Sprague, NetZero Chevy looking for win in the NetZero 250 at PPIR. FOUNTAIN, CO (July 21, 2002) - The first half of Jack Sprague's NASCAR Busch Series season proved to be smooth sailing as he drove his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo to...
Sprague, NetZero Chevy looking for win in the NetZero 250 at PPIR.
FOUNTAIN, CO (July 21, 2002) - The first half of Jack Sprague's NASCAR Busch Series season proved to be smooth sailing as he drove his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the top of the division point standings. That ride had gotten a bit choppy in recent weeks as a pair of subpar finishes dropped the Hendrick Motorsports driver to third in the 2002 championship chase, but a stellar performance last weekend in St. Louis may have Sprague and his NetZero team back on track. According to the veteran driver, there's nothing he'd like better than to right the ship in this weekend's event - the NetZero 250 - at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
"We never imagined to come out of the box like we did and lead the points and win a race," said Sprague, who returned to the Busch Series this season after winning three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships. "Sure, it's a great feeling to lead the points for so long, but we still have a shot to come back and make a run for it and wouldn't count us out yet. What's hard to stomach is the way we lost the lead. The late-race wreck at Daytona and then the engine failure just a couple laps into the race at Chicago a few weeks ago just killed us. I try not to think about it too much. Besides this team was in the same situation in the Truck Series last year and fought back to sit at the front table at the banquet."
Sprague's Rocky Mountain return is one he and his NetZero teammates are looking forward to. There will be extra incentive to do well considering his sponsor - NetZero - will also be the title sponsor of the race. Another added incentive will be the Grand Marshall for the event - comedian Jeff Foxworthy - will be a guest of NetZero and Sprague's No. 24 team throughout the weekend. Although no one on the team would ever admit they are a redneck, all are looking forward to meeting Foxworthy.
"NetZero has put a lot of time and advertising money into this race to make a good show out of it," said Sprague. " I hope I do my part and give them a great performance in return. NetZero has done so much for us the last two years. I'm glad they made the jump with us to the Busch Series. There's going to be a lot of people in the grandstand rooting us on and we're going to do all we can to give them something to cheer about."
In the past, Sprague has provided plenty of golden moments at the Colorado track. In four Truck Series starts Sprague has finished in the Top-5 three times including a third-place run a year ago. In his four NCTS starts, Sprague also has a sixth-place qualifying average at PPIR, but has never made the turn into Victory Lane at the track, something he hopes to rectify in the NetZero 250 this weekend.
"I led most of last year's race, but had a loose lug nut and had to come back in to tighten it up," said Sprague. "I was basically racing to get my lap back which I finally did, but unfortunately, there wasn't any time left and I had to settle for third. I think we're prepared for Pikes Peak because of our past success here in the Truck Series. The thing with Pikes Peak is the altitude you at is so high that you and the motor in the car feel like they need more air, so to speak. It's a different feeling because you're telling your crew chief that the motor feels like it's laying down, but it really not. You need to really hit the jetting right or you could have a tough day. I think the NetZero car will have a pretty decent chassis set-up to work with and we plan on being tough to beat come race day."
Sprague enters the Pikes Peak race off his 12th Top-10 finish of the season in the most recent NBS event at Gateway International Raceway. He remains third in the 2002 NBS championship standings heading into the 250-lap PPIR event.
The NetZero 250 will take the green flag Saturday, July 27 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event marks the 21st of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this and will be telecast live on NBC. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live.