Scott Riggs held a strong lead over Sprague in the early laps, then crashed on lap 30, opening the door for both Terry Cook's Ford and Sprague's Chevrolet to take turns leading with Dodge drivers Ted Musgrave and Joe Ruttman. Sprague nearly gave the race away as he ran out of gas on lap 98, but managed to make it back to the pits to get refueled without losing a lap. Sprague's margin of victory over second-place Gaughan was 4.669 seconds.
For the first time in six of the nine races this season, the roles were reversed, as Dodge was relegated to second place, while Chevrolet grabbed the win. While Dodge had won every race until today, Chevrolet had finished second six times, third once and fifth once.
Sprague won his 20th career Truck race and broke a 22-race victory drought. Chevrolet also ended Dodge's eight-race win streak. Dodge and Chevrolet remain tied for the longest win streak in the series.
Sprague led for 54 laps, Kvapil (No. 60 Cat Rental Stores Silverado) for 19 -- the only two Silverados to lead.
SPRAGUE: "Winning here at Texas is really special. When we started racing here at Texas we ran good, sat on poles and led a lot, but never won. We kind of got off our game here for a while and were terrible. Last fall we got it all back together and were awesome again and I got loose trying to go around Andy Houston down in turn one, the truck got away from me and I wrecked. The NetZero Chevrolet Silverado has driven great ever since we got here, but this is the last place in the world under the circumstances we were dealt with -- the way the Dodge rules are and the new carburetor -- that I ever thought I'd win.
"Last night in happy hour I was flat footing it around this place and the Dodges were still a half second faster, but as the race went on and the tires wore down, the downforce that we had on my Silverado -- you know it has a lot more drag -- the truck stuck and it handled, while the Dodges started slipping around because they do have less downforce and drag under the current rules. Fortunately it played into our hands, nothing went wrong, the guys in the pits did an awesome job and we didn't lose anything there, and it all just worked out to our advantage.
"I did have one scare, I ran out of gas going down into turn one with about 60 laps to go, had to coast down the back stretch and pit for fuel. I thought I got a lap down, but we weren't. I asked Dennis (Connor, crew chief) if we were a lap down and we he said we weren't. I said cool, we're OK. The last caution bunched us all back up, so I didn't have to chase them down and that worked to our advantage on the fuel situation. At the end, I came back around after taking the checkered flag and did a burnout, and ran out of gas, so it was extremely close. They'd told me that I didn't have to conserve fuel after our last stop, but the last 10 laps I had a four-second lead, so I was running around here about half throttle. It's a good thing I did, because if not, we probably wouldn't have made it.
"I want to thank the GMAC guys and all the guys at Hendrick Motorsports. Ricky's done a great job all year and the guys on this team all work really hard. This is one team that runs two trucks. The trucks are all built the same and the only thing that differentiates the two trucks are the colors and the stickers. We've got around 30 guys on this team that really work hard, and I'm here tonight because they do.
"We're the only team in the garage area that's been racing the Dodges all year and we've had three or four opportunities to win and we didn't capitalize on them. A couple of those were our own fault and others were just circumstances. It's not like we haven't been able to race them, but it's a lot harder for me to do what I'm doing than for them to do what they're doing.
"Winning here at Texas is a big relief. At least now it will get the reporters off my back saying when are you going to win again."