BUSCH: Fontana: Jack Sprague preview

Sprague, NetZero Chevy looking to collect at California. FONTANA, CA (April 21, 2002) - Jack Sprague has been eagerly awaiting this weekend's Auto Club 300 at California Speedway. In his last outing at the two-mile California tri-oval, Sprague...

Sprague, NetZero Chevy looking to collect at California.

FONTANA, CA (April 21, 2002) - Jack Sprague has been eagerly awaiting this weekend's Auto Club 300 at California Speedway. In his last outing at the two-mile California tri-oval, Sprague walked away with a record third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. He also walked away with a destroyed NetZero Chevrolet after a Lap-27 crash ended his day early.

"I've definitely been excited to race again at California - for two reasons," said Sprague. "One is because our last race finish there was disappointing and, two, I really love racing at California Speedway. I didn't want my last event as a full-time Truck Series racer to end the way it did. I didn't want to go out the way we did after competing in every one of the 170 races ever run in the Truck Series. It was heartbreaking. This time at California in our new NetZero Chevrolet Busch Car, I'm looking to get what's owed to us - a great race and a great finish."

Last year at the Fontana track, all the Spring Lake, MI driver had to do to clinch his third NCTS title was take the green flag. Starting from the sixth position, Sprague quickly made his way into the lead, but it all came crashing down when a three-wide formation with Scott Riggs and Jon Wood resulted in Sprague hammering the outside retaining wall as the trio sped down the back straight.

"Last year's race is over and done with," said Sprague. "I'm just looking forward to our first race at California in a Busch car. California is a fast track, but a fun track too. Aerodynamics and down force play a big part."

With two Truck Series victories at California, Sprague has had more than his share of 'fun' at California. His two NCTS wins - the 1998 No Fear Challenge 200 and the 1999 NAPA Auto Parts 200 - have him tied for the most NASCAR victories at the track with Jeff Gordon (two Winston Cup wins) and Matt Kenseth (two Busch Series wins).

"I know I probably favor this track a little more than some, but that's because I've had some good runs here," Sprague stated. "I've won a couple of races and, until last year's Truck Series race, we hadn't ever finished outside the Top 10. I've never won a pole at California, so that's something we'd like to have - on top of a win, that is." While a pole position hasn't been in the cards for Sprague at California, he's still been plenty stout posting a sixth-place qualifying average in five NCTS events at the track. Sprague knows it's time now to back up old triumphs with new ones in the Busch Series car.

"My experience at California has only been in the Truck Series, but I think we'll do just fine there in the Busch Series too," Sprague said. "We haven't done any testing at California in a Busch car, but our speedway cars have been good all year, so that I don't think will be a problem for us. We can probably go back to some of our old notes when we roll off the transporter, but don't really know what we can use for the race. It really doesn't matter. I think we've proven all year that even though we're a new team, we get the job done. We'll do the same at California."

Sprague enters the Auto Club 300 off a 13th-place finish in the most recent series race at Talladega Superspeedway. He is currently leading the point standings heading into the 150 Lap California with 1169 points.

The Auto Club 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway will take the green flag Saturday, April 27 at XXX p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be the ninth of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season and will be telecast live on FOX. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live.


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Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jack Sprague , Jon Wood , Scott Riggs