Sprague leaves Bristol with a bruised racecar. BRISTOL, TN (August 25, 2002) - Jack Sprague had nothing to smile about after finishing 28th in the Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday. "Leaving Bristol with...
Sprague leaves Bristol with a bruised racecar.
BRISTOL, TN (August 25, 2002) - Jack Sprague had nothing to smile about after finishing 28th in the Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday.
"Leaving Bristol with another terrible finish isn't what we were looking for," said Sprague. "Nothing seemed to add up no matter we did. The NetZero Chevy practiced terrible and qualifying wasn't any better. The only decent run I had in the car was during happy hour. It's been the same story week after week for us lately and I don't know what to say about any of it. It takes everything I have to try and stay calm and focused. We need to get a handle on what's been happening and get back in the game."
Sprague started deep in the 43-car field after qualifying his No. 24 NetZero Chevy 34th in Friday's time trial session. Early in Saturday's event, Sprague had the chance to head to pit road where his NetZero crew made wholesale chassis adjustments in an effort to get his Hendrick Motorsports entry handling properly. Unfortunately, no amount of chassis adjustments could help Sprague through a 10-car pileup on Lap 35 in which his NetZero Chevy suffered significant damage. To make matters worse, tire changers Cory Quick injured his right arm on one of the many pit stops Sprague made to repair the damage. Quick was taken to the infield care center and later to the hospital for x-rays and evaluation.
Now wounded and back under green, Sprague radioed something broke on Lap 190 and was summoned behind the wall. A broken heim joint proved to be the culprit forcing Sprague to stay out of action only to return on Lap 214 and then soldier on to the the 28th-place finish.
"The wreck we were in early on could have been avoided, but Brian Vickers never checked up and hit me and I ended up spinning," said Sprague. None of what happened tonight matters as much to me as Cory getting hurt. He's one of the best tire changers in the business and we need him. I've been told he's going to be okay, but it sucks no matter what. Everyone that goes over the wall put themselves in danger's way each week and when something like this happens, it's scary. It wasn't our weekend it seems again. Darlington is next weekend and we finished in the Top-10 earlier this season, so maybe we'll have a shot next weekend."
Despite the sub-par effort, Sprague is still third in the 2002 NBS point standings with 3124 points. He is 292 markers behind division leader Greg Biffle.
"Our trip back to Bristol was no better than our first earlier this season," said Sprague, who earned $16,280 in prize money. "It's both embarrassing and frustrating for everyone because we all know this team is better than our performances lately and desperately want to turn it all around."
Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy is the South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway Saturday, August 31 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on TNT. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live worldwide on more than 400 stations.