Sprague takes Darlington pole

DARLINGTON, SC (May 11, 2001) - Jack Sprague scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole position in more than two years rolling to the top spot in qualifying for the Darlington 200 at Darlington Raceway. Sprague rocketed his ...

DARLINGTON, SC (May 11, 2001) - Jack Sprague scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole position in more than two years rolling to the top spot in qualifying for the Darlington 200 at Darlington Raceway.

Sprague rocketed his NetZero Platinum Chevrolet Silverado to a lap of 30.192 seconds (162.878 miles per hour) on the ultra-tough 1.366-mile Darlington oval. The pole was especially satisfying to the Hendrick Motorsports driver considering this was the first time the Truck Series visited the famed "Track Too Tough To Tame."

"It's special to win anything at Darlington, period," said Sprague, who last captured a pole position at Phoenix International Raceway March 27, 1999. "This race track has a lot of history and I enjoy racing here. Having the Truck Series race here is just an added bonus for me. This pole means a lot to me, but more importantly, we need to try to win this race."

The pole position was the 14th of Sprague's NCTS career moving him into a tie for second all-time with Mike Bliss. Mike Skinner is first in career Truck Series poles with 15.

"We haven't concentrated on poles," said Sprague describing two-year pole drought. "We go to these race tracks, get two hours of practice and a 'Happy Hour'. We concentrate on our race set-up. We had an extra test day here yesterday and I'm sure that contributed to us winning the pole here today."

The top qualifying run was also a career milestone for Sprague's crew chief, Dennis Connor. Connor, a longtime NASCAR top kick, became the first crew chief to win a pole in Winston Cup (Kenny Schrader), NASCAR Busch Series (Randy Lajoie) and now Craftsman Truck competition at Darlington.

"I've gotten a lot of credit over the years, but I never could have done any of it without Dennis Connor," said Sprague, the NCTS career leader in money won, laps and miles completed, laps and miles led. "Dennis has worked with a lot of great drivers - Tim Richmond, Neil Bonnett, Schrader, I know I'm leaving a lot of them out. I'm just very fortunate to have been one of them."

Sprague was also quick to point out that his pole-winning run was also a first for his new sponsor, NetZero.

"This deal was sold hard on the basis that this Hendrick Motorsports team could win poles and races," Sprague stated. "So far this year, we've had a great truck at every race but haven't had the best luck other than a second at Bakersfield (CA) and a third at Homestead (FL). The NetZero people have been just great, really supportive no matter where we've finished. Maybe the pole here will be the first step toward getting them a win too."

-HM

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Randy Lajoie , Jack Sprague , Mike Bliss , Tim Richmond
Teams Hendrick Motorsports