BUSCH: Nazareth: Jack Sprague - NASCAR spotlight

NASCAR Busch Series points leader Sprague looking forward to another opportunity at Nazareth Speedway. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2002) - Considering that Jack Sprague has not competed at Nazareth Speedway in a NASCAR Busch Series, Grand ...

NASCAR Busch Series points leader Sprague looking forward to another opportunity at Nazareth Speedway.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2002) - Considering that Jack Sprague has not competed at Nazareth Speedway in a NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division stock car in nearly a decade and never has cracked the top 10 in three career starts, it would seem that the tricky one-mile oval located in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley would not be particularly high on his list of favorite tracks, especially when he is guarding the NASCAR Busch Series points lead.

But sandwiched between his initial foray in the NASCAR Busch Series in the early 1990s and his most current stint with Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet was a large amount of success that has Nazareth Speedway rocketing up that list. Sprague, a 37-year-old from Spring Lake, Mich., dominated Nazareth Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since 1996, having notched a pair of wins (1996,' 97) and three other top-10 efforts in six career starts, including third last year.

Sprague arrives for Sunday's Stacker 2 200 (1 p.m. ET, FX) drawing confidence from his most recent history while casting a blind eye toward his"ancient" history at the track.

"Nazareth has been a great track for me," Sprague said. "I've won there a few times, so I have an excuse to like it. I've had a ton of success at Nazareth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - great qualifying runs and some pretty awesome finishes. I don't really consider that the Busch races I ran way back do me or my capabilities any justice. I know my finishes weren't very impressive, but neither was my timing. The Truck Series is what brought me full circle, teaching me what I could do to win races. I sure would like another win at Nazareth, especially in a Busch car."

Sprague, a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion with 23 career victories, continues to chase his first NASCAR Busch Series win, but still finds himself leading the championship on the strength of his consistency. In 11 starts this season, he has posted a series-high eight top-10 finishes, including four among the top five. He posted a season-best finish of second at Nashville - matching his career-best effort established at New River Valley Speedway in 1992 - and is coming off a third-place performance at New Hampshire last weekend. The result is a 64-point lead over Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford), who has a series-high three wins.

Sprague's success this season with Hendrick Motorsports, coupled with his past success at Nazareth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has heightened his confidence level at an oval that can puzzle even the best of drivers. His confidence also may get a boost from the fact that the last two winners at Nazareth - Ron Hornaday (2000) and Greg Biffle (2001) - are former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions.

"I don't just want a win at Nazareth, I want to dominate," said Sprague, whose best NASCAR Busch Series finish of 12th at Nazareth was achieved in 1993."We're up front and have a dominating car almost every week. This team has been working hard on my Busch and Winston Cup cars. Winning at Nazareth would be a huge boost for everyone."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague
Teams Hendrick Motorsports