Sprague South Boston preview

SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 21, 2001) - Back in the early 1990s, Jack Sprague wheeled a NASCAR Busch Series car around South Boston Speedway. The experience left Sprague with lasting memories of the tight, .400-mile paved Virginia oval. ...

SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 21, 2001) - Back in the early 1990s, Jack Sprague wheeled a NASCAR Busch Series car around South Boston Speedway. The experience left Sprague with lasting memories of the tight, .400-mile paved Virginia oval.

"It was crazy," said Sprague, who will return to the South Boston track Friday, September 28, when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its first-ever appearance there. "The track is so tight that there is absolutely no room for error. It's even tougher now that they've added the inside retaining wall. If you spin, you're in the fence. If someone else spins, the track is almost blocked. There's going to be some serious beatin' and bangin' when we get 36 trucks out there."

Just surviving 250 laps at South Boston would be enough of a challenge for any race team, but Sprague has the added pressure of winning the event with NetZero, the primary sponsor of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, also serving as the title sponsor of the race.

"NetZero has never sponsored a race before," Sprague stated. "I'd like nothing better than to win the NetZero 250 in the NetZero Chevy Silverado. We've had a great year so far and winning at South Boston, no matter what the name of the race is, would put us one step closer to winning the championship."

Sprague has carried the NetZero colors to four wins and five pole positions this season. In the most recent NCTS event, the Kroger 200 at Richmond (VA) International Raceway, Sprague led all but two of the first 192 laps before holding off a host of challengers over the final eight circuits to score the victory. The win boosted the 1997 and 1999 NCTS champion to the top of the 2001 season standings, 27 points in front of Joe Ruttman.

"We had things under control at Richmond and then a late caution made it pretty interesting," said Sprague, who now has 23 career NCTS victories. "I was totally out of right-side tires, but we were somehow able to hold them off. It was a great win because it got us back on top of the points. Now we've got to find a way to stay there over the final five races."

To do that, Sprague will need a solid finish at South Boston.

"You will have to be good and lucky to come out of South Boston with a top finish," said Sprague. "You'll have to have a good qualifying run so you can start up front because track position will be totally key. You don't want to be starting back in the pack because they will be mixing it up pretty good back there. The team that can stay out of the wrecks will finish get a good finish at South Boston. It will be tough to win the championship if your truck is wadded up and back on the trailer halfway through the race. We'll just try to qualify and stay up front. The rest - winning the race and the championship - will take care of itself."

The NetZero 250 will take the green flag at South Boston Speedway, Friday, September 28, at 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on ESPN2 and will be broadcast as it happens on MRN Radio.

-HM-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Joe Ruttman
Teams Hendrick Motorsports