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Sprague Regains Busch Series Lead in Dover

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 3, 2002)—Jack Sprague drove his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a fifth-place finish in Saturday`s MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover International Speedway, reassuming the NASCAR Busch Series points lead in the process.

“That`s another good run for the NetZero team,” said Sprague. “We started pretty far back and managed to get to the front in pretty good time.

“The car was a bit tight, but not too bad and we made adjustments that helped all day. We didn`t pit on that last stop when pretty much everyone else did, but again, we didn`t lose anything. We were running fifth when the caution came out and ended up fifth.

“Who knows, maybe if we took tires, we`d have ended up third or something, but we weren`t coming in unless (race winner) Greg (Biffle) did. I can`t complain at all finishing fifth.”

Sprague didn`t waste any time wheeling the NetZero Chevy to the front of the pack after starting an uncharacteristic 22nd in a field of 43 cars. The Spring Lake, Mich., native made his way to 14th by the first caution on lap 43 and worked his way into the top-10 just in time for the second caution on lap 65.

The three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion stayed up front, picking up several spots on his final pit stop of the event on lap 121 when the NetZero pit crew ripped off a 15.47-second stop, returning him to the track in fifth.

When the final caution flew on lap 172, Sprague and Biffle did not pit with the rest of the front-runners. On older tires, Sprague fell three spots in the final laps, but still managed to score his fifth top-five effort of the season.

“Starting as far back as we did isn`t something you want at a track like Dover,” said Sprague. And we were a bit nervous before it all began, but boy did it turn out great for us.

“Again, my guys did a great job in the pits. We gained some spots there and then the car just ran great all day and we were able to stay keep our nose clean to make a good run for it at the end.

“Dover is a track you want to start at the front and stay at the front as long as possible because more than likely, things happen and they happen big. We didn`t start at the front and didn`t want to do anything that might put us back where we had started. I`m happy with the way it turned out for us at Dover.”

Sprague earned $20,590 for his strong effort and is back in the points lead with 1,992 points, 41 ahead of second-place Scott Riggs.

Next up for Sprague and the No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet will be the Inside Traxx 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Nazareth Speedway on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

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