FORT WORTH, TX (June 2, 2001) - The 2000 Pronto Auto Parts 400 at Texas Motor Speedway is one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Jack Sprague would probably just as soon forget. "We had a heck of a wreck in the spring race at Texas last...
FORT WORTH, TX (June 2, 2001) - The 2000 Pronto Auto Parts 400 at Texas Motor Speedway is one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Jack Sprague would probably just as soon forget.
"We had a heck of a wreck in the spring race at Texas last year," said Sprague, who crashed out of the event on Lap 122 and was relegated to a 28th-place finish. "Texas is such a fast place and things happen pretty quickly. One second, you're blasting around there at 170 miles per hour and in the blink of an eye, you're sliding backwards at 170 mph. It's not the greatest feeling in the world."
This time around, Sprague hopes to be sliding his No. 24 NetZero Platinum Chevrolet into Victory Lane instead of an early exit onto the back of the transporter. The two-time NCTS champion knows he'll have to have a fast truck to score his first-ever win at the 1.5-mile Texas oval.
"Texas is one of the fastest tracks we race at," said Sprague, who has 19 career NCTS wins to his credit. "We're getting close to 180 miles per hour on the straights and you really carry a ton of speed into the corners. It doesn't take much to upset your truck, so you really have to have a solid handling package as well as plenty of horsepower."
So far this season, Sprague's NetZero Platinum Silverado has been plenty fast, dominating several events only to have something keep them out of the Winner's Circle. In the most recent event at Dover Downs International Speedway, Sprague led most of the race only to finish second, 0.694 seconds behind winner Scott Riggs.
"This is getting aggravating as heck," said Sprague after the MBNA E-Commerce 200. "I mean, what do you do? The performance is there. The guys on this NetZero Platinum team are doing an incredible job. The pit stops have been awesome. Our Chevy Silverado trucks are great. I couldn't ask for a better truck. I've been outrunning these guys for the last three or four weeks, but we're not winning. We just need to keep on doing what we've been doing and we're going to get one of these sooner or later."
Sprague's recent run of Top-5 finishes have vaulted him into the thick of the NCTS season points battle. Now third in the standings, the two-time NCTS champion is just 166 markers behind Riggs. After just missing wins in the last three series events at Dover, Pikes Peak and Darlington, anything less than a win at Texas will be a disappointment for Sprague and his NetZero Platinum mates.
"Texas is a great track and I know we can win there," said Sprague, who won the pole for the 1998 spring Truck Series event at TMS. "I've always had a good truck there but we seem to come up short. I was kind of surprised to find out our best finish there is only a fifth in the 1999 race. We've been winning the championship every other year - 1997, 1999 - I'm thinking this year, 2001, is our year for another title. Maybe this is the year it will be our turn at Texas too."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 at Texas Motor Speedway will take the green flag Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The ninth race of the 2001 NCTS season will be telecast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis Saturday, June 9 at 12 noon Eastern Time. More than 400 MRN radio stations worldwide will also carry the event as it happens.