Sprague, NetZero Chevy score second-straight runner-up finish. LEBANON, TN (April 15, 2002) - It's just a matter of time before Jack Sprague and his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet find Victory Lane. Sprague just missed scoring his first career NASCAR...
Sprague, NetZero Chevy score second-straight runner-up finish.
LEBANON, TN (April 15, 2002) - It's just a matter of time before Jack Sprague and his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet find Victory Lane. Sprague just missed scoring his first career NASCAR Busch Series win rolling to a second-place finish in the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday. The strong effort marked the second-straight week Sprague has finished in the runner-up spot and allowed the three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion to take over the Busch Series points lead.
"The NetZero Chevy was awesome today," said Sprague, who came home second to Scott Riggs. "My Hendrick Motorsports guys kept me in the hunt every time we pitted. On that last pit stop, a bunch of the other guys took only two tires while we took four. That left us ninth on the restart. I know we were running faster than Scott, but they were just quicker out of the pits than we were. At the end, we had traffic to deal with and couldn't catch him."
Sprague's red, black and silver NetZero Monte Carlo started from the ninth position after posting lap time was 160.008 miles per hour on the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville tri-oval in qualifying.
"We were a little tight in practice, but I can't use that excuse for our ninth place qualifying lap," said Sprague. "I basically just overdrove the car trying to get the pole. Every week we seem to battle a tight condition, but end up with a good car for the race. We'll get that figured out eventually, but for right now, we're happy with the way our qualifying has gone the last few weeks."
At the drop of the green flag, Sprague kept his NetZero Chevy in the Top-10 early and took the lead after a restart on Lap 84.
"I ran a lot better in clean air, but when I was in traffic I had an aero push, Sprague said. "The car started off little tight and got tighter all day, but I could still pass easily. The NetZero Chevy was hauling all day. I can't complain."
Sprague got the break he needed when the caution flag waved on Lap 132. A pit stop for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments took just 15.09 seconds and put Sprague back on track in the second position. The Spring Lake, MI driver then stayed in the hunt for the win coming to pit road for the last time with just 60 circuits remaining. That's where Sprague took on four tires while many teams took only two positioning him in the ninth spot for the final restart on Lap 168.
Clearly the fastest car on the track in the final stages of the race, Sprague battled his way to the front but wasn't able to catch Riggs before the checkered flag fell.
"I know we were running faster than Scott, but we had traffic to deal with and couldn't catch him," said Sprague. "We're so darn close. Second place is good, but it's kind of like last week at Texas. It's a 50-50 feeling - we have to focus on the big picture with the points chase and that's what we're doing. Still, I want to win one real bad."
Sprague earned $36,565 for his second-place finish and is now leading the championship point standings by a 78-point margin over runner-up Randy LaJoie.
Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The event will take the green flag Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The eighth of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season will be telecast live on FOX. MRN Radio will also broadcast the race live.